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Johnnie Sexton

Dr. Sexton founded The CARE Project, (Counseling in Aural Rehabilitation and Education) in 2008. He created this program based on years of experience as a pediatric Audiologist, realizing there was a great need to provide support and emotional assistance through counseling to parents of children who are hard of hearing or deaf. He found this need went beyond technology e.g. cochlear implants, hearing aids. He initiated The CARE Project to bring families together in local regions to create a sense of community and connectedness centered on the common thread of hearing loss and deafness, and to empower them to move beyond initial shock of news that their child is deaf or hard of hearing to reach acceptance and advocacy.

In 2009 Dr. Sexton developed and created counseling and multimedia instructional materials for use with families and professionals. These materials relate to the emotional and grieving process observed in families who have experienced the shock of learning their child has hearing loss or is deaf. TCP was launched nationally in March 2010 at the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Conference and internationally in June 2010 at the NHS Conference.

The CARE Project reaches out to each state EHDI program as a partner. These partnerships determine and identify potential in-state collaborations which may include: Early Intervention Programs, Departments of Education, Clinical/Hospital Centers, Hands and Voices, Preschool Programs, University Training Programs and more. There is a growing list of EHDI programs in the U.S. who are interested in having the CARE Project provide training and implementation planning to address the gap in service defined as adjustment/emotional counseling for families/parents and continuing education for professionals who serve them.

As of October 2013, the CARE Project is operational in NC and TN through the EHDI Programs and other agencies in the U.S. to provide CARE Project training for professionals serving children, birth to 3. These efforts have resulted in regional parent support groups, staff development training for agencies serving these children and their families, as well as providing a training/educational module for university programs. There is expressed interest on the part of a number of state EHDI programs in having CARE Project training and materials as tools for their use in enhancing counseling skills among professional staff as well as providing direct services to children and families. Based on the 3-year experience of the CARE Project workshops, it is predicted that the CARE Project has the potential to impact all families and professionals addressing the needs of children who are deaf and hard of hearing across the U.S. Dr. Sexton has lectured nationally and internationally on topics related to pediatric/educational audiology. His efforts through the CARE Project have brought about partnerships with EDHI in at least two states and a number of other agencies in the U.S. to provide emotional counseling opportunities for families as well a professional education for those who provide professional services to families. He is most deserving of the ABM Award for EHDI Excellence.