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Delaware Families for Hands & Voices
April Newsletter


Happy spring, and thanks for reading! 
lilacWe are working on some social events for this summer and would love to get some input from members!  If you have an idea for a Hands & Voices event, or if you would like to weigh in on which of our ideas you and your family want to attend, please stop by our page here: 

or reply to this email.  
Looking forward to seeing you all soon!


Optimal EHDI Outcomes 
The opening plenary at the March EHDI Conference in St Louis was “Optimal EHDI Outcomes: What’s Missing.” The ultimate goal for deaf and hard of hearing kids is one year’s growth in one year’s time. Dr. Christine Yoshinago-Itano discussed areas of spoken language where deaf and hard of hearing students tend to fall behind their hearing peers. Hearing loss causes children miss out on the incidental learning that hearing children are benefiting from when they listen in on adult conversation. If you think about the sort of things you as an adult say directly to a two year old, as opposed to discussions you might have with a spouse or other adult in front of the same child, there are certainly large and appropriate differences. Dr. Yoshinago-Itano identified a list of key pragmatic skills that these kids often miss: 

• Provides information on request 
• Repairs incomplete sentences 
• Ends conversations appropriately 
• Interjects 
• Apologizes 
• Requests clarification 
• Makes promises 
• Asks questions to problem solve 
• Asks questions to make predictions 
• Retells a story 
• Tells 4-6 picture story in the right order 
• Creates original story 
• Explains relationships between objects, actions, and situations 
• Compares and contrasts 

While her study group of hearing children mastered 44% of the pragmatic skills she was testing for by age 3, and 100% by age 6, the study group of children with hearing loss mastered only 6.6% of the same skills by age 3, and only 69% by age 7. The gap is sure to profoundly influence educational as well as social outcomes for the deaf and hard of hearing children. According to Dr. Yoshinago-Itano, “Using language in a socially appropriate manner is the highest level of language functioning and the most difficult. Most of our children [with hearing loss] require specific instruction in these issues.” Pragmatic spoken language use must be directly and purposely presented to children with hearing loss if they are to obtain optimal outcomes. 

You can find Dr. Yoshinago’s presentation with more specific information from the study on the EHDI Meeting website here:

In This Issue:
  • Upcoming Events
  • Reins of Life
  • Social Event Survey
  • Optimal EHDI Outcomes


Our next chapter meeting will be May 22 at 6PM at TLK Academy in Peoples Plaza, Glasgow.  Child care can be provided on request!  We have the complete meeting schedule for 2012 on our website.

Family Advocacy and Child Educational Services (FACES) will be hosting a Family Education Series. This program will be offered both at the Delaware Statewide Programs for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind at 630 E Chestnut Hill Road in Newark, and at Child Development Watch, 2nd floor, 18 N Walnut St, Milford. The northern series dates are May 10, and June 5. The southern series dates are May 2, May 14, and May 30. Spoken English Interpreters and child care will be provided. For more information, please contact Tara Kelly at

Delaware Family Voices is offering a workshop on creating a Care Notebook for parents to organize medical reports, IEPs, therapy evaluations, and much more.  It will be offered in New Castle on May 3, 6:30 - 8:30 and in Dover May 9, 10:00 - 12:00.  Please register in advance.

3 on 3 Basketball Tournament at DSD to benefit AI Dupont Hospital for Children, May 5, 11:00 - 4:00 

Hear We Go Annual 5K Run/Walk, May 6th at Nemours Mansion and Gardens, Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children.  Registration opens at 12:00 pm, Race starts at 1:00 pm.

3rd Annual DE School for the Deaf (DSD) Community Day: Saturday, May 12, 12-5pm, Cape Henlopen State Park (Flyer in English or Spanish)

Reins of Life

Reins of Life, a nonprofit organization offering therapeutic horseback riding to children and young adults with special needs, has purchased a farm in Landenberg, PA. Now that they have a larger, full time facility, they will be able to offer services to more riders, including siblings of special needs children.  Reins of Life has been serving children in our area for 18 years. 
Show us your Hands & Voices!
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Delaware Families for Hands and Voices
TLK, Peoples Plaza
Newark, Delaware 19708

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