February 26-28, 2017 • Atlanta, GA


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Shelli Janning

I am pleased to nominate Shelli Janning for the EHDI Family Leadership Award. Shelli has two children, Brooke and Jerzie. Brooke has a unilateral hearing loss and wears a hearing aid. Brooke is mainstreamed in her public school system on an IEP, and she is very bright and athletic. Brooke is an amazing advocate for herself, taking after her mother who is an amazing advocate for her daughter and all children who are deaf and hard of hearing in the state of Nebraska.

Shelli was a Services Coordinator with the Early Development Network in Nebraska for 11 years until she decided to spend more time at home with her children. When she and her husband learned of Brooke's hearing loss, they became more involved with Hands & Voices and other organizations that support families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Shelli has been a member of the Board of Directors for Nebraska Hands & Voices for many years, and she was one of the first Parent Guides in the Nebraska Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side (GBYS) program established in 2013 to provide direct parent-to-parent support to families. She has also attended numerous EHDI conferences over the years.

In mid-2015, Shelli took over as Program Coordinator for the GBYS program. In that short time, she has made a tremendous impact. She worked closely with the Nebraska EHDI program to establish a more direct referral process, which resulted in an increase in referrals from 18 families in 2014 to 40 families in 2015. The GBYS program is now serving more than 100 families, and the feedback from families has been amazing. Nearly half of all of the families that enter the EHDI program are also entering the GBYS program, allowing so many more families to connect early on with another parent who truly understands the challenges and opportunities the families are facing. Thanks, in large part to Shelli's leadership, Nebraska Hands & Voices is in current discussions with the Nebraska EHDI program to become more directly involved in loss-to-follow-up and other family support activities.

One of the most positive experiences for families in the past year has been the "Moms Night Inn" events Shelli has organized and raised funds to support in eastern and western Nebraska. Moms Night Inn is an overnight retreat for moms who are raising children of any age who are deaf or hard of hearing. Diversity of Parent Guides has also been a key focus for Shelli, and the program now has Parent Guides who reside in many regions throughout the state, speak Spanish, and have experience with unilateral loss, hard of hearing issues, cochlear implants, conductive loss, microtia/atresia, sign language, and oral communication. Shelli continues to raise awareness of the GBYS program throughout the state with audiologists, service coordinators and other professionals serving the deaf and hard of hearing population. She is extremely dedicated to family support, and truly deserving of this award.