Title: 'EHDI Professionals: Helping Parents Make the Best Choice'
Track: 1 - EHDI Program Enhancement
Keyword(s): parent support, EHDI programs enhancement
Learning Objectives:
  1. Analyze the current EHDI program approach and how this impacts parents' decisions
  2. Differentiate EHDI terminology and provision of resources in a transforming way
  3. Apply the paradigm shift to daily practices in order to better support parents with their child


When parents discover that their child is deaf or hard of hearing, they are often immediately asked to make choices re: communication, language, technology, and early intervention services. As described in the cited references, this is often a stressful time for families. What would make this easier? One powerful idea is to put in practice the using of the terminology “opportunities” instead of “options” in terms of framing provision of guidance and support to families. Dialogues at the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH) meetings and the e-EHDI book by the National Center on Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM) have recognized the value of this paradigm, but not yet put it in universal practice. To assist you as an EHDI professional in comprehension and transition, the presentation will both share parents’ perspectives and ways of incorporating this concept in practice. As for parents, a variety of parents’ experiences will be showcased (including a parent with an deaf and autistic child, parent of child with two CIs, and a parent of four deaf children- two are hard of hearing). The presentation will also include parents’ perspectives on how the EHDI system can be adjusted to more fully support both the parents and the child’s eventual development by using the word “opportunities” instead of “options. This would mean the EHDI professionals provide all information and encourage parents to try a combination of approaches until they discover their individual deaf or hard of hearing child’s unique strengths and abilities. This would mean parents would not be expected to rush into a choice based on their lack of knowledge but rather, receive increased support and access to resources from experienced EHDI professionals in getting to know their child first before making a final decision.
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Tawny Holmes - POC,Co-Presenter
National Association of the Deaf
     Credentials: M.A. in Family Centered Early Education, J.D. and Esq. J.D. Certification in Early Intervention Leadership
      Tawny Holmes is the Education Policy Counsel at the National Association of the Deaf. She graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law. In addition to her law degree, she has a Master of Arts in Family Centered Early Education. Ms. Holmes has worked three years teaching deaf and hard of hearing students. She is also a godmother of four deaf children.

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Stefanie Ellis-Gonzales - Co-Presenter
National Association of the Deaf
     Credentials: Masters of Social Work degree along with a Pupil Personnel Services Credential from San Francisco State University BA in Psychology with Summa Cum Laude honors
      Stefanie D. Ellis-Gonzales, MSW, is a mother of 3 Deaf children, one of who has autism. She works as a counselor for deaf students in the Deaf Studies Division at Ohlone College in Fremont, California. Stefanie is passionate about raising awareness and furthering opportunities for deaf individuals with autism, and has written and presented on the subject. Stefanie co-founded the nation’s first and only Autreat for D/HH families of D/HH children with autism in 2006. She is co-founder of Deaf Autism America (DAA), established for the purpose of increasing available education, resources, advocacy and networking opportunities for professionals and families of deaf children with autism. Stefanie has a strong volunteer ethic and is very active in community events, programs and organizations, and at California School for the Deaf, Fremont (CSD) where her children attend. Stefanie is married to Len Gonzales and her family resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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