The Issue: Parents Unprepared for Babies with Hearing Loss
In 2009, 1.6% of the babies screened in the United States were diagnosed with hearing loss, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hearing loss can result from genetics or infections during pregnancy, with 40%–50% of children contracting the condition from a cause other than their genes. Because not all babies with hearing loss will have parents with hearing loss, parents of these children will need extra education to help raise their children.
The Campaign: Creating Webinars with an ASL Instructor
If this Grassroots campaign raises $500, then Hands & Voices of Oregon can purchase a one-year subscription to produce webinars. Hands & Voices of Oregon will record six webinars to teach parents about their deaf and hard-of-hearing children. Each webinar will focus on a particular topic such as technology, deaf education, early-intervention programs, and special-education laws. Each additional $10 raised will go toward procuring a certified ASL instructor for the videos and additional webinar subscriptions.
Hands & Voices of Oregon
Hands & Voices was originally founded to unite people within the deaf community who had chosen different methods of communication. It began when a parent-support group in Colorado witnessed a national debate over the merits of oral versus ASL communication within the deaf community in response to an exhibit at the Smithsonian. Aggrieved by anger that resulted in the exhibit being shut down, the parents worked to create an entity that would represent and aid all deaf and hard-of-hearing people.
A local autonomous chapter of this national movement, Hands & Voices of Oregon helps new parents of deaf and hard-of-hearing children. When children do not pass the newborn hearing screening, Hands & Voices of Oregon contacts their families with information about follow-up diagnostics and educational and communication services. Each family also gains access to a guide who can provide emotional support, connect parents to resources and other families, and attend developmental planning meetings at schools.