Title: 'Kids are Kids First'
Track: 7 - Family Perspectives and Support
Keyword(s): Kids, Families, Self-Advocacy, Family-life balance
Learning Objectives:
  1. Provide early self advocacy tools for parents to create balance in the lives of parents and their children.
  2. Explore some of the challenges families face playing "catch-up" to hearing peers and how having self advocacy skills would benefit our children from being over "therapized".


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. In these early years parents are often on a crazy roller coaster ride as they maneuver through a labyrinth of appointments, early intervention supports and services, decisions, working with insurance while acknowledging their own emotions. Oftentimes parents tend to forget that their kids are kids first! As our children grow parents again tend get caught up in the IEP, FM systems, interpreters and good access in the classroom and extra curricular activities. Forgetting to listen to our children. What are they trying to tell us? How do they express their desires? This session will focus on ways in which parents can create more balance between therapy appointments and most importantly, allowing our children to be kids first. We will explore the importance of self determination skills and provide self-advocacy tools for parents and providers wherein allowing deaf and hard of hearing children the confidence and know-how to voice their wants and needs. The session will end with a video message from a variety of children across the country providing advice to parents.
Presentation: Tuesday_Breathitt_145_HelenCotton Leiser_1716.pdf


Handouts: Handout is not Available
CART: Topical Session 6- 1716.RTF
Helen Cotton Leiser - Primary Presenter,POC
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.
Christine Griffin - Co-Presenter
WA State Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side Program
     Credentials: Program Coordinator, Graduate Student in Adult and Higher Education
      Christine is the mother of two hard of hearing teens. She's worked supporting parents for 9 years. First, as coordinator of her local Parent to Parent program, and 4 years later adding the role of coordinator for the Guide By Your Side program in Washington State. Her philosophy working with parents is to provide support that is relevant to a family’s needs guiding them to become involved advocates for their children. Most recently, Christine entered Western Washington University's Adult and Higher Education graduate program with the desire of continued work with parents and caregivers emphasizing parent engagement and involvement. “Connecting one to one, I enjoy offering support and guidance to other parents as they move through diagnosis to acceptance and empowerment. It is a moving and individual journey that not only shapes their child’s future but that of Washington State—and our nation— as well.”(Standing Up for our children, Odyssey Magazine, 2013)

Financial - Receives Salary for Employment,Management position,Teaching and speaking from Washington Hands & Voices.  

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.