March 13-15, 2016 • San Diego, CA


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Nancy Grosz Sager

I am writing to nominate Nancy Grosz Sager of California, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Programs Consultant, for the 2016 Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence. She has been a tireless champion of education for deaf and hard of hearing infants and toddlers throughout the state of California. She is the single-point-of-entry into Early Start through the California Department of Education (CDE). Nancy works closely with the Newborn Hearing Screening Program (NHSP) Hearing Coordination Centers (HCCs) to ensure all families are enrolled in Early Start programs.

Nancy created the Parent Links program to provide appropriate parent-to-parent support to families of infants identified through the NHSP. Nancy contracted with three IDEA Part C funded Family Resource Centers (FRCs) to establish the Parent Links program. Nancy oversees the Parent Links mentors, who are all parents of children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and includes some Spanish-speaking parents. To date, Parent Links has provided support to more than 1,500 families of infants identified through the NHSP under Nancy's supervision. Nancy made sure Parent Links worked closely with the new California Hands and Voices chapter to help its growth and development. Parent Links also holds family camps in both southern and northern California to connect families and provide critical support.

Nancy has continued throughout her many years at CDE to innovate and constantly strive to improve services for families and their Deaf and Hard of Hearing children. She developed Guidelines for Quality Standards for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. She worked with the California State University Northridge to realize her vision of creating a professional welcoming and warm video for parents. Funding provided by the Annenberg Foundation to create a DVD entitled Through Your Child's Eyes. In September 2012, Nancy established a work group of 14 diverse parents to develop a Resource Guide for Parents of Infants and Toddlers who are deaf or hard of hearing. This guide is being distributed to parents of newly identified infants through the HCCs and all Early Start program providers,

Since the California NHSP was implemented in the year 2000, the number of deaf or hard of hearing infants Nancy refers to their local educational agency Early Start programs before one year of age has grown from 51 in the 2000 school year to 439 in the 2012 school year. The total number of deaf or hard of hearing children, birth to three, in the Part C program has increased from 416 to 1,772.

Nancy deserves to be recognized for years of striving to improve the system of services and resources available for families with deaf or hard of hearing infants and toddlers throughout the state of California.