March 13-15, 2016 • San Diego, CA


3/14/2016  |   11:35 AM - 12:05 PM   |  Topical Session 1   |  Royal Palm 5/6   |  7 - Family Perspectives and Support

Promoting Positive Language amongst Professionals Serving D/HH Children and Their Families

The language and terminology used in today’s early childhood field, especially related to children who are deaf and hard of hearing, is constantly changing. It is more important than ever for Early Intervention (EI) and EHDI professionals to stay current with the positive language that is most appropriate and relevant for our children. Oftentimes the terminology that is generally used in the field “may not reflect the most contemporary understanding and/or could convey inaccurate meaning” (JCIH, 2013). Not only should EI and EHDI professionals know what positive language is most appropriate to use with families, but also to understand how and why positive terminology has an impact on the families we serve. This presentation will cover examples of language that parents and other family members may hear when their child is first identified, positive terminology EI professionals can use and model with families, strategies for supporting other EHDI professionals in implementing positive language in their work, as well as the anticipated outcomes from these efforts.

  • Participants will identify positive terminology to implement in their work with families of children who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing
  • Participants will acquire strategies for introducing new terminology to EI families and other EHDI professionals
  • Participants will be able to conclude that terminology used in the field has an impact on the family’s perspective of the child as a whole

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Handout is not Available

CART transcripts are NOT YET available, but will be posted shortly after the conference


Sarah Honigfeld (Co-Presenter,POC), Thom Boston Metro Early Intervention, shonigfeld@thomchild.org;
Sarah Honigfeld is a 2013 graduate of Northeastern University with a Bachelors of Science in Human Services and a graduate certificate in Early Intervention.  She is currently working toward her Masters in School Counseling and Early Intervention from Gallaudet University. She has worked with Boys & Girls Clubs as an Inclusion Specialist. Currently she works as a Developmental Specialist at Thom Boston Metro Early Intervention, where she is a specialty provider for families with children with various hearing levels.


Financial - Receives Salary for Employment from Tom Child & Family Services.   Receives Salary for Employment from Thom Child & Family Services.  

Nonfinancial - Has a Personal,Institutional,Bias (member of Deaf community) (student at Gallaudet University with Infants, Toddlers and Families Certificate program) (member of Deaf community) relationship for Volunteer teaching and speaking,Volunteer membership on advisory committee or review panels.  

Laura Cunningham (Co-Presenter), Arlington Public Schools, laura11687@gmail.com;
Laura Cunningham is a 2009 graduate of University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and a 2011 graduate of The George Washington University with a Master of Arts in Education & Human Development in Special Education. She received a graduate certificate in Early Intervention from Gallaudet University in Summer 2015. She is currently working towards her Ed.S in Deaf Education with a focus in Early Intervention at Gallaudet University, which will be completed in December 2015. She previously worked as a Special Educator in Fairfax County Public Schools for two years. She is currently working as an Itinerant Teacher of Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing for Arlington Public Schools, where she is providing services to D/HH children and families ranging from Pre-K to High School.


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Nonfinancial -