Summer 2018

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

NC Department of Public Instruction

Office of Early Learning





Each child will be honored, respected, and empowered to achieve success in school and life.

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How to Make a Referral

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



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Read, Read, Read!

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Table of Contents

Cute Corner

Teaming Effort with Duke Audiology

Camp Cheerio

Community of Practice

Staff Development and Save the Dates

Resources and Opportunities for Families

Where Are They Now

Director's Spotlight

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Cute Corner

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Teaming Effort With Duke Audiology Continues

Submitted by Beth Whitfield

At the end of May several of our teachers and members from our Leadership Team met with the entire Audiology Team at Duke. This was our 4th meeting and our relationships are growing. It is so nice to be able to talk with people face-to-face when so often we are typing our communications!

We were very fortunate to be able to have Dr. Francis with us this time. As busy as he is sure to be, he stayed with us for the entire meeting. The Duke Team was able to share exciting new things they are putting in place there at Duke. They have added a new position to their team they are calling a “Patient Navigator.” The role of that person is to help parents work through the entire process from diagnosis to cochlear implantation and securing services. They are also developing a Patient Advisory Group. Christy Holmes, an audiologist who has been on the Duke Team for many years and already has some cochlear implant mapping experience, is going to be the pediatric cochlear implant audiologist. Kelly Gordan is the speech language pathologist on the team. Joni Alberg shared they plan to provide professional development and they are asking for topic ideas and needs.

ELSSP attendees were able to share a stack of the new program brochures and give them our new website address. The need for easier access to medical records was discussed and the Duke Team recommended that teachers encourage families to sign up for My Chart. The Duke Team had several questions about the referral process as they want to make sure children are receiving services from the ELSSP via the CDSAs.

With intentions to keep these relationships growing so that we can all help families, there are plans to set up another meeting in the early Fall.

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Spring Camp Cheerio

Supporting Families of Children with Hearing Loss

Located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, the weekend is held at Camp Cheerio, a family camp with board, lodging, and recreational activities for all ages. Camp Cheerio is designed for individuals and families interested in learning strategies for spoken language and sharing experiences as they relate to hearing impairment.

During this camp weekend, children are placed in age-appropriate classes while their parents attend educational sessions related to raising a child who is deaf or hard of hearing.

The third weekend in May is always Spring Camp Cheerio. Neena Malosky, Chris Czkajkowski, Meg Locklear, Jenni Campagna, Renee Barnes and Nancy Collado attended this year. Renee, Meg and Jenni volunteered with the Children’s Program. Nancy and her husband worked as interpreters for the Spanish attendees. Renee had a great time with the Infant group and her daughter worked with the Toddler Group. Meg worked with the Kindergartners and had 4 great young people helping her. Her group was very energetic! Jenni worked with the Young Adults/Professionals group. Jenni’s husband was there to represent Med-El and engineered the dance music for Saturday night.

Neena, Chris and Meg brought their children to attend the Children’s Program. It is always a great time for the kids and they have a ball with the crafts, canoes, games, playing in the gym, and enjoying time in the bounce house or game room.

There were some awesome activities for the families. On Friday night, there was an Ice Cream Social and Game Night. A homemade waterslide was in full swing on Saturday, even during a rainstorm! Everyone danced the evening away at the dance Saturday night! Jenni’s husband did a super job on the lyrics, music, lights and visuals for the songs.

The parents had a chance to either attend classes in Cued Speech or one of the many informative presentations. Neena and Chris presented about Improving Executive Functioning Skills in Children and Adolescents with Hearing Loss. This was their second year presenting to the parents. Way to go!


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Community of Practice

Natural Learning Environment and Coaching Practices Community of Practice

We have had another great year. In January we divided our large Community of Practice group into three smaller groups. Each group met via GoToMeeting in January, March, and April. We discussed Natural Learning Environments, Resource Based Practices, and Coaching Practices. The smaller group size allowed teachers more opportunities to share and discuss successes and challenges in a “judgement-free zone”. On May 23rd, we gathered as a large Community of Practice group at the Hemphill Branch Library in Greensboro. At this meeting, teachers were given opportunities to bring videos to share or scenarios to role play. Two of our Spanish Interpreters, Gil Medina and Maria Cobeo, came and shared information on using coaching practices when working with interpreters. We look forward to begin meeting again in the Fall. All teachers are welcome to join us. Look for more information to come out in August.

Preston Collins, Kristen Steele, Mary Lou Wright, & Cindy Boyd

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Staff Development and Save the Dates

Cochlear Implant Technology: What you need to know for the educational setting.


August 3, 2018

9:00 am to 4:00 pm



(registration will be required due to limited seating)

ELSSP Opening Convocation 2018

August 14-15
Holiday Inn Crabtree 4100 Glenwood Ave. Raleigh, NC


Time is drawing near! It will soon be time for the HI and VI teams to get together once again for our annual Opening Convocation.

Day 1 - August 14


Day 2 - August 15


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Resources and Opportunities for Families

3rd Annual Sunday Fun Day @ Discovery Place Kids for Children with Hearing Loss

Free for kids with hearing loss!

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Where Are They Now?


Submitted by Taylor, Addy's mother

Emily Reeves, Teacher

On November 11, 2010 Addison Raine was born at 6:45pm. Our world was complete; we had our baby girl first, and the only girl of the family. Addy was her meme 's little girl; 5 grandsons and 1 granddaughter. Our family was complete. Addy's journey in life has never been an easy one. Our first 8 months together were a roller coaster of emotions full of ultrasounds and stress testing. She was finally here and all the worries were washed away. We were over the moon! Then on November 12th Addy had her newborn hearing screening...she failed. But not to worry said the nurse. An increasing number of babies fail their first screen from too much fluid from birth. They will have you come back in 2 weeks to retest and everything will be fine. Don’t worry. Worry is my middle name but I worry I did not, not this time. I was over the moon and there was nothing that could bring me down now. Until 2 weeks later she failed again. Then that worry that hadn’t existed for 2 weeks was more than I could bare. After that Addison went through MRI’s, sedated ABR’s , CT scans and weekly testing until May 4th, 2011 we had a confirmed diagnosis of profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. Our world was crashing down around us and we didn’t know which way to turn. But very quickly we were surrounded by so many helpful, caring people that only wanted the best for our little girl. Addison was fitted with with her first hearing aids in August of 2011. In the meantime, we were introduced to early intervention and that is where we met our 2 favorite heaven-sent angels - Mrs. Emily Reeves and Mrs. Margaret Riggins. They supported and taught not only Addison, but me as well. I had never had any experience with hearing loss until this and Emily and Margaret never gave up on me or Addy. They pushed when we needed to be pushed and were a shoulder when we needed to cry. They were our family and I will never be able to repay them. Addison is now 7 years old and is a rising 2nd grader. She loves life to the fullest. Addison will always have to work harder than most kids her age but she isn’t scared of the challenge. She is the strongest, most stubborn, most determined girl I have ever known in my life and this will carry her well in life because there is no stopping her. She will succeed and she will be whomever she wants to be regardless of her struggles. Nobody can tell her any different.

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Director's Spotlight

Wanda Pendergrass

I’m Wanda Pendergrass and I love children! I have two of my own, Jurhandi and D’Najah, God’s gifts who have added much joy to my life! I have learned a lot from those two. They taught me about following a child’s lead, multiple intelligences and learning styles, knowledge that has been instrumental to my career in education.

I’ve been an avid reader from childhood. My elementary school teachers made it very clear that knowing how to read, write and do math were critical to our success in life. So I read everything I could, including the daily newspaper with my grandfather. Reading introduced me to places and concepts that encouraged me to aspire to think beyond my surroundings and see in my mind what I did not see in my life. As an early interventionist, it really saddens me to go into homes and find that reading is not a part of the family’s daily routine or that there are no books available to the child.

I enjoy traveling, shopping and great food! Family vacations mean so much to me! My son and I are the explorers while my husband, Francis, and daughter are the loungers. I have so many great vacation experiences but I think my favorite was France. The food and coffee were amazing! The shopping was fabulous!

I am a diehard San Francisco 49ers fan and my dream was to meet Jerry Rice and Joe Montana. While in Vegas several years ago, I was at one of the malls and Jerry Rice was signing autographs at a memorabilia store. I got a big hug and I touched that Super Bowl Ring! I know that Joe is on his way to connect with me too!

I’ve been with the ELSSP-HI since 2007. I have presented at the UNCC Annual Child and Family Development Conference, NC Exceptional Children Conferences and been a guest trainer for Childcare Resources, Inc. I have worked as a public school speech therapist, a psychoeducational therapist with the Charlotte TEACCH Center, and as a private educational consultant. My staff and I at ACHIEVERS Educational Consulting and Instruction served children who had Autism, ADD-HD and Learning Disabilities. My career in education has been a rewarding one for which I am very grateful. I plan to retire from early intervention this summer and I look forward to using my gifts in new ways.

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Newsletter Committee

Chris Czajkowski
Jen Dunn
Donna Snipes

Jenni Campangna

Meg Locklear

Emily Reeves

Beth Whitfield