Virtual Support for Families of Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH) During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Topic Area: Family & Youth Engagement, Health Equity, Telehealth,
When the COVID 19 pandemic hit in March, with a statewide shut down and virtual only services, Arizona Hands & Voices (AZHV) quickly transformed their operations to provide families with one-to-one and group support from teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH), Deaf mentors and DHH Guides by adapting their Guide By Your Side (GBYS) Program for a virtual setting. AZHV wanted to ensure that while we were no longer in person, we could still provide opportunities for families to continue to be supported, educated, and empowered in an an unbiased manner on their journey raising their DHH children. Guides supported families with the use of new technology as they engaged in telehealth and online learning with their children and provided critical peer support and guidance to parents. For many parents of DHH children, their child may be the first DHH person they have interacted with. Connecting parents with parent and DHH adult guides provides critical support to these families. This support through the "Virtual Support for Families of Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH) During the COVID-19 Pandemic" practice has been especially critical throughout the pandemic, as families were isolated and faced with new challenges in accessing care and support, and for families living in remote or rural communities.
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