Resource night benefits families with DHH students
Author: Tammy L. Lane • First Posted: Friday, March 24, 2017
The Special Education Department of Fayette County Public Schools coordinated a comprehensive Parent Resource Night for families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH). The March 23 event, hosted by the Lexington Hearing and Speech Center, featured several organizations with materials and advice for the adults, as well as fun activities to entertain the youngsters.
“It’s good for kids to see and be around other kids like them with the same life experiences. It’s also good for parents. Our goal is community connection,” said Sarah Roof, who heads the Kentucky chapter of Hands & Voices, a family support group.
The evening, set up by FCPS teachers Carlin Robbins and Kelly McMaine, also introduced postsecondary opportunities and vocational rehabilitation and provided a setting for parents to network. “I want them to feel like they have numbers to call and faces to put with names of resources,” McMaine said.
In addition to Roof, the groups and presenters included:
- Eastern Kentucky University - Michelle Gremp, coordinator of the Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program;
- Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing - Anita Dowd from the Information, Referral and Advocacy Department;
- Kentucky School for the Deaf and Outreach’s Statewide Educational Resource Center on Deafness - Jerri Lafavers and Mica Davis;
- Lexington Hearing and Speech Center - Marcey Ansley, executive director;
- University of Kentucky’s Disability Resource Center - Susan Fogg, consultant;
- Vocational Rehabilitation - Julie Beth Hayden, counselor for the deaf; and
- FCPS - Christina Grace, associate director of Special Education.
“We partner with our community agencies as much as possible and want families to know where they can get support,” Grace said.
In addition, UK and EKU students and faculty provided structured activities and games for DHH children and their siblings while their parents were in the workshop, and the Kentucky School for the Deaf’s culinary class prepared the refreshments.
Paula Pitcock, whose 1½-year-old daughter was born profoundly deaf, appreciated the efforts. “This has all of the options in one place, and you can see how they mesh together,” she said. “It’s also nice to talk to other parents in the same position.”