At the Center for Early Intervention on Deafness (CEID) campus, teachers and specialists offer exemplary care every day to participants of all ages. But some of CEID’s services cannot be provided in a classroom or an audiology clinic. Thankfully, CEID employs Shawn Renee’ Robinson, a Home Visit Specialist & Teacher of the Deaf with a background in Human Development and extensive experience in early childhood development. With this expertise, she offers care and coaching families in their homes through CEID’s Home Visit Program.
Travelling throughout the greater Bay Area, Shawn Renee’ provides home based services to babies and toddlers who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing (D/HH) or Deaf with additional needs. Shawn Renee’ supports family members to develop communication through visual language, spoken language and promotes social-emotional development. She provides parents with training and information related to their child’s specific hearing loss. She works with parents and families on how to interact with their young children using strategies that encourage language development and social responses, specific to their individual auditory needs. Perhaps most importantly, she helps parents and other family members to identify what resources they need to best support their child—and then makes those connections.
Raising a child who is D/HH requires unique attention outside of a school or daycare. This can result in some parents, especially those who are unfamiliar with deafness, feeling overwhelmed when they receive the initial hearing loss diagnosis. Shawn Renee’ finds that teaching in the home can help with the adjustment.
“To receive the information that your baby is going to be a little different than you thought, it can be jarring. My being in their territory gives them a safety net,” says Shawn Renee’.
Daisy Lopez, a mother of a child who is hard of hearing, has worked with Shawn Renee’ weekly since her daughter was just four months old. Lopez remembers how overwhelmed she felt before starting the Home Visit Program.
As Daisy shared via text, “being that I was a new mom and my daughter already had a long list of diagnoses, I was overwhelmed. I didn’t know how I would be able to help my daughter. When Shawn Renee’ started therapies, she introduced tactile signing, and that changed everything. I was finally able to communicate with my daughter in a way that she can understand. Language is invaluable and I will always thank Shawn Renee’ for that.”
Shawn Renee’ takes the most pride in seeing a parent’s amazement at their child’s accomplishments. “When (parents) are floored by what their kids can do-- when their eyes light up and you see that they get it-- that is amazing,” says Shawn Renee’ proudly.
Shawn Renee’ has a special connection to CEID. She first became involved with the agency when her son, who is deaf, was a student in the 1990’s. She enjoyed her time as a CEID parent so much that she decided to join the organization as a staff member in 2016.
Although the majority of Shawn Renee’s full-time work is spent in families’ homes and not at the CEID Center, she feels incredibly supported by CEID’s team and fortunate to work for such an organization. Shawn Renee’ highlights the closeness and easygoingness within the agency in particular.
“The philosophy of CEID is that we are one big family. If I need something, I know I can call Jessica (Salaam), I can call Anna (Phillips), or I can call Cindy (Dickeson),” says Shawn Renee’. “Cindy is our Executive Director and those titles sound great in the real world, but none of us wear our titles like that because we are, in essence, a family.”
Through the Home Visit Program, Shawn Renee’ brings this family into many deserving homes.