Dear Hands & Voices Family,
Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends.
Over the holiday break, I gave Mikaylin, my four-year-old, a quick bath. Normally, the ‘ears’ come off during bath time, but since this was going to be a quick wash off, I had her keep her ‘ears’ on. For a moment, as I was singing with her, I started to feel sad. I started to go down that path of self-pity and frustration at not being able to sing or talk during bath time on a regular basis.
But then my inner voices kicked in and reminded me to be grateful. I realized that just like a bowl of freshly picked sweet berries with homemade ice cream can be a special treat on a warm summer day, so was this opportunity! So the quick wash off turned into more of a regular bath as I held on tightly to that moment, enjoying each song and each second with my precious daughter. Now, I will treasure that special “treat” tucked away in my heart.
Sometimes, these pieces of treasure come to us when we aren’t aware or paying attention. I do feel that if my girls were typically hearing, some of those little treasures would get lost or those special moments might be taken for granted.
Yesterday, on the way home from school, I asked the girls to have quiet time so they could take a “breather” before cheer practice. I turned on some classical music (our typical quiet time music of choice that allows them to wind down and just ‘be.’) After a moment, I noticed they were finger spelling to each other. Before I could open my mouth to interject, I started to giggle to myself! First of all, Mikaylin can’t even spell yet. Second, this was the kind of moment that made me grateful Mikaylin was also born deaf. We wanted Ashlin to have someone she could share her world with. My husband and I had visions of them hiding under the blankets talking to each other, as only (deaf) sisters can. Yesterday, there were no blankets, just finger spelling while following mom’s directions of being quiet! This was another moment to treasure and write in their journals about. Another moment I might not have recognized as special, had they not been deaf.
The Hands & Voices board has already had their first board meeting of the new year. We have some really fun events coming up and our annual family picnic (August 11th) is not to be missed! We are changing venues and adding some bigger fun!
This year, our primary efforts are focused on parent education. We are in the process (thanks to a generous grant from the Reser Family Foundation) of creating one-day, parent education workshops, and we will be hosting our second statewide conference in early October.
Thanks to everyone who contributed to the Groupon Grassroots this past fall. We are also in the process of scheduling our webinars!
What can you expect from all this parent education?
– education regarding IFSP/IEP process
– assistive technology information
– grief support
– educational transitions into elementary, middle school, high school, and college
– how to effectively advocate for your child(ren)
If there is something particular you would like to know more about please let us know! These are for you!
We hope you have a wonderful year!