Title: 'Connecting Families with Deaf Adults'
Track: 7 - Family Perspectives and Support
Keyword(s): JCIH, family support team, identity
Learning Objectives:
  1. Learn how to incorporate Deaf/HH individuals into the family support team
  2. Learn how to develop a local collaborative Deaf Role Model program
  3. Discuss and analyze the impact of a Deaf Role Model Program


More than 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents, who have little or no prior experience with deafness. Research has shown that children who recognize themselves as “different” within their family (such as international and cross-racial adoptees) are prone to greater psychological stress and lower self-esteem. As stated in the JCIH all families should have access to support, mentorship, and guidance from individuals who are D/HH. California’s Deaf Role Model program has opened the door for families to gain experience with a deaf adult, and for deaf children to have a model of difference rather than disability. By connecting meaningfully with a deaf or hard of hearing adult/advisor on a weekly basis, families are able look beyond the current challenges of hearing aids and IFSPs. They can ask their intimate questions about what is like to be a deaf or hard of hearing and nurture their child’s future. The presentation will share our joint experience of developing a Deaf Role Model program through the collaborative resources of a non-profit and a school. We will share our successes and downfalls, as well as language and psychosocial data collected from families. By using videos, the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory, and family entrance and exit surveys, we examine the effect the program has had on families and it’s implication for family support teams.
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Handouts: Handout is not Available
Laura T Petersen - POC,Primary Presenter
California Department of Education
     Credentials: MA Ed
     Other Affiliations: California Department of Education
      Laura T Petersen MA Ed, currently provides support to families in California with young Deaf/HH children in her position as Early Intervention Consultant with the California Department of Education. She has worked with families with Deaf and Hard of Hearing children as a parent infant specialist at the Hearing Speech and Deafness Center in Seattle and as a behavior specialist at Seattle Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, a teacher and educational consultant in Northern California. She supports families in navigating the medical and educational approaches, research-based information and resources regarding language acquisition and social-emotional development as they apply to the academic readiness of their children.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.
Deborah O Willow - Co-Presenter
Deaf Counseling, Advocacy and Referral Agency
     Credentials: Director of FAMILY CONNECTIONS
      Director of FAMILY CONNECTIONS

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.