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Hands & Voices
Training & Development Courses

The following list of courses includes our "Basic Training" for chapters who are in start-up chapter mode, and/or as presentations for family conferences or professional workshops/trainings. They can be adapted to present to parents, professionals and/or mixed groups.

Training Workshops & Abstracts


Course 05:1 We Are 'Hands & Voices'

This workshop presents the unique philosophy of unbiased support through Hands & Voices, the only parent-driven national organization of its kind. This presentation features actual program models in Colorado and other states that have a successful history of systemic parent involvement through Hands & Voices. Includes a video presentation. Time: 1 to 1.5 hrs; Audience: Parents and professionals interested in starting a Hands & Voices chapter, and agencies or service providers exploring successful models of parent involvement

Course 05:2 Supporting Families Without Bias  

What is the difference between sharing your personal opinion and being biased? This session explores how we can honor our own personal belief system without manipulating outcomes for families relative to communication choice-making and other deaf/hard of hearing issues. Time: 1 hr (2 hr version has interactivity) Audience: Professionals and/or parent consultants providing services, mentoring/peer counseling, program administrators

( Note: Courses 5.1 and 5.2 are also available as a combined presentation; Time 1.5 hrs)

Course 05.3 The Art of Story

How can you share your personal experience or your child's story in a way that makes a point and sways opinion?  This session examines strategies for investing your audience in your agenda--from the special ed director to the cub scout leader to a state legislator. Time: 1 hr (2 hr version has interactivity) Audience: Parents and parent advocates

Course 05:4 The Role of the Parent Consultant

Are you a professional or a parent? What happens when your role shifts from being 'just a parent' to a formalized function providing support and information resources. How do you maintain the integrity of your parent perspective while taking on a more professional role? Strategies for peer counseling, and the skills and training a parent consultant needs 'before they walk through the door' will be explored. Covers how to appropriately respond to families who are crying, angry, emotionally disconnected, or just in need of some support. Parent Advocates will also be given tools to explore their own strengths and weaknesses as a consultant/advocate. Time: 1.5 hrs Audience: Parents Consultants/Mentors, Program Administrators

Course 05:6 The Shaping of Systems Through Parent Involvement & Leadership

This session addresses the necessity to involve parent leaders as participants in the shaping of systems designed to serve them and their children. Authentic models of parent involvement in UNHS/EHDI programs, educational systems, medical/health systems, and professional training programs are presented. Anticipated outcomes of child-centered and family-focused programming are covered. Time: 1.5 hrs Audience: System Administrators, Legislators, Parent Leaders

Course 05:7  Communication Considerations

Should we sign to our baby?  Can she learn to talk?  How do we make the right decision about his communication method?  All families going through the process of choosing communication for their baby/child who is deaf or hard of hearing are asking themselves these weighty questions.  This workshop is designed to help them approach this with the holistic child in mind.  It addresses how to filter out biased information, how to facilitate communication decision-making as a service provider or parent mentor, and what it takes to develop a communication-driven approach. The goal: to arrive at the foundational truth of the H&V slogan: "what works for your child is what makes the choice right."

Course 05:8 The How-To's of Running a Hands & Voices State Chapter

This session takes a look at the successes and challenges of Colorado and other states that have a history of systemic parent involvement through Hands & Voices. Strategies for training, funding, coalition building, etc., will be explored. Specific chapter administration protocols are covered. This workshop can be expanded to cover additional agenda on legislative lobbying and impacting government systems (extra 1 hr) Time: 1 to 1.5 hrs Audience: state chapter start-ups

Course 05:9 The Parent PATH (Planning Alternative Tomorrows With Hope*)

A systematic process for planning and achieving the goals you've set for your child who is deaf or hard of hearing, this workshop is a hands-on, interactive opportunity to assure that your child will reach your high expectations. *Adapted from Forrest & Pierpoint Time: 1 to 1.5 hrs Audience: Parents

Presentation 5:10 Fundraising for Your H&V Chapter

This presentation is an overview of the different types of funding that non-profits like an H&V chapter can pursue. Various strategies for diversity of funding are explored; sample grant narratives are shared; budget development strategies are identified. Time: 1 hr; Audience: H&V start-up chapters

Course 05:11 "Is This a Deaf Thing? The Emotional/Behavioral Experience of Parenting a Child who is Deaf/Hard of Hearing"

What aspects of a child's development or behavior are typical "kid" things, and which are due to deafness or hearing loss? How can parents figure out what is going on, and how to react? This session takes a nuts and bolts look at this "elephant in the room" issue from the parents' point of view with an emphasis on practical, experiential knowledge. Presented by parents to parents with a minimum of PhD "theory" and a maximum of practical applications. Time: 1 hr (can expand to 2 hrs with interactivity exercises)

Course 06:01 Deaf/Hard of Hearing Etiquette & Cultural Sensitivity

From historical perspectives through current visions of "Deafhood, " this session provides a foundational view of Deaf Culture. It goes on to address practicalities like table/chair set-up, interpreter placement and room lighting to assure that events are appropriately staged and respectful to participants who are deaf or hard of hearing.

But it's not just for conference planning purposes. Anyone whose family doctor continues to talk with mom instead of the 18 yr old deaf son standing beside her knows why this training is necessary.  It also addresses other related issues including:  what if a deaf person shows up to our event and we don't have an interpreter on hand?  What if a hearing parent is asked to present at a Deaf event and they don't have a voice interpreter lined up?  Who to watch: the deaf signer or the interpreter?  Do I use the word "hearing impaired" at my peril?  What should every parent of a deaf child know about Deaf Culture--even if we use CI/auditory verbal at home? 

Are you wondering if this workshop is really designed for YOU (whatever your role is)? YES. Time: 1.5 hrs Audience: Professionals, conference planners, parents, hearing people)

Presented by Hands & Voices National Board Members Susan Elliott and Karen Putz, who are both Deaf.

Course 06:2 What Do I Say When.

This interactive course if targeted to professionals, and explores the different types of questions that parents typically ask upon discovering they have a child who is deaf or hard of hearing, and how to respond appropriately. Talking points will be discussed, as well as strategies built upon the foundation of "Supporting Families without Bias," when and how to share information, and how to recognize a parent's agenda. Time: 1.5 hrs Audience: Early interventionists and Parent Consultants/Mentors

Course 06:3 The Time Is Now

After 150 years of producing the same results in deaf education, isn't it time to change the recipe? This inspirational address is designed to bring diverse communicators and DHH communities together on the things that unite us. Time: 1 hr Audience: this is a great opening or closing keynote; appeals to parents and professionals alike

Course 06:4 A is for Access

How do we create full and effective communication access for students who are deaf or hard of hearing? This presentation includes a 25 minute training video that covers this topic with specific applications for each communication method and modality. All approaches are equitably treated. Time: 1.5 hrs Audience: General educators, special ed directors, program administrators, teachers of the deaf, parent advocates and families

Course 07:01 Communication Conflict Management

How to keep a methodology war from breaking out in the middle of your parent event. This presentation will crease your understanding of the nature of conflict and identify strategies for resolution, meeting management, diffusing tense discussions, as well as honoring the value of conflict well managed. Time: 1.5 hrs Audience: professionals and parents working with groups

Course 07:02 What Do Parents Need to Know about Recommended Practices in Deaf Education?

The No Child Left Behind Act requires "evidence-based" and research-driven practice in schools, so what does the research tell us about the instructional practices that qualify by NCLB standards for students who are deaf or hard of hearing? This course answers that question and teaches parents how use this information to become more effective educational advocates for their children. Time: 2 hrs Audience: Parents, but educators will also benefit

Course 07:03 Deaf and Hard of Hearing Adult Role Models: The Art of Mentoring and Peer Support

Developed for our Guide By Your Side T series, this insightful presentation promotes greater understanding of the impact of a deaf or hard of hearing mentor on the life of a child and family. Emphasizing real-life experiences that are appropriately shared without communication bias or emotional manipulation, it opens up a whole new world of compassion and appreciation for peer connections across the age line.

Presented by our GBYS Mentor Program Director Stephanie Olson, who is a Deaf Mentor. Time: 1.5 hr Audience: DHH Adult Mentors, Parents, program administrators, IEP teams, general educators

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