February 26-28, 2017 • Atlanta, GA


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Harold Johnson

The Hands & Voices (H&V) headquarters staff and Board of Directors are enthusiastically nominating Harold Johnson for the 2017 Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence. Dr. Johnson's role has been unique and unwavering in ensuring the safety for all children in his role for the O.U.R. Project. (Observing, Understanding, and Responding to Child Abuse and Neglect) Dr. Johnson has inspired us as parents to ensure that we will be a part of the solution in reducing the incidence of Child Abuse in our population.

Dr. Harold Johnson is a retired professor of special education at Michigan State University (MSU). Prior to his arrival at MSU, he was a professor at Kent State University (1980-2006), a public school administrator (1975-1977) and a teacher of students who were deaf/hard of hearing (1971-1975). His research has focused upon the use of web-based technologies and resources to reduce isolation, facilitate collaboration, recognize excellence and enhance teaching/learning within K-20 deaf education. His recent research has focused on the incidence, recognition, impact and prevention of child abuse and neglect as experienced by children with disabilities.

We want Harold to be acknowledged in the EHDI world as someone who has changed the conversation about child abuse and neglect for children who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing as no one else has. At H&V, we have learned to integrate into the consciousness of families the importance of safety. Communication and language for a child cannot thrive unless a child is safe. And a child cannot relay critical information about his/her own safety if communication and language does not thrive. This is why this topic is so critical for our population of children. Harold has helped us create practical applications to disseminate information about this topic (the Quilt Project, the Literacy Project, the IFSP/IEP Safety Plan).

Sara Kennedy, Colorado H&V Director, said the following about Harold: Harold has had two illustrious careers supporting our field. First, he has taught, mentored and inspired a generation or more of teachers of the deaf, putting together parent and professional partnerships. As he brought that career to an end, he was already ramping up efforts to bring about a different kind of change. He knew from years of working with kids that the incidence of child abuse and neglect in our world was high. He can ask the tough questions, and he is always ready with something practical and doable to suggest to parents, to schools, and to systems. Harold's legacy will continue to grow because of the policies he has worked tirelessly to put into place in support of kids' well-being.

Each of us at Hands & Voices, along with the chapter leadership and all the parents we support, are indebted to Dr. Johnson for his tireless dedication and life long career in Deaf education, and more recently, for ensuring that children's safety is a topic that is addressed within the EHDI system's consciousness.