Guide By Your Side™ 

Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side ™ is a replicable family support program that embodies the mission and vision of Hands & Voices ™, which is to provide unbiased support to families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing.  Guide By Your Side (GBYS) does this through specially trained parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. These parents   work as “Guides” directly with families who have just learned of their child’s hearing condition, or who have older children and are in need of the unique support that comes from someone else who has walked this path him/herself and can share from direct experience and wisdom. GBYS programs can also include an option for Deaf/Hard of Hearing Guides (DHH Guides) who are deaf or hard of hearing adults and specially trained to provide support to families. 

The benefits to starting GBYS are that you will be training parent leaders, incorporating parental and deaf and hard of hearing perspectives, and embedding parent/professional collaboration into your Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI), educational, and/or family support systems. This comprehensive approach will strengthen the infrastructure and increase the effectiveness of state/province systems and their capacity to serve families. Research acknowledges the role of parent-to-parent connections, and exposure to adult role models who are deaf or hard of hearing to increase overall parent involvement which has been shown to lead to positive child outcomes. (Eleweke & Rodda, 2000; Jackson, Becker, & Schmitendorf, 2002; Hintermair, 2000; Bodner-Johnson, 2001).

GBYS has been created to be a flexible program that will meet the unique family support and outreach needs of your state/province.  It can be implemented by a Hands & Voices Chapter independently or in collaboration with an agency or program partner.  An agency or program partner can express interest in a GBYS program by contacting the local H&V Chapter and/or Hands & Voices HQ.

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Hands & Voices GBYS Frequently Asked Questions and Guiding Principles

Hands & Voices has created the following document to assist Hands & Voices chapters and interested funding agencies/partners with answering some of the most frequently asked questions about the Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side program. GBYS programs are grounded with Guiding Principles while being adapted to the priorities and administrative structures of the Hands & Voices Chapter and the state/provincial system in which they exist. Also included in this document are the program Guiding Principles that were developed in order to create a consistent set of standards by which every GBYS program should adhere.

[ Download the GBYS FAQ & Guiding Principles document ]


"I cried for a while with my parent guide, dried my tears, and said what do we do now...?"
   MI Parent

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