the Deaf Education And Families project consists of faculty and staff associated with the Family Focus Resource Center at CSUN, as well as faculty in the Deaf Education Program in the Department of Special Education. We consult with faculty in the Deaf Studies Department and National Center on Deafness.
California State University, Northridge
Michael D. Eisner College of Education
18111 Nordhoff Street, Room ED 109
Northridge, CA 91330-8265
(818) 677-6854 V/VP
(818) 677-5574 Fax
Please contact Rachel Friedman Narr for more information.
In May 2007, the Deaf Education And Families Project began a unique partnership with the Family Focus Resource and Empowerment Center (FFREC) at CSUN. The FFREC provides resources, information, education, and empowerment activities for families with children who have disabilities in San Fernando, Santa Clarita, and Antelope Valleys. In expanding the services already provided by FFREC, the Deaf Education And Families Project trained FFREC staff to understand the unique needs of families with DHH children, and quickly established a family sign language class and play group for deaf children.
In September 2008, FFREC and the DEAF Project was awarded a Parent Links Grant through the California Department of Education for $215,000 for four years to mentor families whose children are identified as deaf or hard of hearing through the Newborn Hearing Screening process. 2011 marks the third year of this four year funded program.
In addition to Parent Links, a one-year grant was received through the Walmart State Giving Program in 2010. DEAF Project extends the services provided by Parent Links. Additional work hours were dedicated to a variety of activities including outreach and education of professionals who work with DHH children and their families (audiologists, speech-language pathologists, physicians, teachers, etc). In sum, Parent Links and DEAF Project have contacted and interacted with over 1000 families and professionals either on the phone, in person, at festivals, and events within the past 3 years.
An ability and wellness mindset toward- and with- DHH children and their families is unique. From our work during the past year, we see how our work has educated and empowered families and been appreciated by professionals. For example, one parent wrote this in response to one of our workshops: "I wanted to express our gratitude for the invitation to participate in such a valuable meeting. We left emotionally spent, but also satisfied with a better understanding of our children's world. Before this meeting, we were not putting all the pieces together, we were missing the big picture. We have found peace of mind knowing there are many others who have travelled this path."
Overwhelmingly, the majority of information parents receive from medical institutions when they learn that their child is deaf or hard of hearing suggests that these infants are disabled and treatment focuses upon the notion of disability and remediation. Parents are left to navigate the terrain of “what comes next” on their own, or naively accept the medical advice they receive as the only option available.
The DEAF Project fills this gap by working WITH the medical community and families by providing parent-to-parent support, education, and empowerment to build knowledge and create positive experiences for families and their DHH children. There remains a critical need for families to receive information and support at the time of the first hearing screening referral through the diagnostic, referral, and follow-up processes. The information disseminated to families must be specifically designed for the unique needs of infants and toddlers who are DHH. This information is most effective when provided by knowledgeable professionals and parent mentors who have a comprehensive understanding of all possibilities available to DHH children.
The DEAF Project provides families and professionals with an introduction to the vibrant possibilities attainable by deaf/hard-of-hearing children.