CEID is proud to announce the launch of our newest effort to support families with children who are D/HH: Deaf Coaching Services for Families program.
The program employs individuals who are D/HH as Deaf Coaches. These adult mentors are language role models and work with families with D/HH children to promote language development and provide greater understanding of the D/HH perspective. The Deaf Coach works with IFSP (Individualized Family Service Plan) team members to support families in the language acquisition goals of the child and the family.
CEID has offered deaf mentor programming in the past for specific situations, but this opportunity offers a more sustainable program. The current Deaf Coaching program comes at a time where there is increased recognition statewide of the importance of meaningful participation of D/HH individuals as part of family support services. The startup of the program was funded, in-part, by Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids (LEAD-K) and collaborative efforts to make these services available to children throughout California.
Davana Jackson-Roberts, CEID Alum and teacher’s assistant, is CEID’s Deaf Coach Coordinator and the main contact for the program. She is closely aligned to the mission of the program and has a strong desire to dispel harmful stereotypes about Deaf individuals.
“There are false assumptions that deaf people cannot do the same things as others, such as driving a car. Having a Deaf Coach can break those barriers down,” said Davana.
The benefits of having a Deaf Coach are numerous. Among other benefits, a Deaf Coach can provide access to extensive knowledge of Deaf culture and the Deaf community, be a positive Deaf adult role model for a child who is D/HH, encourage language development, and equip parents and caregivers with tools to better support their child.
While the Deaf Coaches will certainly assist with “hard” skills such as learning how to sign or how to manage hearing aids, Davana expects that at least half of the job will be focused on learning how to support the social and emotional experiences of a person who is D/HH.
Davana and CEID Executive Director Cindy Dickeson are reaching out to CEID alumni, staff, and other community members with experience working with children and supporting families, to serve as a role model as the first cohort of Deaf Coaches. These roles are paid positions and all Deaf Coaches will be screened by CEID staff and attend monthly workshops and trainings on best practices for supporting families.
Creating a new program is a daunting task and Davana admits that it has been nerve-wracking at points. But she’s confident that her efforts will be well worth it.
“It has been a little overwhelming, but also exciting, because I believe strongly that everyone needs a Deaf Coach and in getting these services out there,” said Davana. Through the Deaf Coaching Services Program, we hope to foster greater communication and connection for children and families in the Bay Area.
For more information, or if you are interested in joining the Deaf coaching program, please email Davana at Davana@ceid.org.