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EHDI: Early Hearing Detection & Intervention

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Building Collaborative Relationships for Families

Presented by: Djenne-amal Morris, Nancy Hlibok Amann, Ph.D.

When: August 27th, 2020 | 11:00 am - 12:00 pm MT


This webinar identifies various kinds of current systems and how these can influence and/or impact a deaf or hard-of-hearing child's life, as well as what these mean for their families. In order for a system to be effective for a family, one must be able to be familiar and build relationships with various stakeholders. Like the famous African proverb, "it takes a village to raise a child" and for that to happen, the role of collaboration and how it looks like will be discussed too. We will discuss the role of parent-professional collaboration as well as strategies for interagency collaboration to be successful.


Djenne-amal Morris brings passion and real-life experience to her role as parent/professional trainer, facilitator and motivational speaker whose view of the world not as it is, but as it could be. As a mother who has successfully raised a family with special needs, she strives to build an atmosphere of support and empowerment for families and the professionals who serve them. Djenne provides speeches, workshops, trainings and individual coaching and mentoring nationally and internationally.

Djenne was raised in a diverse community in New York City by a family who valued education and inclusion. She received her BA in Psychology/Sociology from Clark University in Worcester, Mass. Djenne married her high school sweetheart, Michael, 28 years ago and have three children. Imani (25) works in Austin, Texas and Zakiya-mali (19) is pursuing a career in Audiology at UNC-Chapel Hill. Malik (24) graduated from the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf. Malik was born with CHARGE Syndrome, a genetic condition in which he is deafblind with multiple disabilities. He is currently living his best life in his own group home and loving his new independence! Malik has been the inspiration for her family's resilience, and she has dedicated her life to be a conduit of hope for other families.

Djenne has always shown an interest in family, professional, interpersonal and cultural dynamics/collaboration. Fueling her passion for others, journeying with she has worked in the full-time ministry, taught parenting classes, leadership seminars and worked as a Deafblind Family Specialist. Djenne currently works as a Parent Educator at BEGINNINGS for Parents of Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in Raleigh NC. She is the President of the Board of Directors of Hands & Voices HQ, and Family Faculty/Multicultural Advisor for the NC UNC-Chapel Hill LEND program at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Djenne and her family moved from Boston to North Carolina in 2004. She is fun loving, believes laughter is an essential part of life, loves to read, and is a published author; The Art of Collaboration: Lessons from Families of Children with Disabilities. Djenne has recently received her certificate in Diversity & Inclusion from Cornell University.

Nancy Hlibok Amann, Ph.D., is the Superintendent of California School for the Deaf in Riverside (CSDR). A native of New York City, she holds BA and MS degrees in Government and Administration from Gallaudet University and a Ph.D in Bi-Literacy and Reading from the University of Arizona.

After Gallaudet, Nancy worked at the Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind as a classroom teacher, ASL Specialist, Parent Advisor, and Deaf Mentor. After receiving her Ph.D., she became a Literacy Specialist working with classroom teachers, itinerant teachers, and supervising teachers. She then became a school administrator at ASDB, her last position there being that of Assistant Superintendent.

In 2013, Nancy became the Director of Special Projects and Development at Deaf Community Services in San Diego. There, she focused on academics, literacy, and family development for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. She then returned to the classroom as a high school teacher at the San Diego Unified School District. In the summer of 2015, she became CSDR superintendent.

Nancy's husband Alan is a Deputy Attorney General with California Attorney General's office. Together they have three children, of whom one is deaf and two are hearing. Their son graduated from Gallaudet University in 2017 and just obtained a JD from Georgetown Law School. Their older daughter graduated from University of California, Davis, majoring in Political Science. Their last daughter is going to California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, majoring in Environmental Management.

Nancy loves to spend time at the beach, whip up new dishes, and be with her family. She also enjoys discovering new hidden spots in Southern California.