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Guide By Your Side

Overview

Guide By Your Side is a parent to parent initiative in Virginia that supports families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Approximately 100 children are identified as deaf or hard of hearing each year through newborn screenings. Virginia's Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Program is identifying children with hearing loss at a median age of 3.8 months. However, only 70% of infants with permanent hearing loss are reported enrolled in early intervention services before six months. Through the Guide By Your Side program, a trained family guide will be matched with families of children diagnosed through the EHDI Program to provide emotional and informational support and to ensure families are aware of the supports and services offered by Virginia's early intervention system.

The Guide By Your Side program is committed to supporting families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing without a bias around communication modes or methodology. The program is supported with funding from the Virginia Department of Health.

Major Activities

  • Train and support a minimum of 20 experienced parents (statewide) of children who are deaf or hard of hearing to act as Family Guides
  • Match a minimum of 60 referred parents of newborns and young children with hearing loss with a trained Family Guide for emotional and unbiased informational support
  • Develop materials for distribution to audiologists, hospitals, pediatricians, public health departments, early intervention programs and directly to parents of children identified as deaf or hard of hearing through the Virginia EHDI Program database

Contacts

Dana Yarbrough, Project Director, (804)828-0352 or dvyarbrough@vcu.edu

Web Address: www.vcu.edu/partnership/gbys

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VCU

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Partnership for People with Disabilities
PO Box 843020, Richmond, Virginia 23284
(804) 828-3876

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