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Minnesota Hands & Voices offers families a “Guide By Your Side”.
Trained “Guides” are parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing and are the local community resource for families in a specific region of the state. They are part of a committed team who strive to improve the lives of our children. But they can't possibly do this work alone. They complement the work of the many established, dedicated professionals and adults who are deaf and hard of hearing already in each community.
Why is parent-to-parent support so important? Parents just learning their child is deaf or hard of hearing may have many questions and often welcome the chance to meet someone who has walked in their shoes. Guides know this, and wish to share what they've learned with others. By being specifically trained to stay neutral around choices and empower parents to find the resources and tools they need, new parents become strong advocates in a strong community.
“Parents who frequently met with other parents of deaf and hard of hearing children reported less isolation, stronger emotional bonds with their child and greater acceptance for the child. Parents also emphasized the benefits of giving mutual practical help in coping with everyday challenges.”(Hintermair, 2000)
There are three key underlying premises making Guide By Your Side a success:
1) Parents have access to comprehensive information about the full range of opportunities available to their child
2) Parents have the right to choose the option(s) best for their child/family.
3) Parent Guides can provide valuable wisdom and insight to other parents just starting their journey.
Children’s needs change over time and as each transition occurs, continually tapping into the wisdom of parents can be powerful. Eventually, we hope our children take our place. This is a fundamental element of our philosophy: “We Guide only until our Children can Lead.”
Come explore our community and learn what we have to offer.