The 100 Babies Project

100BabiesInfographic

More about the 100 Babies Project, in the words of former Project Manager, Dr. Jessica Bergeron:

“Georgia Pathway started off as a community of practice for teachers, teachers who serve children who are deaf and hard of hearing. It started in June of 2011 in an effort to provide online support for teachers and improve their practices around literacy. We are the only group to combine LSL (Listening & Spoken Language), state-run ASL (American Sign Language)/bilingual programs, with county comprehensive programs with the common goal of grade level reading. We are the only group of our kind. Our 3rd grade goal is the same as our governor’s, which is that all children will be on a path to 3rd grade reading by 2020. Once we became a coalition in 2012-2013, we were working together to examine research-based practices that promote literacy development. Then, we recognized that we couldn’t be successful if we didn’t also target the system from birth to three. We then had a coalition meeting in June 2013. At that meeting, we made an effort to target the system, all of the people within the system instead of just teachers. This included policymakers, pediatricians, Department of Public Health, et al. Many great things happened at that meeting, but one of the best things that happened at that meeting was the creation of action teams. The Funding and Policy Action Team included Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald who is the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health in Georgia. She declared at that meeting that the next 100 babies who are diagnosed with hearing loss in Georgia would be on a path to grade level reading. She committed herself to making the changes that were needed to make it happen.

The mission of the 100 babies project is to create an efficient system that ensures that all children will be on a path to grade level reading. At the beginning of the project, the coalition started at the beginning of the literacy process, from pre-birth medical visits to 3rd grade reading, examining all interactions that would promote language growth, which is the foundation for literacy. It was an investigation of all parties that contribute to a child’s birth to literacy plan. It helped the coalition identify gaps and system failures. The gaps were places where issues arose that weren’t owned by any particular agency. The agencies have taken responsibility for their part. We are committed to staying six months ahead of the process. The 100 Babies is a first-run, testing the working system in place in Georgia for babies birth to 3rd grade. The breakdown of the project begins with investigation, then helping agencies problem solve and trouble shoot, and finally filling in the gaps. For each transaction, the focus is twofold. What capacity are we building in parents to empower their children? And how is this step building that child’s language?”

Stay tuned for more information about how you can get involved in this groundbreaking work!

 

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Speech vs. Language: What’s the difference?

In order to understand the importance of language, we have to know the difference between two commonly confused terms — speech and language.

What’s the difference?

SPEECH

Speech is the verbal means of communicating. It’s how spoken language is conveyed. Speech includes the following:

a) Articulation — how speech sounds are produced by the articulators (lips, teeth, tongue, palate, velum). For example, a child must be able to produce an /m/ sound to say “me.”

b) Voice — use of the vocal folds and exhalation to produce sound. The voice is characterized by pitch, loudness, and resonance (oral- or nasal-).

c) Fluency — how smoothly the sounds, syllables, words, and phrases are joined together in spoken language.

LANGUAGE

Language is a system of socially shared rules that are understood (i.e. Language Comprehension or Receptive Language) and expressed (i.e. Expressive Language and Written Language) that includes the following:

a) Form — how words are put together that make sense (syntax or grammar); also how new words are formed (morphology)

b) Content — what words mean (semantics)

c) Use — how the language is used to convey meaning in specific contexts (pragmatics)

Was this helpful or was this information you already knew? Let us know at gapathway@gmail.com.

Classroom Strategies to Build and Strengthen Literacy Skills

I stumbled upon a fantastic, informative website.

Reading Rockets.

But it’s more than just a website. It’s a movement.

This is what they say about themselves:
“We bring the best research-based strategies to teachers, parents, administrators, librarians, childcare providers, and anyone else involved in helping a young child become a strong, confident reader. Our goal is to bring the reading research to life — to spread the word about reading instruction and to present ‘what works’ in a way that parents and educators can understand and use.”

I just had to share the classroom strategies that I found there. Here’s a peek…

Reading Rockets 1

Further down, they list the different categories of strategies with guidance.

Reading Rockets 2

Here’s an example of one of their strategies — word maps.

Reading Rockets 3

You can find them here. Or by using this link: http://www.readingrockets.org/strategies/.

This is a gift to all teachers, professionals, parents, and families who actively play a role in a child’s language and literacy development. Many thanks to Reading Rockets for providing educators with this wonderful resource.

Did you find this helpful? Let us know at gapathway@gmail.com.

Deaf Education: Writing Strategies for Literacy

In classrooms for children who are deaf and hard of hearing (DHH), written language instruction is part of a rich literacy-learning environment. Written language instruction is not handwriting. It is an expressive version of language just like speaking. Instruction on how to form letters is handwriting. Written language starts with the idea that words have meaning and can be written down.

In Mayer’s (2007) article, “What Really Matters in the Early Literacy Development of Deaf Children,” the author highlights the importance of creating a rich literacy-learning environment and describes a classroom that: includes practices that are relevant, purposeful, and functional for the learner . . . [and] provide daily opportunities to experiment with reading and writing, linking literacy experiences and the active use of language (p. 424).

Here are two activities that teachers can try with students in the classroom or parents can try at home.

Writing Activities Restaurant and Jigsaw

Let us know what you think about these activities, whether you found them helpful or if you need help in another area of language/literacy development. You can write to us at gapathway@gmail.com.

Strategies for Teaching Vocabulary

Is your child a language developer or a language learner?

Language Levels

The importance of meaningful context when teaching vocabulary:

Targeting Vocabulary 10-2

If you like what you see here, please let us know! If you didn’t find what you were looking for, we would love to know that, too. Email us at gapathway@gmail.com.

Do you know about our 2020 goal for every child in Georgia who is deaf and hard of hearing? Visit www.georgialiteracy.org to learn about our work and what you can do to get your children on a path to grade level reading!

3 Things You Missed from Georgia Hands & Voices’ Back to School Bash

So you were a little bogged down with the back to school chaos that ensues every year at about this time, and you couldn’t make it to GA Hands & Voice’s event?

No problem.

We checked in with their Executive Director, Terri Patterson for an inside scoop of what we missed…

Georgia Hands & Voices 5th Annual Back to School BASH

BASH1

With over 70 families and professionals (deaf educators, administrators, interpreters, SLPs, Audiologists, students in higher education, GA Pines Parent Advisors to name a few) in attendance, 19 exhibitors, 8 teen panelists, 7 session presenters, 3 sponsors and one very dynamic guest speaker: we believe the Georgia Hands & Voices 5th Annual Back to School BASH at the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf on August 17 was a great success. 

YOUR TEENAGER’S SELF-ESTEEM

BASH3

We were honored to have Mr. Ken Levinson who crossed the country to come and talk about why and how teenagers develop positive, healthy self-esteem. Mr. Levinson is the Co-Founder and Lead Counselor of the AG Bell Association’s Leadership Opportunities for Teens (LOFT) Program. Mr. Levinson focused his talk on building healthy self-esteem in children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, regardless of their communication modes or methods.   “I AM GREAT” spoke to the different characteristics that are vital to developing confidence and positive self-esteem in ALL teenagers and took it further to address the unique needs of teens who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.  He emphasized the necessity of allowing kids to develop independence by experiencing everything and taking chances, making mistakes and learning from them. Also, he also shared the importance of teens in developing a positive attitude and a behavior of respect. Teens need to get involved in groups that help develop stronger bonds; find good role models, particularly those that are D/HH; set expectations high and learn to laugh at themselves.

TEEN PANEL

Teen Panel 1

We were also lucky enough to have him facilitate our teen panel which closed the day down providing great wisdom and enlightenment.  Mr. Levinson’s humor and honesty really drew out the panelists, who ranged from “almost” 13 through 19 years of age.  They represented diverse cultural backgrounds, academic settings, communication choices and personality characteristics, while finding quite a bit of common ground and experiences. It was really thrilling to see them become so animated up on the stage and express themselves with such honesty, especially after sharing how nervous they were in the beginning.  From one 14 year old boy sharing the story of losing his implant off of a rollercoaster (of course, the Executive Director’s son) to a 15 year old sharing the benefits of sign language “because you can communicate with a mouth full of food,” they let their personalities shine.  They talked about wanting to go to college, wanting to become a teacher, wanting to develop their skills in mechanics.  Mr. Levinson continually emphasized that our children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing can be ANYTHING they want to be and the importance of having positive Deaf and Hard of Hearing role models.  This was echoed by our audience during their questions and comments for the panelists. I think this group is well on their way to doing just that!

Along with these empowering presentations to our larger group, we also had 5 breakout sessions during the day.  We covered topics ranging from “Intro to ASL” presented by a couple, Karmon, who works with the Georgia Parent Infant Network for Educational Services program (GA PINES) and Michael Cain, an American Sign Language Instructor at Georgia Perimeter College, who are both Deaf; to “Transition to What? What Happens After High School” by Becky Sills, a Director of VR Services. To add to the mix, G.R.E.A.T.D.A.Y. Inc. who provides mental health resources for the Deaf community presented; our Board President, Carianne Muse, who is also a member of the Joint Commission on Infant Hearing (JCIH), presented “What Should You Expect from Early Intervention Services” addressing the recently published set of JCIH recommendations on Early Intervention Services and how they relates to the current services provided in our state. Our final session choice, “Your Child’s Journey Towards Graduation: What You Need to Know,” was presented by Dr. Kenney Moore, the Director of the Division of State Schools and Dr. Frank Nesbit, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program Consultant for the Department of Education.  The brain trust at this event was unbeatable!

Teen Panel 2

SIB SHOPS

So, while our wonderful volunteers from the Georgia Perimeter College Sign Language Interpreter Training Program, GA PINES and the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf provided a safe, fun and accessible environment for our children and the Georgia Sensory Assistance Project put on a Sib Shop for the 7-9 year old hearing siblings, the teens and adults were filled with knowledge and had an opportunity to connect as a community.  Add in the exhibitor break time, and some lunch and it made for a full, satisfying day.

PRAISE FOR THE BACK-TO-SCHOOL BASH

BASH2

A few of the comments on the evaluations of the event: “Incredibly brave, bright, insightful young people!” “It was needed and nice to socialize with other parents.”  “Super fun!!!” “They were able to answer a lot of questions.”

SPONSORS & SUPPORTERS

We are grateful for the sponsorship provided by Georgia Relay, Active Life Hearing Loops and Cochlear Americas.  We also had a large diverse group of exhibitors at our event:

  • Advanced Bionics, AASD, AASD Accessible Materials Project, Auditory-Verbal Center, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, GA Bell, GACHI/Georgia Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Program, GA PINES, Georgia Peach Cochlear Implant Association, Georgia Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Georgia School for the Deaf, Georgia Sensory Assistance Project, Med-El, Oticon and G.R.E.A.T.D.A.Y, Inc.

I am grateful to all of the families in Georgia that feel as passionate as I do about ensuring our children get what they need when they need it to be successful, and continually reinforce why Hands & Voices is a valuable organization and community in our state.

WHAT’S NEXT AT GA HANDS & VOICES?

So, as we move forward with the 2013-14 school year, ensuring that our families of Deaf and Hard of Hearing children have the resources, the connections and the tools they need to empower their children to be successful, academically, socially and personally, in order to reach their full potential, so that they grow up to become who and whatever they dream and aspire to be.  Be watching for more info on our next event: “The Unique Communication Considerations for Your Child’s IEP/IFSP: What You Need to Know!” on October 5, 2013 at the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf from 8:30am to 1:00pm.  For more info and to RSVP please send an email to rsvp@gahandsandvoices.org or info@gahandsandvoices.org.  Check out our website, www.gahandsandvoices.org .

Hands and Voices IFSP IEP Event

To learn more about Georgia Pathway to Language & Literacy and our goal for the year 2020, please visit our website at www.georgialiteracy.org or email us at gapathway@gmail.com.

We Need You! (Yes, you)

Are you…

a parent of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing

a sibling of a child or adult who is deaf or hard of hearing

a deaf adult

a teacher of deaf education

an audiologist

an SLP who works with deaf and hard of hearing children

an ASL interpreter

a family member of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing

an advocate for the d/hh

an administrator

or public health professional?

Oh, you are?

Great!

featured-we-want-you

Take this ONE MINUTE survey (yes, only one minute…provided you aren’t too technologically un-savvy) to help Georgia Pathway serve you and Georgia’s D/HH children better best!

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ZMTKKP5

If you know anyone else who fits the bill, please pass this along to them, too. Thanks, y’all. We appreciate you.

What Every Parent Needs to Know…

About hearing aids in Georgia…

Baby with hearing aids

The Georgia Universal Newborn Hearing Screening and Intervention (UNHSI)
Program provides the Georgia Hearing Aid Loaner Bank (GA HALB):

The purpose of this program is to provide temporary hearing aids for children with hearing loss, who are birth to 36 months of age, while they are waiting to receive their personal amplification devices. The Georgia Hearing Aid Loaner Bank lends hearing aids for up to six months, on a onetime per child basis and includes one ear mold per hearing aid. There are no financial restrictions or requirements of the family.  Referrals to the program must be initiated through a UNHSI District Coordinator, who will oversee the application process and serve as a resource to the family throughout the process. Please contact the UNHSI District Coordinator in the family’s home district for assistance.

The UNHSI website is currently under construction. You can contact Tammy Uehlin with all questions at 404-657-2878 until the website is up and working again.

Any additional questions? Please email us at gapathway@gmail.com. We’d be happy to assist you!

Deaf International Festival at UGA: Connect with Your Community

Deaf International Festival Flyer

If you combine

12978478-summer-pool-party-a-pair-of-sunglasses-and-summer-straw-hat-resting-on-bricks-alongside-a-sparkling-

summer

+

Fesita Ultimate Nachos

food

+

cool-summer-beverages

beverages

+

create-a-unified-company-culture-pop_7524

culture

+

community-people

the Deaf community …

you get the 2013 Georgia Deaf International Festival!

With the kids out of school, you’ll want something fun to do come July 20.

Trust me.

And the proceeds go to a good cause – The Georgia Association for the Deaf!

Can’t beat that.

Hope to see you there!