Title: 'Family Advisory Boards: Making them Meaningful'
Track: 6-Family Issues
Keyword(s): Family Involvement, Collaborative Partnerships
Learning Objectives: 1. Identify the major functions of Family Advisory Boards in developing collaborative partnerships 2. Learn about different elements family members can contribute to Grants, National Centers, Committees and other venues for Family involvement 3. Determine ways to strengthen partnerships among EHDI and Family organizations


Family Involvement comes in many forms. Contributions from individual parent leaders, Family organizations, and Family Advisory Boards are a few examples of how family input is received in different aspects of the EHDI system. This session will focus primarily on the function and dynamic process of ‘Advisory Boards’, and share elements from a few models of family involvement including: 1. The NCHAM Family Advisory Board 2. The NICHQ Parent Faculty Chair Position 3. The Deaf/Hard of Hearing Alliance (DHHA) 4. The National Center for Cultural Competency Parent Consultant Position While active Family Involvement is a principle that is often put forth as a necessity, actual meaningful participation requires conditions in which parent perspective can be introduced and acted upon. This session will demonstrate dynamic, often ‘outside the box’ participation by individuals, groups, and organizations with examples of organizational change that has been implemented as a result. Basic strategies will be shared, including how to engage families when certain challenges exist, including: Availability of time constraints, ensuring diverse perspectives, pros and cons of funded vs. unfunded positions etc.
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Trish Thomas - Nt'l Center for Family-Professional Partnerships
     Credentials: N/A
     Other Affiliations: Family Voices NCHAM Family Advisory Committee
      Trish has been a leader in the field of family-professional partnerships, serving as the coordinator for the New Mexico Family Voices chapter and later as the partnerships coordinator at National Family Voices. Trish has a son with hearing loss, and advocating for hearing-related needs is a particular passion.
Cheri Dowling - American Society for Deaf Children
     Credentials: n/a
      Cheri Dowling is the Executive Director of The American Society for Deaf Children (ASDC). She is the parent of a child who is deaf, and lives in Maryland.