NCELSSP-HI Newsletter

Spring 2020

North Carolina Early Learning Sensory Support Program For Children With Hearing Impairments

NC Department of Public Instruction

Exceptional Children Division

Sensory Support and Assistive Technology Section

Each Child Will Be Honored, Respected, And Empowered To Achieve Success In School and Life

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Marcel celebrating his third birthday with his mom and nurse.

submitted by ELSSP-HI teacher, Heather Conway Jordan

RUTH ANNE EVERETT, Lead Program Administrator

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How to Make a Referral

Contact Mandy Hice, BS, ITFS
Social Worker II and Intake Coordinator


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Table of Contents

So Many Things We Can Do...Me and You!

2nd Annual CARE Project Parent Professional Collaborative

Where Are They Now?

For Families Using American Sign Language (ASL)

"Sabotage" Reading Time

The Hearing Panel & Expo

Positive Parenting

Staff Spotlight


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So Many Things We Can Do...Me and You!

ASL Nuggets

A facebook page dedicated to ASL videos with a strong emphasis on ASL acquisition and ASL literacy.

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Second Annual CARE Project Parent Professional Collaborative

by Michelle Moser, parent

I had the great opportunity to attend the 2nd Annual Care Project Parent and Professional Collaborative in Greensboro on Feb. 21-22. This was my second time attending the event, and my third Care Project event, including a fall family retreat last year. Each time I attend an event I come away informed with great information for my family and feel more connected with others who have similar situations at home. My 3-year-old daughter, Avery, has bi-lateral cochlear implants, so we are still fairly new to the hearing loss community. Sometimes we feel isolated in our community, without other families with children who have hearing loss nearby. The Care Project retreats allow me to connect with other moms and dads who understand the challenges and the triumphs we have with our children who have different needs.

One of the unique experiences with the Parent and Professional Collaborative is that parents, audiologists, speech language pathologists, teachers for the deaf and hard of hearing, plus others in the community, join together as one team in order to discuss pressing topics in which all have a vested interest. One of the topics discussed at this retreat included advocacy for your children in school and learning situations, making sure parents understand their rights and the rights of their children to receive the best care and education for their situation. It is so important to be armed with the knowledge and confidence to navigate the education and medical systems to make sure your child receives the best care possible.

Another powerful session included a discussion and presentation of research pertaining to caregiver's fatigue and self-care. It is always invaluable to be encouraged and reminded as a caregiver of someone with different needs, whether parent or professional, that it is normal to experience fatigue and even sometimes "burn-out" as a result of the extra demands one must meet to help another person reach his or her potentials and overcome obstacles. In this session, we were reminded about the importance of self-care in order to keep a healthy mindset while serving our children and those in our care.

We also had the opportunity as parents to attend a parent panel made up of parents of older children or young adults who have navigated the system before us. This opportunity allows parents of younger children to ask questions and learn from those who have already paved the way for our children. The Care Project retreats always seek to inform and connect people in the hearing loss community with the topics and leaders in the field who truly have your children's best interests at heart. I always leave with renewed energy and hope to better navigate my daughter's journey.

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The Mosers- Bruce (dad), Michelle (mom), Avery (rt), Annie (lft)

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Where Are They Now?

by Abby's mom, Joy, and her preschool teacher, Ms. Mason

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This is Abby. She lives with her mom, Jocelyn (Joy), dad, Jorge, and baby brother, Eli.

When Abby was born, the doctors rushed her out of the room to perform tests without explaining why. For the first 24hrs, the only information I was given was that something was wrong with her ear. I felt confused and then guilt. I thought her Microtia and Atresia could have been my fault somehow. During her first year, the biggest challenges became trying to keep her little baby hands from pulling off her BAHA, getting used to all the appointments, and having to learn how to approach questions from family, friends and curious people.

At 3 months old, Abby received a BAHA, and later a Ponto. At 18 months old, Abby was seeing a speech therapist twice a week, but we were still struggling with speech delays and were primarily communicating by signing basic words. After doing some research, I reached out to Beginnings in NC. With their guidance and support and that of our early intervention teacher, Sharon Moore, Abby’s speech took off. She closed all her developmental gaps and was even passing her peer level by the time she was 3 years old. Abby is now a pre-school student at Sunshine Cottage School for Deaf Children and loves learning. She is quite the chatter box. Abby is such a vibrant and outgoing girl who enjoys exploring the world. We are very proud to have the opportunity to explore the world with her.

From Abby’s Pre-School Teacher, Holly Mason, M. DEHS:

Abby has been enrolled at Sunshine Cottage School for Deaf Children in San Antonio, Texas for one month. In this short time, I already see marvelous growth. Abby is outgoing, eager to participate, and an avid learner. At Sunshine Cottage, Abby receives all services in one spot: a language rich classroom, speech therapy, audiology on site and weekly auditory communication therapy (ACT) sessions with her family. Together, we have established goals for Abby and practice implementing them using auditory verbal strategies. The best part of ACT, however, is seeing how much Joy cares for Abby. We can work hard at school, but unless parents are on board, we rarely see the growth we need. This is not the case for Abby. Joy is hard-working, organized, and intentional. It is clear, Abby’s family will do whatever they need to ensure that Abby is growing and developing. Between Abby being the spark of light that she is, the strong support her family has for her, and the services that we can provide here at Sunshine Cottage, I have no doubt that Abby will soar.

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For Families Using American Sign Language (ASL)

My Deaf Child

From the creator of Signing Time, Rachel Coleman's website helps give answers, access resources, and connect with a community that understands parents needs.
*click on the "Learn ASL" tab to apply for Rachel's "Sign It" ASL class for FREE!

Sign It ASL

Rachel Coleman's ASL online class. See link above to apply for free access for families who have deaf or hard of hearing children under 36 months.

ASL Stories Directory

Deaf Education Library- ASL Literature

Click on "add filters" then on video drop down click on "ages" and "early childhood." View common children's books signed in ASL.

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“Sabotage” Reading Time

By Roxanne Falls and Elizabeth Hopkins

As caregivers of children with hearing loss, we often use strategies to help spark language development. One particular strategy is to create situations that tempt children to communicate. These communication temptations are often set up by sabotage. This is when caregivers purposely change a known situation/routine to motivate the child to communicate in some way with them. This can be done by such actions such as “forgetting” needed parts, doing/saying something silly or placing favorites within sight but out of reach. There are many examples of such temptations at this link:

One important thing to remember after you have set up your temptation is to wait for a response before modeling words and phrases, if needed. Parents are often right there to help our children, so we have to learn to hold off and pretend not to “see” what is happening until the child gestures, uses her voice or signs, or uses both in some way.

How can we take advantage of this trick-like strategy during the reading time routine?

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Sit with the child and begin reading the book while holding it upside down or starting from the back of the book.

  2. Place a loved book inside a clear container that the child can not open and hand it to the child and say “Let’s read!” (a zip lock bag or plastic container with a lid)
  3. Label known objects or characters from the book with the wrong name and pause after doing so. “Look, there’s Elsa!” (while pointing to Olaf)

  4. Place drawings or stickers onto sticky notes and randomly place them ahead of time onto pages of a familiar book. Pretend not to notice.

  5. In a book that corresponds to a song (such as “Wheels on the Bus”), sing the wrong words to a familiar phrase. Ex. The horn on the bus goes wuff wuff wuff!

  6. Pretend to eat something from the illustrations that a person would not want to eat. How about a bug? Or a ball?

  7. In a book about animals, use the wrong animal sound as you point to the animal. “That duck says meow”

  8. Find a real object in your home that matches an object in the book but match it to the wrong picture. “Here is your bus. Look, here is a bus in the book (as you place it near a train)”.

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Positive Parenting

by Chris Czajkowski, Lead Teacher, ELSSP-HI

Parenting can be described with many wonderful adjectives, however one adjective that I think that many parents would agree unanimously on is: HARD. Parenting can be hard. Of course it is so much more than that, but it definitely comes with its challenges. Parenting is also often said to be the most important job in the world. Yet, there are no guidelines, text books, or exact rules. There are many different philosophies, action plans, and opinions. Overall, everyone is doing the best that they can with the knowledge and experience they have. Supporting and guiding a child into becoming an independent, caring, functional adult. So any positive guidance and support a parent can get their hands on will help make their job just a bit more manageable.

One of the most important points to remember is that we are raising CHILDREN. They are little humans who are just beginning to understand the world, their emotions, their thoughts, and the many experiences they will have in this world. They do not come equipped with previous knowledge, experience, or the ability to control their feelings. These are things we learn through our experience of life. However, most people often expect children to act as little adults. It is an unfair expectation. Not only is it unfair, it sets up the relationship between the parent and child to be one with power struggles, breakdowns, and possibly tantrums.

Taking steps to understand your child and learning new ways to communicate with them will allow you to offer support, understanding, and guidance in times when your child needs it most. The resources below provide guidance in positive parenting, and understanding developmentally appropriate expectations for your child.

Zero to Three: Positive Parenting Approaches

Filled with resources, guidance and articles around a variety of topics from co-parenting to managing your own emotions. Available in Spanish as well.

L.R. Knost—Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources

L.R. Knost is an author, speaker, and human rights activist; an independent child development researcher; founder and director of the child advocacy and family consulting group, Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources; and Editor-in-Chief of Holistic Parenting Magazine. Her Facebook page shares peaceful parenting tips, articles, and research with parents who want to learn how to connect with their little ones instead of just correcting them, because peace starts at home.

Positive Parenting: Toddlers and Beyond

Facebook page that offers information and guidance on impulse control, self-awareness, compassion, and how to model these things for your child. A place to discover resources, share information, gain and give support.

Positive Parenting: Toddlers to Tweens

Facebook page that offers information on exploring alternatives to punishment, finding ways to connect every day, and positive solutions to common parenting challenges. A place to discover resources, share information, gain and give support.

Triple P (Positive Parenting Program) NC

From the Triple P website:

Positive parenting is simply an approach to parenting that gives parents tools and strategies to raise their child in an environment that is safe, loving and predictable. Triple P’s positive parenting allows parents to decide what is important to them. It doesn’t tell parents how to raise their children, but gives them the confidence and skills to build good relationships with their child, set boundaries and rules, and follow up with consequences that aren’t harmful.

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The Hearing Panel & Expo

by Jenni Campagna, ELSSP-HI teacher

The Hearing Panel & Expo, sponsored by Charlotte HITCHUP & Lakeside Audiology on Saturday, March 7 was a huge success! 18+ exhibitors, 9 panelists and upwards of 80+ attendees from the Charlotte region! What a great service to the Deaf/Hard of Hearing community and particularly to parents of children with hearing loss!

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Staff Spotlight

Heather Conway Jordan, ELSSP-HI Teacher

I’m originally from Elizabeth City, NC. I have been with the program since 2004. I graduated from Barton College in 2000 with a degree in Education of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing and additional licensure in middle grades Social Studies. I began teaching in Nash-Rocky Mount schools first as a middle school social studies teacher and then transitioned to a position as an itinerant teacher of the Deaf. During my time in Nash County, I obtained a Masters in Special Education from East Carolina University and got married.

My husband, Chris, and I have three children: Elizabeth, Evan, and Easton. While staying super busy with work and raising the children, I obtained my National Board Certification in 2009. Unfortunately, my life drastically changed in 2016 when Chris passed away after a tough battle with Cancer. Shortly following his death, my father passed away from a heart attack. My life has not been easy; however, my faith and love for God is what I rely on daily! Recently I was remarried to a man who also lost his first spouse to cancer. My current husband, Kevin, has two sons: Dylan and Ethan. Together we are raising our family in Perquimans County and trying to enjoy each and every day together. Our five children play multiple sports and are involved in many activities, so they stay on the go! I enjoy my job with the Early Learning Sensory Support Program. I cover the Northeastern region of our state. My goal is to remain with the program until retirement! Working with children and their families ages birth to five is my passion and I am so thankful to have a job that I love!

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HITCH-UP Parent Support Groups

These parent lead support groups provide support to parents of children with hearing loss.

Charlotte HITCH-UP


(Guilford County/Greensboro Area)

Triangle Area HITCH-UP

(Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill Area)


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Newsletter Committee

Anna Ownbey

Mary Lou Wright


Michelle Moser, parent

Joy Ponce', parent

Holly Mason, M. DEHS

Roxanne Falls, teacher

Elizabeth Hopkins, teacher

Jenni Campagna, teacher

Chris Czajkowski, lead teacher

Heather Conway Jordan, teacher