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May 2022 Deaf and Hard of Hearing Newsletter
As I write the introduction to this newsletter and reflect on my first 5 years at the Colorado Department of Education, I realize how truly blessed I have been and continue to be. These five years have not been smooth and easy; however, collectively we continued to build and grow. We have created this newsletter, a collaboration website, regional collaborations, strengthened our supports for interpreters, audiologists, teachers, and families, and opened the doors for communication and collaboration. We did this together even though we had unprecedented challenges at each corner of our journey. I know that many of you are extremely exhausted. I know that many of you have been tested beyond the limitations you never knew existed. I know that many of you have thought, “I can’t do one more thing.” I know that many of you have considered and maybe even submitted your application to Amazon or the local flower shop. Yet through it all, you showed up, you put your best face on, and you supported your students and your colleagues. I don’t know if we will ever get to pre-pandemic status, and I don’t know if we should. But I do know that our community in Colorado has a deep seeded passion to get it “right” for our students. It would be easy to look at our accomplishments, pat ourselves on the back, and enjoy a drink on the beach, and I hope for a short while you do just that. I also know that for most of us our journey is not over. We will prepare to provide better opportunities, better resources, and better systems of support for years to come. Enjoy your time off, spend quality time with those who mean the most, invest in yourself, and know how grateful I am to have you a part of this community. Then, don’t forget to come back and continue to help all of us flourish! This issue of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Quarterly News has a number of stories that remind us why we do what we do. I hope that you take some time pool/beachside and enjoy these stories and reflect on the accomplishments of your students, your teams, and don’t forget to reflect on your personal accomplishments. Focus on what you have been doing right, build a strength based plan to continue the positive impact. Have a great summer and I can’t wait to see you in August of 2022!
Bon Voyage: Let’s Celebrate Those who are Retiring
For some of you, it is time for a new chapter in your life, possibly one without IEPs! For you, I want to give special thanks! I appreciate your dedication and passion for the work that you have done. Thank you for all of the support you have given over the years. Some of you have held off on retirement for many years because of the concern that you have for your students, and I hope that those left to serve can pick up right where you left off. Enjoy this next stage in your journey, and know that you had an impact. You are a part of something wonderful. And…. if you get bored there is always room for consultants all across the state! We hope that you will stay connected, and that you feel our appreciation for the lessons you have taught us over the years.
Summer + Hearing Technology = A Hot Mess!
Summertime can be rough on hearing aids and cochlear implants. The heat brings all sorts of moisture such as sweating, swimming, and humidity. Even with increasingly water resistant devices and waterproofing contraptions, moisture still remains the enemy of hearing technology. Help your students by teaching them about this hazard prior to their summer activities. Here are a couple of tips to consider:
- Make sure students understand and have a drying option for their devices. Dehumidifiers and hearing aid dryers can pull moisture from hearing aids while stored overnight. Explore the options your student may already have. Many CI manufacturers include a dehumidifier in their kit. Small desiccant dehumidifier containers are relatively inexpensive and reusable. Consider sending one home with students who may not have one.
- Make sure students have a safe place to store their devices when they need to remove them for pool or other water activities. Decorate a small container with summer themes that students will remember to take to the pool with them and keep their devices safe and out of the sun while they swim or play in the water. Consider adding a small cloth for drying and wiping down devices when needed and show them how to do this properly. A small towel can perform double duty as it is important for kids to dry their ears prior to inserting their devices (to prevent swimmer’s ear).
National Association of Interpreters in Education
The National Association of Interpreters in Education is planning to do monthly training events throughout the summer for members. Make sure to check back to their website regularly to see what opportunities will be available.
Boys Town Educational Interpreter Screening
It has been brought to our attention that it is taking 6-7 months for individuals to receive the results from the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA). This would mean that a candidate that has not taken the EIPA by March of 2022, will not have their results in time to qualify for an authorization and will not be qualified to work as an Educational Interpreter within a CO school in August. If you are hoping to take the EIPA this summer or if your schools have interns currently working with them who have not already taken the EIPA, and have completed the rest of the Educational Interpreter requirements, please fill out this EIPA Screener Survey as soon as possible!
During the month of June, the CDE will travel to Ft. Collins, Metro Area, Colorado Springs, and Grand Junction to administer the Boys Town Educational Interpreter Screener. If you have any questions or need more information please contact Shauna Moden at Moden_S@cde.state.co.us.
The Week Interpreting Conference for Interpreters and Teachers of the Deaf
Training Dates & Location
June 13-17, 2022 in-person at Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind (CSDB).
Colorado Educational Interpreters and Educators of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Skill Building Training
30 Hours of Extensive Skill Development
- Improve Expressive and Receptive Skills
- Transliterating & Interpreting Skills
- ASL Grammar and Structure
- ASL Morphology and Non-Manual Behavior incorporation
- Classifiers and Directionality
- Discourse Analysis
- Facial Grammar
- Use of Space
DHH Language Expectations and Goldilocks and the Three Bears: What’s the Comparison?
By: Kerry (Moriarty) Young M.A., CCC-SLP LSLS Cert AVEd
Another school year is almost in the books! Congratulations!! You and your students have worked hard all year. It is important to provide families with ideas to do over the summer to continue to help enhance a child’s language development. There are many wonderful resources out there to share to talk about activities and the language associated with that activity. The biggest thing to discuss and share with families is to always expect their child to use a complete sentence when asking or answering questions. There should always be something we are wanting to expand, add on to, from what a child is saying or asking. The more language the child uses, the more success at reading and writing down the road.
Below are some resources for you to print and/or email to parents. When I share these with families, I often give a specific example of something they might do this summer and at what language level their child is. I think of language like Goldilocks and the Three Bears in regards to each of my student’s language levels. If we give or accept too easy/simple of language for the student then this is similar to Mama Bear’s belongings for Goldilocks. If we talk above our child’s language level and constantly throw new vocabulary at them with longer and more complex language, then this would be like Papa Bear’s belongings, too hard. If we know each student and MAKE SURE EACH PARENT knows and understands what language level to provide for their child, then it will be just right, similar to Baby Bear’s belongings. When we educate parents to provide language at his/her child’s language level, then everyone is more comfortable around, there are less frustrations and more success. The most important thing I talk about and discuss/educate parents on is a term I coined years ago, “for every input of language there must be an output.” We are not just inputting language, that is not the key to a child’s language and academic success. We need them to USE/EXPRESS language to ensure their mental picture and control over grammar is correct. This allows us to see what language level they are expressing and how to expand their language. The more a child uses language, not too simple and not too hard, but “just right” where they are, the more success they will have.
Resources to Share with Caregivers
“Five language activities for children with hearing loss of any age at any level”
Monthly Language Calendars
The Moog Center for Deaf Education, St. Louis, MO. Click on the following link and select “Current Language Calendar”.
Monthly Language Experience Activity
The Moog Center for Deaf Education, St. Louis, MO. There are five levels, based on the 5 levels of the TASL (Teacher Assessment of Spoken Language). It is recommended you share with parents the level their child is currently producing spontaneously and the next level to demonstrate what type of language can be targeted next. Click on the following link and select “Current Activity of the Month”.
Differences within the Deaf Community
As we continue to value the differences within our community, there is a small workgroup that will be diving into the diverse needs of our students as it relates to language and literacy development. It is important that we have the appropriate tools to identify needs and create appropriate programs. The goal of this workgroup is to provide workshops and resources that will strengthen D/HH teams’ knowledge and ability to provide appropriate support to D/HH students. Stay tuned as this workgroup continues their efforts this summer and into the 2022-2023 school year. If you have comments or suggestions please reach out to Shauna Moden at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Optimist Communication Contest
By: Joe Priester
If you know what 'CCDHH' means you are either clairvoyant or one of the best Optimist International members in town. It stands for Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and is an Optimist scholarship program that has been around for over 20 years and many members do not even know that it exists.
The program Optimist wide is held each year to assist students up to Seniors in High School (no age limit) to improve their 'speaking' ability and confidence in front of a live audience. Each year a new topic is provided that has the student (with limited assistance) put together a 4-to-5-minute presentation on that topic. Oh, and you need to know that the student has to have a current Audiogram/Cochlear Implant Programming Report showing an uncorrected hearing loss of 40 decibels or more. They must also be sponsored by a local Optimist Club.
Here in the Colorado/Wyoming Optimist District we actually hold two separate but equal contests, one for Oral (English) presenters and one for ASL (American Sign Language) presenters and each offers a scholarship of $2,500 that can be used at any institution of higher learning.
But, of course, the devil is in the details and the Application form has all of those. Each step of the way, there is going to be an Optimist Club member to assist the students and their parents in understanding the rules. If an interpreter is needed one will be provided by the Optimist Club or District as required.
This year we had a great year, in spite of the fact that most clubs and schools were just coming out of the Pandemic and had not fully regained the use of facilities and student participation. In the beginning of the Pandemic we actually developed a new method of participation, most of you will know it by the name of 'Zoom' and our District "Zoomist", Sara Kennedy did a yeo(wo)man's job of making sure that the contestants had the correct equipment and positioning to deliver their presentation clearly and concisely with the proper spacing and lighting for a GREAT result.
The Oral contest was won by Anneliese Mitchell of the Colorado Springs Homeschool Program Classical Conversations and sponsored by the Academy Optimist Club, while the ASL contest was won by Lily Blessing who attends the Rocky Mountain Deaf School and was sponsored by the Tamarac Optimist Club of Denver. Each WINNER will be presented with a scholarship of $2,500 that can be used in an institution of higher learning once they graduate from high school. In total there were nine students that qualified for the Finals representing six different schools including Home Schooled, Deaf Schools, Private Schools, and Mainstream Schools.
Oral Contest Winner
ASL Contest Winner
We also recognized two Finalists in each category who were presented with a personalized plaque: In the Oral contest Cameron Richter of St Mary's High School was sponsored by the Academy Club and Asha Federico of Lakewood High School was sponsored by the Gateway Optimist Club; In the ASL contest Alejo Martinez of the RM Deaf School was sponsored by the Tamarac Club and Luke Benham of the CO School for the Deaf and Blind in Colorado Springs was sponsored by the Academy Club.
Not to be forgotten are the judges, six of them in all, three for each contest: Jennifer Thomas, Shauna Moden and Valerie Weimer for the Oral presenters, and Colleen Erdman, Cathy Cortese and Megan Thomas for the ASL presenters.
"Thank you" one and all for a very difficult but rewarding experience. Now, let's all look forward to next year and another rewarding and exciting Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
Samir Mongar, 2022 Denver South High School Graduate
Many of you will remember Samir Mongar’s hopeful words of encouragement and optimism to us educators during the 2020-21 pandemic school year. “Thank you for everything you are doing for kids to make us feel better during remote learning…Keep up what you’re doing…you guys are doing fantastic…don’t let your hopes down…some day we will get through this pandemic and we will come out much stronger than we went into it.” He touched our hearts and kept us going! We are happy to share the news that Samir is headed to CSU in the fall. He is one of 2 recipients of the Sean “Ranch” Lough Memorial Scholarship. View Samir's personal story of accomplishment and perseverance in this video. Congratulations Samir, well deserved!
Help Us Highlight Students
If you have a student that is modeling leadership skills within their school or community, we want to hear about it. If you have a student who is exceeding in any area, we want to hear about it.
If you have a student you would like to “spotlight” in a future Quarterly News in DHH, please complete the Input for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Newsletter form.
Wings to Fly: The Four P’s of Independence
By: Barbie Galoob
Reflecting on my February article titled, “Moving Beyond Our Fears of the Pandemic: LET IT GO!!,” empathy is my inner feeling for you, the current parents of D/HH children. I think about your process of trying to predict your children's future plans with colleges, vocational/training schools, jobs and adult careers. This must be very challenging for you as we indeed experienced the same thing. I write to you the following paragraphs with encouragement as I reflect on my own kids’ present day lives and their careers once again using the four P's: Perseverance, Persistence, Patience, and Positivity.
I will start with Allie as she is my oldest. After Allie graduated from St. Louis University with two different degrees, she was unsure about her job or career because being a journalist was very competitive out in the world. Journalism and technology had been taken over. She loves writing! Allie did a variety of things to keep herself busy. Two of these things were coaching the track team at a middle school and teaching ASL (American Sign Language) class for high school girls. After several months, Allie received a better job in Seattle and moved there. She worked in business for about three years and wanted to get into sports, especially outdoors. She became involved in after school soccer clubs for girls, especially middle school aged girls. Allie also did one-on-one instruction with the girls on their soccer skills whenever they needed to improve their motivation. Currently, my daughter, Allie works for the Washington Youth Soccer Foundation as a program director and continued soccer coach for several girls clubs. At the time I write this article, Allie is in Brazil for three weeks co-managing the US Deaf Women's Soccer Team for Deaflympics. Needless to say, she enjoys every moment of her career coaching girls in soccer. Overall, I describe Allie as a woman of Perseverance due to her thriving personality. She not only perseveres without giving up on herself, she also perseveres and never gives up on other people. Perseverance has helped Allie get to where she is today.
Amy is next as she is the middle child. After completing her education at the University of Oklahoma, she worked in Deaf Education as a teacher assistant and in itinerant positions in the Aurora and Cherry Creek areas of Denver. Because she and her husband wanted to be part of something new and have some transition in their lives, they moved to Austin, Texas. Amy, again, worked as a teacher assistant for preschoolers at the Texas School for the Deaf (TSD). While in this position, she attended a university in Austin for a Master's degree in Counseling for the Deaf. The preschool program supervisor at TSD became very interested in Amy in becoming an early intervention home visit teacher. Amy was so excited for this opportunity, she immediately transitioned into this position and put a hold on working toward her Master’s Degree at the university. It was like a drop on her lap for this big position. Amy currently guides many families who have DHH children through home visits and shares with them about her own life experiences with her deafness, schooling and using cochlear implants. The best description of Amy's character is Persistence because her experiences led her into the right path for her college major as well as career in Special Education. Persistence has helped Amy get to where she is today.
Austin is the youngest in the family. Austin is a graduate of New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study where he focused his learning in media, public policy, and social impact. After he graduated from NYU, Austin began an internship in New York City. He worked in this internship for about one year before his internship became his permanent job. Austin is a People & Talent Manager and he works alongside the Talent, Diversity, & Inclusion team at DonorsChoose. He does the hiring, recruitment, team management and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for the non-profit organization. Austin has been working for this organization since 2016 and loves every moment of it. Patience is the right word to describe Austin because he patiently stayed with the same job through his internship which resulted in an excellent full time position for his permanent job. Down the road, Austin may return to school to achieve a Master's degree in non-profit organization. He just doesn't know when and where yet. Patience has helped Austin get to where he is today.
Positive may be the right description for us, the parents, because we have always hoped for the best for all three of our kids. We don't know exactly what or how they are doing with each of their careers, but we trust them because of how we raised them. They were each given a variety of support along with skills in self-advocacy and independence. We, as parents know that when our children are struggling, if they sink, we will rescue them. Whenever they are in a crisis, or in trouble, they can call us and our discussion with wisdom and advice will help guide them to decide for themselves what is best for their lives. As parents, we no longer need to repair their problems because our children are now on their own and we pray they remember the strong encouragement, guidance, support, hope and love we will forever have for them.
For you, the parents, our advice is to look at the 4 P’s and think about these words as they relate to your children. May our story help guide you on a path as you lead your children to achieve their goals and ambitions. Our children often surprised us with their aspirations and ways of getting what they wanted for their lives without our (parents) guidance. We loved and enjoyed the delightful surprises! It will be the same way for your children. They will surprise you with a desire or through the way they advocate for themselves and those surprises come as a true blessing. The best encouragement I can give is to allow your children to decide what they want because it helps them create their own identities, characteristics and futures. If you, as the parent, make the decision for the child, it may not work for them. If they don't like the result, they may become rebellious and refuse to go along and the journey will be harder for them. Positivity is to enjoy your children every moment, celebrate their achievements and like a mother robin, release the babies to fly to their own destiny.
Representation Matters: What’s New in the Media?
This year’s Commencement at Gallaudet University is memorable. Not only is it the first “in-person” Commencement since 2019, it also features outstanding representation. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple serves as the Commencement speaker and Lauren Ridloff (Eternals and The Walking Dead) receives an honorary degree and presents a speech.
Lauren Ridloff, Deaf actress, is a graduate of Model Secondary School for the Deaf. She is currently known for her roles as Makkari in the movie, Eternals,as well as Connie in the TV show, The Walking Dead. Lauren receives an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in recognition for her significant contributions to elevating public awareness of Deaf Culture and languages.
In the Commencement announcement, President Cordano highlights his commitment to diversity, inclusion, representation, and accessibility. He also discusses the partnership between Gallaudet and Apple to advance the value of signed languages and greater equity and inclusion for the Deaf community.
“A Colorado camp connecting deaf students to the outdoors is reemerging from the brink of collapse”
Aspen Camp of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is having its aging structures spruced up by students from the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind, the New Mexico School for the Deaf and the Utah School for the Deaf. Throughout the week, students worked on a variety of renovations on Aspen Camp’s aging buildings. The project also provided an opportunity for learning construction, carpentry skills, how to use tools, read measurements and more. Students learned from professional craftsmen in a true to life work experience in an outdoor classroom. Deaf contractors and hearing/signing contractors communicated with students about their jobs throughout the week. Interpreters on-site facilitated communication when needed. Karen Immerso, an Aspen Camp Board Member, noted she ”imagines building on the pilot program, possibly extending it to a semester-long program in which a handful of young people could live at the camp while working in Aspen for four days a week in exchange for room and board and helping maintain the camp grounds.” The non-profit “also relied on help from local businesses who donated materials and time along with volunteers to repair the main lodge.” While some students polished skills they have previously developed, others learned new skills and all had the opportunity to learn, to work and communicate in the beautiful outdoors of Snowmass, Colorado.
Contribute to the Community
Educational Interpreter, Jeffco Public Schools
Hello! First and foremost, let me thank all of you for your kind words of encouragement, your positive thoughts and prayers, and of course the invaluable Doordash gift cards! I wanted to provide you all with a quick update on how I'm doing since I last saw or spoke with some of you. Since my lung surgery in August, where it was determined that my cancer had spread to my lungs, I have been put on a new oral chemo that I take at home. This is in addition to the infusion I get every 3 weeks, and the injections I get once a week. In December my scan showed a suspicious growth on my left lung, near where they had removed the tumor in August, and out of an abundance of caution, I was to have radiation. However, the pre-radiation scans in January showed the mass had shrunk considerably. This was attributed to my new chemo. On my most recent scan in March, it had shrunk even further, becoming almost undetectable.
While I am elated that my chemo is doing what it is supposed to do, it does come with some unfortunate side effects. I have never been so tired in all my life, and I have 3 children, so that's saying something. I can't get through most days without a nap. It also has wreaked havoc on my hands. My neuropathy has worsened and my fingers are cracked and peeling. It lowers my white blood cell count significantly, so we have to be extra careful so I don't catch anything, especially COVID. It has also made me anemic.
I miss all of you so much, and I remain hopeful that my body will adjust to this medication, and the side effects will become bearable enough to return to work in the Fall. I can't thank you all enough for your patience and support as I've been fighting this awful disease.
Ann Gavin is a Jeffco Schools para and a parent of 2 teen daughters with hearing loss. She is a long-time supporter of Hands & Voices. Ann has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. Her older daughter just graduated high school, so Ann is navigating this devastating diagnosis while preparing to send her off to CSU in the fall. Ann would appreciate our thoughts and prayers.
In Loving Memory
Wendy Renee Huber - Prouse
July 21, 1966 - February 28, 2022
It is with both great sadness and a feeling of privilege that I write to share the recent passing of Wendy (Huber) Prouse. I was fortunate to work with Wendy for many years but also to be able to consider her one of my closest friends. Wendy, the daughter of Jerald and Patricia (Miller) Huber was born on July 21, 1966, in Colorado. She graduated from Faribault High School, then attended Mankato State receiving a degree in Speech Pathology & Audiology. Later she received her master’s degree in Deaf Education from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR. Having worked in the Four Corners region for many years, in many different roles she was most recently employed by New Mexico School for the Deaf in Early Childhood Intervention as the Northwest Regional Supervisor.
Wendy was all about connections and family – this was evident in the way she treated everyone she met. She was always kind, showing interest in you and wanting to know more. One way of building a family were her annual BBQ’s – an event looked forward to by everyone. If you were fortunate enough to attend one you know what I mean. These events brought together families, friends and colleagues from across both New Mexico and South West Colorado. It was a time of fun and food but most importantly it was a time of connecting. The remote nature of the work and even living situations meant that this was an opportunity to meet others, share experiences and have a glimpse into the future and for families this is critical. The children who came each year may not have seen each other at all during the year but came together in friendship – they would pick up from where they left off – playing and talking about all manner of things. Parents were the same – rekindling friendships each year and sharing their journey. Many long standing friendships are a result of these bbq’s and other get togethers – some are still friends many years down the track with grown up children. This was the family that Wendy built.
Wendy was also courageous. She loved adventures and experiencing everything life had to offer. She would always be willing to do something new, try something different, go places where others wouldn’t just to see what was beyond the next corner. She experienced life – she went out and did it. From riding all the way to Alaska on her bike, something that still blows my mind, to changing jobs, rising to challenges, pushing herself to learn new things and moving on with experiences regardless of the little fears which go along with any change is something that I always admired.
Another passion of hers were dogs and I can’t talk about Wendy and not talk about dogs. Dogs were part of her family – she surrounded herself with dogs who had no one else in their corner. Wherever she would go she would be watching out for those little beings – feeding them from her food stash that she always carried, making sure they were safe if possible or bringing them home if they needed a place. She rescued over 90 dogs whilst working in this area and over the years we shared daily messages about the dogs in our families, videos and conversations about the beautiful walk in the canyon with them, the deers they saw or watching the sunrise over the mountains accompanied by the sounds of the dogs enjoying their family - these were a blessing to my life and something l still miss.
Whilst I have cried, felt sad, felt angry, felt lost, felt joy as I remember her and our experiences together I believe that even in this grief she has taught me something….she has reminded me of the fragility of life…. Tomorrow is not promised and I think we often take life and people for granted – Life is precious…. It is precious because we don’t know… we can’t go back….we can’t sit and watch it again…..you don’t know when your last meal is, your last sunset walk in a canyon, the last trip down the road to Gallup, the last baby and family you will impact or when you get to hug your friend for the very last time and because of that you should do everything you love with passion……treasure the few years you have because that is all there is…. Don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today and always show and tell those around you that you love and value them. Make sure you go and grab coffee with your friend, go for the walk, return the phone call, enjoy the sunset, go on that holiday or just take the chance on something you have dreamt of – you have today.
Everyone leaves behind a footprint, a small piece of themselves. There are little gems of Wendy all over Southwestern Colorado and the world is forever changed by her. If you want to support the continuation of Wendy’s work in the NW of New Mexico donations may be made to NMSD Wendy Huber Prouse Memorial Fund at Santa Fe Community Foundation (SFCF).
Small But Mighty
Our community is small but mighty! We care deeply for the students that we serve and the professionals that we work with side by side. Over the past couple of years folks have asked if we can share stories of those struggling within our community and how we can support these individuals and their families through difficult times. This year we are adding a section to our newsletter called “With Loving Care” where we can share tragic news within our community AND ways that we can support those around us. Please know that CDE does not endorse the stories shared, the activities, or calls for support. This is simply a place where D/HH professionals can share information within our community in the spirit of caring.
If you have someone you would like to show loving care in our next issue. please fill out the Input for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Newsletter form.
There’s an APP for that!
Take a look at this FREE app that is grant funded by the US Department of Education. This app provides formative assessment data focusing on LANGUAGE development in both English AND ASL. There is not an age level associated with these apps , instead they measure skills up-to the 6th grade reading level. Remember this is not a curriculum ~ but it is something that can help with progress monitoring. For those of you who participated in our training about the different types of assessment ~ this was an area that we wanted to see improvement across the state. Visit the avenue PM website to explore the various resources available from avenue PM and request your own account.
Click on the calendar icon to check out events for students, families and professionals! Don’t forget to add this calendar to your own Google Calendar.
Do you want to get the word out about your event? Post an event on the Colorado Deaf/HH Events Calendar Here
Summer 2022 In-Person Camps Return
Fostering Identity through Summer Experiences
By Kim Parra
As an invited speaker for the CDE zoom collaboration “Developing Essential Skills and Fostering Identity through Summer Experiences” April 21, 2022, I shared my experiences attending summer camps and after-school extracurricular activities. These experiences contributed to my personal development, identity awareness, and self-determination as a deaf student growing up in mainstream educational settings. I encourage participation in DHH summer activities such as day camp, overnight camps, and extracurricular activities outside of school. This helps students expand their horizons learning many new skills, connecting with others, exploring identity, and practicing independence while having FUN! Many students can learn essential skills in the classroom, but they can learn much more outside of their “comfort zone” and daily school routines. I offered a few personal stories such as how I learned to fit in socially and communicate with DHH students whose background differed from mine. For example, one summer I went to a camp counselor for guidance related to being a mainstreamed student and how to handle difficult conversations with the diverse DHH students there. She shared tips and suggestions then talked me through it, but it was my job to go to the campers and come up with my own solutions. I can’t tell you how often I apply skills learned at camp as an adult at work.
When considering camp, it is typical for kids to feel nervous and unsure, not knowing what to expect. Teachers/educators can make the transition easier by encouraging them and explaining that parents aren’t going to be around forever to hold their hands. They need to get out there and gain life experiences that will contribute to their independence from an early age. In addition, DHH professionals can talk with families about how safety features of camps as well as the potential impact on student growth that will make the experience well worth it. Adults can also help by providing possible resources for funding. I was fortunate to have a Deaf adult role model who suggested organizations where I successfully applied for financial assistance such as deaf associations, Seroma Club, and Lions Club. The more experiences kids have at a young age, the more likely they will be ready to go out with confidence into the world around them. Such experiences are critical to developing communication skills with a variety of hearing and deaf people. For example, as a young teenager at a deaf youth program, I had the hands-on experience of ordering fast food with a budget and communicating with a hearing employee. From that point forward, I felt confident ordering food and being on my own during my teen years and it led to more confidence in all forms of communication by the time I graduated from high school.
From my perspective, students who went to camp showed greater self-advocacy skills and were more outgoing and assertive. Those who didn’t attend camps were the ones who typically sat back and were more introverted and passive. They preferred to stay in their comfort zone by hanging with the same school friends. Campers can learn advocacy skills that they will use in real-world environments, as we often must stand up for ourselves today. As a former deaf camper, I know I am not alone in saying that camp experiences positively impact the lives of DHH youth. Let’s give those students the same opportunities to grow, connect with others, explore identity, and practice independence while having FUN!
Summer Camp can be an invaluable and rich experience for Deaf/HH youth. As noted by the National Deaf Center, “Whether they are day camps focused on coding, virtual programs in the arts, or overnight outdoor adventures, research shows that summer programs can have a significant positive impact on the lives of deaf youth. Summer programs are important for:
- Strengthening social, academic, and employment skills.
- Reducing isolation.
- Connecting with deaf peers and role models.”
View stories from Summer Camp to hear adults reflecting on the richness of their camp experiences. Brought to you by The National Deaf Center (NDC).
Links to 2022 Summer Programming, Camps and Registration Forms
Summer events are beginning to appear on the Statewide DHH Events Calendar - keep checking in for events and registration forms! SUMMER CAMPS FILL FAST! Also, watch for the Deaf/HH Summer Events Board - COMING SOON!
- Forest FAMILY Camp
- Creekside FAMILY Camp
- Mountain Biking FAMILY Camp
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
*This newsletter lists Deaf/HH events and is not a representation of the Colorado Department of Education, nor an endorsement from CDE. This is not a comprehensive list and unless specified, CDE does not organize or endorse these events, products or websites.
Do you want to get the word out about an event? Post an event on the Colorado Deaf/HH Events Calendar or Bulletin Board Here
If you would like to submit your own posting, Visit the D/HH Job Posting Request Form
We want to provide you with a Newsletter that shares information from across the state. If you want to add to any of the sections of the Newsletter or you want us to add another section to the Newsletter, please provide us with information to share by filling out the Input for Deaf and Hard of Hearing form.
For more information about services for students who are hearing impaired, please contact:
Shauna Moden, Deaf Education Specialist
Email Shauna Moden
Having trouble with this webpage?
If you have problems with broken links or accessing the content on this page, please contact the Exceptional Student Services Unit at ESSU@cde.state.co.us. Please copy the URL link for this page into the email when referencing the problem you are experiencing.