Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side (GBYS) is a family support program that embodies the mission and vision of Hands & Voices, which is to provide unbiased support to families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
GBYS does this through specially trained parents of children who are deaf/hard of hearing. These parents work as "Guides" directly with families who have just learned of their child's hearing status and are in need of the unique support that comes from someone else who has walked this path him/herself and can share from direct experience and wisdom.
GBYS programs can also include an option for Deaf/Hard of Hearing Guides (DHH Guides) who are deaf or hard of hearing adults and specially trained to provide support to families. GBYS has been created to be a flexible program that will meet the unique family support and outreach needs of our area.
Who are we?
Our GBYS guides are parents who have a child or children who are deaf or hard of hearing. We all have diverse communication methods and lived experiences, but we all have unbiased attitudes. We communicate using many different methods, including ASL, cued speech, total communication, and spoken English. We represent the H&V slogan, "What works for your child is what makes the choice right." We are paid for our time, including training.
How does it work?
- Offer parent-to-parent support at the time of newborn screening
- Offer specific support & resources about deafness/hearing loss
- Not only provide Parent Guides, but also trained Deaf/Hard of Hearing Guides. Exposure to DHH adults will provide families invaluable perspectives from personal experience.
- To refer a family from Maryland or DC to GBYS, please email us.
What kind of specialized knowledge and skills do the GBYS Guides have?
- We have experience and knowledge of the joys and challenges of raising a child who is deaf or hard of hearing.
- We are sensitive to the range of emotional responses that families experience.
- We can share information about early intervention and educational program
options, as well as other community resources.
- We can often connect you to someone who has specialized parenting experience that matches the unique needs of your child, such as Cls, BAHAs, cued speech, or ASL
- We have unbiased information to support in the decision-making process for your child and family.
- We have ongoing training from Hands & Voices and other professional conferences.
What's new with GBYS at Maryland/DC Hands & Voices?
We want to hire more parent guides! We especially want to find a Spanish speaking parent guide in Washington DC. If interested, please email us.
Maryland/DC Hands & Voices is thrilled to announce that we have been awarded funding to establish a Guide By Your Side program for families with deaf or hard of hearing children in Maryland.
This program is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration Universal Newborn Screening Grant and the Maryland Department of Health Prevention and Health Promotion Administration's Office for Genetics and People with Special Health Care Needs.