Reflections from H&V Leadership Conference D.C. 2019-ASTra Advocate-Valerie Dixon

 Reflections from H&V Leadership Conference D.C. 2019-ASTra Advocate-Valerie Dixon

*We will have 9 Blog posts from our 9 GA H&V team members that went to the Annual Hands & Voices Leadership Conference this past September in Washington D.C. at Gallaudet University. Gallaudet is the world's only Deaf/Hard of Hearing University. *

Left- ASTra Advocate Kelli Graham
Right- ASTra Advocate Valerie Dixon

As a first-time attendee at H&V Leadership Conference, I was quite delighted to share in this experience. There I was amongst so many people that choose to advocate and support the many families with children who are Deaf or hard of hearing. This learning opportunity allowed me to have another perspective on so many issues.
Left-ASTra Program Director-Deshonda Washington
Center-GBYS Program Coordinator-Scarlett Giles
Right-ASTra Advocate- Valerie Dixon

Facilitative Skills Workshop for IEP’s gave an opportunity to learn about using facilitators to help make the IEP process easier by resolving conflict in IEP meetings. Facilitative or active listening is about helping people understand each other in a structured and safe environment, creating a positive tone or reliving tension.
An important issue, and one that I am reminded of each time I begin an interaction with a family is, to offer support without bias. BIAS-- is to influence and inspire with prejudice; intent to coerce; belief that there is one right way for all DHH kids. We were reminded that bias can be an attitude, emotion, or action. A question to ask is---? Do you understand the communication considerations and complexity of the issues FOR THIS FAMILY?” There is a benefit of providing Unbiased support!
Lastly, there are many changes in world of unilateral hearing loss. As presented, one family shared the journey as their child moved through the educational system. There are many considerations to be made when supporting a child with a unilateral loss. Accommodation made should be varied. Unique considerations should be made as it relates to understanding unilateral hearing loss (UHL):  what is the impact on the child’s education? what are the eligibility assumptions and special considerations? Is there access to appropriate assessments? and what are some resources for families?
Left- ASTra Advocate- Valerie Dixon
Right- Parent Guide- Kelly Cashion

It was truly a great learning experience. As I continue to support families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing, I am reminded that there is much to learn. Additionally, we have a wonderful team in the state of Georgia. Looking forward to many more shared experiences. -ASTra Advocate Valerie Dixon

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