Title: 'Working Towards a Health Identity for Child and Family Through Biculturalism'
Track: 7 - Family Perspectives and Support
Keyword(s): Family Child Identity Biculturalism Deaf/HH
Learning Objectives:
  1. understand the competing feelings families experience when asked which communication mode they'll use with their newly identified child by applying Epstein's model of self-theory and Thomas Holcomb's categories of identity.
  2. understand Deaf/Hard of Hearing culture by learning the history and how that informs today's discussion of communication choices in an unbiased and non-judgmental manner.
  3. share with families and other community members the benefits of and avenues to becoming bicultural.


Individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (D/HH) enjoy a rich linguistic and cultural heritage. More than 90% of children who are D/HH are born to hearing parents. It is important that children who are D/HH learn about D/HH culture as well as their own families’ culture. A review of D/HH history to inform present day issues will aid in the discussion of families’ emotions throughout the EHDI process and how they compete with each other. Addressing this with families soon after diagnosis is healthy for parents’ and child’s identity. Using Epstein’s model of self-theory and Thomas Holcomb’s categories of identity, we’ll discuss the cultural dissonance that may be experienced by families and how this influences their decisions for early intervention and communication choices. Using a cultural lens, we’ll discuss the benefits of biculturalism supporting the idea of creating inclusiveness rather than separation of groups through mutual respect and cultural humility. People have a desire to feel part of a community they can identify with, which implies communication at a basic level. We’ll discuss the benefits of both Hearing and D/HH cultures, reviewing how families can become knowledgeable about the D/HH community, and how to meet D/HH adults who are successful and accepting of the acculturation process. This requires a non-judgmental, unbiased approach, acknowledging differences, understanding the culture of origin, honestly engaging in self-assessment, acquiring new cultural knowledge and skills, and viewing behavior within a cultural context. We’ll share resources that can be presented to families on a continual basis through their Audiology and Primary Care appointments, Early Intervention Teams and Parent Support Programs. It’s important to remember and learn from the past, experience the present, and strive for a future filled with possibilities.
Presentation: 1222ConnieStevens.pdf


Handouts: Handout is not Available
Connie Stevens - Primary Presenter,Co-Presenter,POC
UW-WI Waisman Center supporting WI Department of Health Services
     Credentials: MA, Guide By Your Side Follow-Through and Post Diagnosis Parent Guide
      Connie began work in EHDI after receiving news that her seven month old daughter was deaf. An Applied Sociologist by training, she delved into the topic, researching best practices and available resources for her family. For five years, she was Program Director for Shore to Shore, for families with d/hh members, coordinating and leading parent support groups and sign language classes. Connie was a founding member of and secretary for Wisconsin Families for Hands & Voices. Since 2006, she's been a Guide By Your Side (GBYS) Parent Guide. Since 2009, she's worked with Wisconsin Sound Beginnings as GBYS Follow-Through Parent Guide Coordinator, helping reduce loss to follow-up. Connie attends many EHDI, d/hh and family support conferences. She's co-authored the state’s “Babies and Hearing Loss Interactive Notebook”. She was a recent member of the National Center for Cultural Competence-NCHAM Community of Learners.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.
Robin Godshalk - Co-Presenter
Atlantic Healthcare
     Credentials: MS, MHA, CGC
     Other Affiliations: Jacobs Levy Equity Management Personalized Genomic Medicine Program
      Genetic counselor with 15 years of experience. Coordinate intake, counseling and result review of preconception, pediatric and adult patients. Active member of the craniofacial team. Proud mother of a son with bilateral hearing loss. President of the Board of Directors of Hands & Voices of New Jersey. Professional/Parent Member of National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality learning collaborative striving to improve the quality and timeliness of care for newborns with hearing loss through the use and application of quality improvement methods. Professional/Parent Member of Community of Learners for the National Center for Cultural Competence and the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management. Member of the New Jersey team involved in providing leadership to advance and sustain cultural and linguistic competence within the integrated system of services and supports for children and youth with special health care needs and their families

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.
Nancy Sager - Co-Presenter
California Department of Education
     Credentials: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Programs Consultant
      Nancy is the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Programs Consultant at the California Department of Education. She has responsibilities for EHDI, Part C, and Part B services statewide. Nancy is the Project Monitor for California's Parent Links program, a family-to-family program to provide support to families of infants identified through the California Newborn Hearing Screening Program. Nancy is the secretary for California's newly established Hands and Voices Chapter. She is on the Board of the California Educators of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CAL-ED). Nancy also was a member of the National Center for Cultural Competence-NCHAM Community of Learners.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.