Title: 'For Better or Worse: Could Having a Deaf/Hard of Hearing Child Enhance the Parental Relationship?'
Track: 7 - Family Perspectives and Support
Keyword(s): parent, EI, grief, stress, relationship
Learning Objectives:
  1. have more understanding of the stress having a deaf/hh child can have on the parental relationship.
  2. identify some tools parents and EI providers can use to alleviate stress in a relationship.


Ninety-five percent of all DHH babies are born into hearing families. While early identification is ideal, it also occurs at a time when parents are at the height of all that comes with a newborn. Families with no prior experience or perspective with hearing loss or deafness are challenged with stresses and issues unimagined prior to their child's identification. Parents come to grips with the news from different perspectives and expectations. As the family moves ahead, they will need new tools, information and perspectives as they navigate a world of diagnosis, prognosis, communication, specialists, and technologies and for some families, financial difficulties. The stresses of these factors can become stresses in the family and between the parents. The session will ask if and how it would be possible for early intervention to positively or negatively impact the parent’s relationship? Participants in this session will take time to share strategies and ways that they have gently asked questions and provided support to families when the relationship between parents may be perceived as strained. This presentation aims to support families and parents as they dive into their new and unexpected normal. Through personal and anecdotal evidence the presenters aim to bring the parents and providers new tools and perspectives to better equip them in their lives together.
Presentation: 1350HelenCotton Leiser.pdf

Handouts: Handout is not Available
Helen Cotton Leiser - Primary Presenter,Co-Presenter
Hands & Voices
     Credentials: B.A.
      Helen is the parent of two deaf children. In her role as the Guide By Your Side Coordinator and GBYS Trainer for new chapters, Helen has had the privilege of speaking with over 300 parents across Oregon and the country. Many of these parents have shared the intimacies of their relationships with Helen, looking for ways in which to come through the process successfully and with a family intact. Helen brings the parent perspective and voice to this discussion about the parent side of this journey.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.
Stephanie Olson - Co-Presenter
Children's Hospital
     Credentials: B.A.
     Other Affiliations: Children's Hospital Colorado
      Stephanie Olson works as a Family Consultant for the Bill Daniels Center for Children’s Hearing at the Children’s Hospital of Denver and the Colorado Home Intervention Program. She draws from her experiences as a D/HH woman. With degrees in special education and social work, Stephanie’s background as a preschool director and as a teacher for students with special needs has helped her to develop positive relationships with those she serves. During 2009, she was part of a team from Children’s Hospital in Denver that traveled to London, South Africa, Brazil and New Zealand and presented on best practices for addressing auditory neuropathy. Stephanie was identified with a hearing loss at the age of three. In her presentations and her work, Stephanie brings her unique perspective which has been shared with parents and professionals nationally and internationally.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.