about Family Support

A system of care. A community of support.

The great majority of children who are identified with a hearing loss are born to hearing parents. In most cases there is no history of hearing loss in the family, and most know no other families in the same situation. This often leaves parents feeling very alone, and many find themselves searching out others who understand what they are going through.

During the early months of a child’s diagnosis, parents often find themselves being thrust into new and unfamiliar roles. You may suddenly feel the need to become experts on the subject of hearing loss in order to make the right decisions for your child, as well as become advocates for the services your child needs immediately and in the years to come. Initially, this task seems overwhelming for most parents.

 

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Parents have voiced a strong need to connect with other parents, both at the time of diagnosis as well as throughout their child’s educational years. Linking parents with other parents can be an empowering experience for all involved through the sharing of personal stories, experience, expertise, and advice. Parents can offer unique support to one another that no professional can offer. By connecting with other parents you will learn how other parents reacted to the diagnosis of their child’s hearing loss, as well as what they found helpful for coping during this time. You will also learn what they have found to be helpful to them when faced with some of the daily challenges of raising a child with a hearing loss. Parents have much to offer one another in terms of their successes, as well as their fears, and can many times offer tips for working with professionals.

While parent to parent support is an essential resource for many, if not most, families affected by early childhood hearing loss, every parent has unique circumstances that shape their perceptions and choices they make for their child and family. These choices may vary and differ greatly from the choices you make for your child and family – and that’s absolutely okay. It’s important to remember that the distinctive nature of your family – configuration, cultural considerations, beliefs, values, emotional reactions, coping styles, family dynamics and other issues – plays a role in how you choose to access resources, and which services and support you feel will be most beneficial to your family.

The following statewide programs offer formal support to families of children with hearing loss in Texas:

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Deaf-Blind Multi-handicapped Association of Texas

Promotes and improves the quality of life for all Texans who are deaf-blind multi-handicapped, deaf multi-handicapped, and blind multi-handicapped.

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Texas Chargers, Inc

Encourages, educates, and enriches individuals and families living with CHARGE syndrome.

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Texas Hands and Voices

Offers support, information and resources in an unbiased manner to families with children who are deaf and hard of hearing.  Outreach activities, parent, professional, community collaboration, and advocacy efforts are focused on enabling Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing children to reach their highest potential.

 

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Texas Guide By Your Side

Is a family support program that embodies the mission of Hands & Voices, which is to provide unbiased support to families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing.  Services include providing direct parent-to-parent emotional support, sharing information and resources in an unbiased manner, workshops, trainings, and events for parents and children, networking opportunities with other families, referrals to other programs that serve deaf or hard of hearing children.

The Guide By Your Side program also offers formal opportunities to meet deaf and hard of hearing adults in Texas.  Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH) Guides have specialized training to provide families and children with invaluable perspectives that come from personal experience.  Their role is not to provide communication/language services (i.e., to teach families sign language or to share oral training techniques), but to provide helpful examples drawn from direct experience of life as an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing. DHH Guides are often an important link for extended family members who do not have direct contact with service providers, but want to increase their understanding of the unique needs of a family member who is deaf or hard of hearing.

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Texas Parent to Parent

Is committed to improving the lives of Texas children who have disabilities, chronic illness, and/or special health care needs. TxP2P empowers families to be strong advocates through parent-to-parent support, resource referral, and education. In addition, TxP2P educates professionals about the unique needs of our children with the goal of improving care and opportunities for our children. Lastly, TxP2P is dedicated to championing the efforts of a diverse set of parent support groups and advocacy on behalf of our children’s well-being.

 

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Educational Resource Center on Deafness

Brings the resources of the Texas School for the Deaf to the state, as well as, works collaboratively with a variety of agencies, programs, and schools across Texas to create a network of information, services, and support designed to meet the needs of deaf and hard of hearing students, their families, and the professionals who serve them.

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Deaf and Hard of Hearing Adults

Some parents are eager to meet deaf and hard of hearing adults in the early stages of their child’s diagnosis, while other parents are less ready to do so at first. Regardless of when they are ready, most parents have shared that meeting deaf and hard of hearing adults helped them to better understand the various challenges and issues that their children may face as they grow older and offered them hope when envisioning their child’s future.