Title: 'Secrets for Sibling Success for DHH Infants, Toddlers, Preschoolers, with an Emphasis of DHH Children who are 0-3 Years of Age with Siblings Older and/or Younger'
Track: 7 - Family Perspectives and Support
Keyword(s): Siblings, Sibling Order, Sibling Tool Kits, Sibling Coaching
Learning Objectives:
  1. Building Sibling Empathy and developing Communication Teamwork: Parents are often needing to help siblings see the world from both the DHH and hearing siblings viewpoints so that this foundation of sibling empathy becomes stronger and more internalized. This will give the siblings the foundation on which to build a stronger sense of “sibling teamwork” as they face their communication issues and challenges together over their entire life time together.
  2. Assisting Each Sibling in developing their own “Sibling Communication Tool Kits”: Examples include, learning how to explain that their DHH sibling communicates differently, learning how to suggest to others how to best communicate with their DHH sibling, learning how to facilitate some basic communication and build “communication bridges” as needed. Teaching the DHH sibling how to introduce their hearing siblings to their classmates and ways they can include their hearing siblings into their network of DHH friends. These siblings need to learn how to constantly be flexible and how to “co-create” communication strategies so they can expand the sibling communication to include anyone anytime as the goal.
  3. Developing a Family Communication Plan for Family Events (DHH child is 0-3 years old with older and/or younger siblings): to communicate a sibling plan for the upcoming new communication situation. The family may be attending extended family events, going to public places like restaurants, traveling, or amusement parks, or inviting their hearing and DHH friends to their home for various birthday parties or family events. “Strategy Huddle” Approach: Parents are the “Quarterbacks” for the family team who can help by using this Strategy Huddle Approach to figure out the best communication strategies for the siblings to communication “touchdowns” or wins together. This is a way the siblings can learn countless ways to plan, predict, and trouble shoot ahead of time. If during the event sibling communication breaks down, a “Communication Huddle” can be called by any family member as a way for everyone to get on “the same communication page” and repair any misunderstandings that is leading to a lot of sibling frustration.


Professionals are often focused on the Parent-Child bonds in EHDI families, but often include hearing siblings as an after thought. Many hearing brothers and sisters do not understand the EHDI services nor feel included as a “significant” participant. Providers need to develop more effective Assessment and Intervention approaches based on the practical reality reflecting the diversity of sibling experiences since every family is not the same. Siblings vary by age, personality, interests, and various levels of communication coping skills. Some siblings have great chemistry and love playing together whereas other siblings seem to interact more like “oil and water”, constantly grating on each other’s nerves. An understanding of the roles in Sibling Order (oldest, middle, youngest, blended families, only child) as well as the current developmental stages of each sibling is important in coaching successful sibling interactions. Our learning objectives build from developing a strong foundation of “Sibling Empathy”, toward the life long concept of each sibling developing their own “Sibling Communication Tool Kit” that grows over their lifetime, and how to constantly use “Family Communication Planning” with constant “Strategy Huddles” as a way for the parents to be the Quaterbacks assisting their children with their Sibling Communication Plans. Sheila and Lisa Jacobs are Deaf and Hearing sisters in their 50s who have learned ways to communicate successfully and want to pass this on to the next generation.
Presentation: 1355LisaJacobs.pdf


Handouts: Handout is not Available
Sheila Jacobs - Primary Presenter
Double Pride, LLC
     Credentials: Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
     Other Affiliations: CA Association of MFTs, Member Deaf Plus Adult Community, Consultant
      Growing up using American Sign Language (ASL) at home, Sheila was the only hearing person in a large Deaf family. Her experiences juggling her two worlds, her studies in intercultural communication and cross-cultural psychology educated her extensively about the issues deaf and other multi-cultural groups face daily. In the mid 80's, Sheila was highly active in the international Children of Deaf Adults (CODA) movement, helping to plan the first CODA Conference and then serving on the first national CODA Advisory Board. She is now a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the San Francisco Bay Area, specializing in deaf/hearing, multicultural, and couples counseling. Blending her life experiences as a Coda (child of deaf adults), with her experiences as a counselor and as an interpreter, Ms. Jacobs has developed new counseling approaches for bilingual and bicultural individuals, couples, and families.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.
Lisa Jacobs - Co-Presenter
Gallaudet University
     Credentials: M.Ed.
      Lisa is a deaf sibling of an OhCoda (Only Hearing Child of Deaf Adults). Lisa is also 4th generation deaf in her family. When her koda (Hearing Kid of Deaf Adults) daughter was younger, Lisa served as a core member of the Maryland KODA chapter for five years. Jacobs is the Director of Regional & National Outreach at Gallaudet University (GU). Lisa oversees the network of six regional centers located throughout the United States. She works with directors of all regional centers to share the resources of GU across the regions by collaborating with individuals in various programs to deliver outreach programs for deaf/HH individuals of all ages and their families and professionals working with them through trainings, workshops, extension courses, conferences, and technical assistance. Jacobs earned a M.Ed. from McDaniel College in 1987, and a BA in English from Gallaudet University in 1980.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.