Deaf Project

About Us


The Deaf Education And Families Projectconsists 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 partner with Deaf Studies and NCOD: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services on campus.”

  • Empowerment activities
  • Connections with local school districts and early start programs
  • Support groups for parents and families 
  • Exposure to deaf role models
  • Collaboration with community agencies and programs
  • Respect for the cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic needs of families and children.

How the DEAF Project is Different

The DEAF Project provides families and professionals with an introduction to the vibrant possibilities attainable by deaf/hard-of-hearing children. The project aims to help parents realize the positive lifetime journey of bonding with and raising a deaf or hard-of-hearing child, rather than struggling with how to “fix” a “disabled” child.

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 is different. We focus on the abilities and wellness of DHH children. The DEAF Project works together 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. 

Our work has educated and empowered families. In response to one of our workshops, a parent wrote: "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 traveled this path."


The CSUN Deaf Education And Families Project (DEAF Project) began in May 2007 within CSUN's Family Focus Resource and Empowerment Center (FFREC) for 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. 

A series of grants have helped the DEAF Project continue to expand. In September 2008, DEAF Project was awarded a Parent Links Grant through the California Department of Education for $65,000 per year to mentor families whose children are identified as DHH through the Newborn Hearing Screening process. 

DEAF Project received a Walmart State Giving Grant in 2010 to dedicate additional work hours 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 2014 and 2015, DEAF Project received $30,000 from the Sorensen Impact Foundation to develop and implement online classes for families in Southern California to start learning ASL. 

Volunteer Opportunities

If you a CURRENT CSUN student, we may have volunteer opportunities available working with the Family Focus Resource Center and the Deaf Education And Families Project.

Please contact Rachel Friedman Narr for more information.