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Delaware Families for Hands & Voices
February Newsletter

Have I got a deal for you! 

In honor of Pi Day, March 14, we will have a free homemade pie in exchange for full articles submitted for this newsletter.  Send 'em in, and make me bake!

Please email submissions to dehandsandvoices@aol.com by March 14, 2012.

All submitting will be reviewed and approved or denied prior to print by Hands and Voices.

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Delaware's Still Listening 5th Conference

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The Delaware’s Still Listening conference is coming up fast on March 21, 2012. This will be the 5th biennial conference, and it will once again be held at the Dover SheratonRegistration is free and available online now. The conference is sponsored by Delaware Health and Social Services. It is well attended by a wide variety of people with ties to the deaf and hard of hearing in Delaware: parents, audiologists, teachers, social workers, deaf and hard of hearing adults, doctors in all related fields, and many others crowd into the hotel conference rooms to learn from the experts in audiology, law and policy making, technology, education, and more. In addition to the sessions on the agenda, there will be exhibitors in the atrium with relevant displays, information, and possibly even the occasional freebie. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. 

This year the theme of the conference is “Raising Expectations.” Along those lines, attendees will hear from keynote speaker Howard Rosenblum. Mr. Rosenblum is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD). He is a strong advocate for equal rights for the deaf community, including equal access to educational and occupational opportunities, as well as equal access to medical and legal professionals. Before he became the NAD CEO, he worked as a lawyer in Chicago. Among his many accomplishments, he founded the Midwest Center on Law and the Deaf (MCLD), and served as Senior Attorney for Equip for Equality

The final session for Delaware’s Still Listening will be a panel of young deaf professionals. In an interview with Jessica Thurber of Deaf Politics just before he took office as CEO, Mr. Rosenblum reported his interest and ambition in law stemmed from an experience as a child:

 “My parents have always encouraged me to go into any type of career I wanted, including the legal and medical professions. When I was twelve, my mother dragged me to go and listen to Lowell Myers, who was the only deaf lawyer in the country at the time. It was a life-changing moment for me. Seeing Mr. Myers speak about his experiences made me realize that deaf people can indeed be lawyers, and that I wanted to be one.” (Thurber, 2011) 

This panel will be a collection of successful deaf adults from several different professions. They will each be given time to tell their own story, and then there will be time for them to answer questions from the audience. I know if my kids were 12, I would be dragging them along with me. Hope to see you all at the Sheraton in March, and remember spaces fill up fast so get your RSVP in today

Works Cited: Delaware Department of Health and Social Services. (n.d.). Delaware's Still Listening- 5th Annual Conference on Hearing Loss. Retrieved February 3, 2012, from http://www.delawares-still-listening.com/index.html National Association of the Deaf. (n.d.). National Association of the Deaf. Retrieved February 3, 2012, from http://www.nad.org/ Thurber, J. (2011, February 9). Getting to Know Howard A. Rosenblum, the Next CEO of NAD. (J. Thurber, Ed.) Retrieved February 3, 2012, from Deaf Politics Blog: http://blog.deafpolitics.org/2012/02/getting-to-know-howard-rosenblum-next.html
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Come Bowling with DE Hands & Voices!

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Come out and catch up with friends or meet new people in the community. This event is free, and refreshments and shoes will be provided. If you are not yet a member, or if you know someone that might be interested in joining, it will be a great opportunity to learn what we are all about and sign up.

Date: March 24, 2012
Time: 2:00 - 4:00 PM
Place: Bowlerama
3031 New Castle Avenue
New Castle, DE 19720
Cost: Free! 

Be sure to register by March 16 so
that we can reserve enough space for
everyone!

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What Should You Do if Your Deaf or Hard of Hearing Child is Bullied? 
10 Guideposts to Help Stop Bullying 

A child who is deaf or hard of hearing faces unique challenges in keeping pace with his or her classmates. Add bullying to the mix and you have a problem that can be overwhelming for the student, the parent and the school staff. The solutions are as varied as the classmates, schools and communities where the bullying occurs. Here are 10 guideposts to help stop bullying. 

A. PREVENTION 
1. Recognize that bullying happens to kids who are deaf or hard of hearing Many people cannot conceive of the idea that a child with special needs would be the victim of bullying. Unfortunately, children perceived as being different in some way are usually the first individuals to be targeted by bullies. This aggression can take the form of: • Teasing imitation of the use of sign language. • Mimicking the deaf child’s distinctive vocal quality. • Encouraging classmates not to associate with the “different” kid. 
2. Be alert that bullying might be happening to your kid Since children who are deaf or hard of hearing can occupy a lower social standing among their peers, they might lack a support system –– which the bully recognizes. Bullying can go unreported because children with special needs sometimes struggle with self esteem issues. They may fail to report the abuse due to their feelings of intimidation, humiliation, or embarrassment. It’s important to speak with your child about bullying. Tell your child in no uncertain terms that bullying should never be tolerated and there is no shame attached to reporting it. 
3. Help create a communication friendly environment in your child’s school Since bullies tend to victimize loners without a support network, encourage your child to engage with other kids and adult staff. Establish a rapport with your child’s teacher and principal. Educate them to the nature of your child’s hearing loss and to your child’s strengths and vulnerabilities. For example, one deaf student had gotten the reputation of being rude because she didn’t return the greetings of classmates who passed her in the hall. When the group was reminded that they needed to be in the child’s line of sight in order for their greetings to be recognized, the misunderstanding ceased. 
4. Teach your child to be a self advocate Teach your child that she has a lot to offer both classmates and school. Encourage your child to speak out when something seems wrong. If she is perceived as having a strong character, that is often enough to discourage a bully from targeting her. If necessary, consider social skills training or getting to know a deaf or hard of hearing adult mentor for assistance. 
5. Beware of cyberbullying The cyberbully uses the Internet and social media tools to harass his victims. Matthew Kaplowitz, co-author of How to Talk to Your Kids About Bullying and School Violence and producer of digital media for students with disabilities, recommends that you oversee your child’s computer activities. “Consider installing Internet security filters. They will help you regulate your child’s online experience Teach your child the nuances of communicating online, and that messages, sent privately, can easily be shared with others. Check text messages to make sure that offensive messages aren’t being sent to your child. Teach your child never to reveal personal information online.” 
6. Be supportive If you discover that your child is being bullied, don’t wait. Speak to her about it immediately. Listen to your child’s feelings. Be understanding and supportive. Explain that they are not responsible for being bullied nor is there any shame in being bullied––bullying must never be tolerated. Share a story about how you or someone you know was bullied. You are also likely to have strong feelings in the matter, but try to generate an impression of calmness. This is your child’s experience—and it’s a very personal experience. 
7. Gather information Find out everything you can about the incident(s). Who was involved? What led up to the altercation? How long has the bullying been going on? Learn about the school’s anti-bullying policy. Get all your facts organized so you can approach the situation efficiently and effectively. 
8. Communicate your concerns calmly with the school Positive communication is usually the key to getting results. Approach your child’s teacher and the parents of the bully in a calm, objective manner. Let your demeanor show that you are just there to find a practical solution to an unfortunate problem.  The other parties involved might respond defensively if they feel you are angry or judging them. You are all going to have to work together on a solution, so eliminate resistance before it begins by communicating calmly. 

B. INTERVENTION 
9. Be persistent Bullying is not to be tolerated after it has been discovered and reported. If the bullying continues and your child’s teacher doesn’t rectify the problem in a prompt fashion, do not hesitate to take the matter to a higher authority. Alert the school’s guidance counselor or principal. If this fails to bring satisfaction, notify the district supervisor. Keep a written record of all the communications and conversations you’ve had with teachers and school staff or school administration. 
10. Utilize your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) If the bullying of your child is based on his hearing loss and the harassment is interfering with your child’s learning, the school is legally obligated to stop the persecution and provide support. If your child has an IEP, set a meeting with the IEP team to collaboratively figure out an anti-bullying action plan. Final Word: There is no quick fix to the problem of bullying It is a serious situation that requires the ongoing involvement of family, school staff, and community members. Once you have come to a resolution, share your experiences with the special needs community. We’re all in this together and the more information that is available, the easier it is for everyone.  

This article was published by Cartoon Network.

In This Issue:
  • Pie Offer
  • Upcoming Events
  • Delaware's Still Listening
  • Bowling
  • Communication Discussion Worksheet for IEPs
  • 10 Guide Posts to Help Stop Bullying


Events

Our next chapter meeting will be February 28 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.

The Council on Deaf and Hard of Hearing Equality (CODHHE) Summer Camp Scholarship Applications are due March 2, 2012. 

Deaf Awareness Day at National Aquarium in Baltimore, March 10 9:00AM - 3:30 PM.  Discount coupons available.

The 2012 EDHI conference will be held in St Louis, March 4, 5, and 6. 

Family Advocacy and Child Educational Services (FACES) will be hosting a Family Education Series.  Workshops will be held monthly starting on March 13th in Milford and March 27th in Newark with "Communicating with Your DHH Child."

Delaware Statewide Programs Community Presentation: "Everything You Always Wanted To Know About ASL/English Bimodal Bilingual Early Childhood Education" at Margaret Sterck Auditorium in the new Delaware School for the Deaf, March 15, 6:30-8:30PM

Signing Hands Across the Water ASL Poetry Festival at Swarthmore College in PA, March 16-18, 2012. Events are free, but you must register in advance

Delaware's Still Listening Conference will be held at the Sheraton Hotel in Dover March 21, 2012.  Registration is open now! 


CHOP CCC Family Conference, "Planting the Seeds for Success" April 14, 2012, 8:00AM-3:30PM. For more information call Jaime Ramanauskas, Family Resource Coordinator at 2670426-0780, or email her at ramanauskasj@email.chop.edu. 


When was the last time your child’s IEP team took a good, long look at his/her communication needs? 

In September of 2010, the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Children’s Bill of Rights was signed into law by Governor Markell. One of the provisions of this law is that every child who has a hearing loss in Delaware is entitled to a thorough consideration of his/her communication needs. 

To assist with this process, Statewide Programs for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf-Blind created a document entitled “Communication Considerations,” and training on how to use it has been provided statewide. It is highly recommended that this plan be reviewed each year, as your child’s needs change as well as the staff involved in your child’s life. 

One of the most important features of this activity is it provides the IEP team an opportunity to articulate: if there are language role models available, if there are specific needs for auditory or visual access for your child in extra-curricular activities, if your child has access to peers with varying hearing levels. 

There is also a place for an action plan to determine how to make these things become available - if possible. All in all the considerations are intended to be user friendly and supportive of a child in any type of placement, using any type of language, and with any type of hearing loss. 


If you would like to know how to bring this idea to your child’s IEP team, please contact Statewide Programs for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf-Blind 
(302) 454-2301 (hit ‘4’).

Submitted by Della Thomas, Director of Statewide Services for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind
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Delaware Families for Hands and Voices
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