NC ELSSP-HI Newsletter

Fall 2016

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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.

Mission Statement - Office of Early Learning

Highways and Byways

Enjoying the beauty of North Carolina from Murphy to Manteo as we travel from family to family.

Quote of the Month

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Cute Corner

Fall Birthdays
Something to Think About
How to Make a Referral
Miles for Wellness
NC Walk4Hearing

Read, Read, Read....and read some more

Triple P Parenting

Charlotte HITCH-UP Discovery Place Kids Experience
Staff Development and Save the Dates
Opportunities and Resources for Families
The CARE Project Family Retreat
Student Spotlight
Where Are They Now?
Director's Spotlight

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Cute Corner

Fall Birthdays

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Something to Think About

Think about a family you know. Choose a specific child from that family and consider all of that particular child's interests. Now imagine a typical day for that child and think about all of the opportunities afforded the child to experience his or her interests. As you are thinking about interest engagement, make a mental list of all of the learning opportunities that happen naturally as a part of everyday activities that are based on a child's interest.
The Early Childhood Coaching Handbook, page 125
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How to Make a Referral

How do I refer a child with hearing loss?

It is simple. To make a referral, contact Mandy Hice, Social Worker II / Intake Coordinator. There is no form you need to fill out.

Mandy’s Office – 828-448-9353

Mandy’s E-Mail –

Mandy will need general contact information for the family (child’s name, date of birth, address, parents’ names, language spoken), Audiologist’s name, information on the type and degree of hearing loss, and any other health or developmental information on the child. If you have an audiological report and/or IFSP you can share, that is great, too.

A child must be enrolled in the Infant-Toddler Program (CDSA) to receive services through ELSSP-HI. If you need help with making a referral to the CDSA Mandy can give you the number to call.

ELSSP-HI serves children 0-2 years of age with any degree, type, or etiology of permanent hearing loss. Some things you might see on a report to alert you to make a referral are: unilateral, bilateral, mild, moderate, severe, profound, Auditory Neuropathy, microtia, atresia, and permanent conductive.

Once a teacher is assigned, Mandy will let you know who the teacher is. Most referrals are assigned within 24 hours and there is no waiting list.

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Miles for Wellness Challenge

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Once again the ELSSP-HI program has 2 teams entered in the Miles for Wellness Challenge. The challenge is a virtual, team-based walking initiative by and for state employees of North Carolina. The challenge runs from October 3, 2016 - November 27, 2016.


The Hearing League (has room for two more members)

Cindy Boyd (captain), Renee Barnes, Jenni Campagna, Alison McKown, Anna Ownbey, Wanda Pendergrass, Stacie Polk and Nancy Collado

HEAR We Come

Cindy Tedder (captain), Valerie Best, Preston Collins, Jen Dunn, Ruth Anne Everett, Sara Gibson, Neena Malosky, Emily Orman, Emily Reeves and Mary Lou Wright

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"Joining families in their daily routines and activities allows teachers the opportunity to empower families to incorporate speech, language, and listening goals, techniques, and strategies by coaching and guiding them in the moment rather than waiting until the last 15 minutes of a session to discuss carry over skills". ~Preston Collins
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NC Walk4Hearing

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The Walk4Hearing is a nationally coordinated effort to increase awareness about the causes and consequences of hearing loss and to raise funds to provide information and support for people with hearing loss. It is the largest walk of its kind taking place in multiple cities across the country. Every spring and fall thousands of walkers - children and their families, young adults, young at heart and everyone in between - form teams and walk in their communities to increase public awareness about hearing loss, help eradicate the stigma associated with it and raise funds for programs and services. The NC Walk4Hearing is part of a national movement.

Walk Chair:
Ronnie Adler

Sunday, October 16, 2016

WakeMed Soccer Park
940 E. Chatham Street
Cary, NC 27511

11am - Registration/Check-in
12pm - Walk begins
Distance: 5K (3.1 miles)

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Read, Read, Read.......and read some more.

Teachers in our program ask parents to read aloud to their children 5-10 times every single day.

Below are teachers Emily Orman, Chris Czajkowski and Emily Reeves reading to their own children because they know that reading to their children is one of the most important things they can do to prepare them with a foundation for academic excellence.

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”
Emilie Buchwald
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Triple P Parenting

Triple P:

Positive Parenting Program

We know talking with children throughout their daily routines teaches them to talk, listen, and interact with others, but did you know you’re also investing in developing positive relationships and learning environments? During typically challenging routines such as shopping, diaper changing, and getting ready to leave the house, taking time to tell children what to expect and what is expected of them helps children learn acceptable behavior. In addition, giving children appropriate choices gives them some control in decision making and typically causes less resistance and fewer meltdowns. Holding hands while walking in a parking lot/street is one example of talking a child through a common parenting challenge. For example, 1) explaining the situation, “We’re at the library now. There are lots of cars in the parking lot.”, 2) stating the expectation along with an explanation: “When you get out of the car I want you to hold my hand, so you’ll be safe.”, and 3) giving a choice: “Which hand can I hold?”, teaches vocabulary and language while avoiding behavior struggles. It is easy to get in a rush and make demands, but those demands often cause children to be resistant and parents to become frustrated and stressed. We’ve all ‘been there, done that’, right?! Talking with children is a win-win situation – children learn language, problem solving, and acceptable behavior! If you’d like to learn ways to talk and interact with your child to make parenting more positive, Triple P: Positive Parenting Program, a research based program, has resources to help. On the Triple P -NC website (, you’ll find tips and ideas on managing small and big challenges of family life. In the ‘Get Help’ drop down box you’ll find descriptions of the levels of help, along with a search for Triple P providers in your area. If your area does not have local resources, or you prefer, you can sign-up for Triple P Online

a course for any parent interested in getting help managing the challenges of parenting toddlers, preschoolers, and children up to 12. It’s free for NC residents, thanks to the NC Triple P State Learning Collaborative! Feel free to contact me via your teacher if you’d like more information.

Submitted by Mary Lou Wright

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Charlotte HITCH-UP Discovery Place Kids Experience

Charlotte HITCH-UP (Hearing Impaired Toddler and Children Have Unlimited Potential) a family support group for those who have children who have hearing loss met at Discovery Place Kids in Huntersville on September 25, 2016. Sixteen families, including more than 30 children, enjoyed the museum at this private event! Bernie Widman (Discovery Place Kids Program Coordinator), Jenni Campagna (key organizer), BEGINNINGS (key supporter), and MedEl (grant provider for food and resources) all contributed to making this event a huge success. The biggest contributors, however, were the families who attended. Thank you, for joining in the fun and making the first annual Discovery Place Kids event a fun memory! See you next year at DPK!

Submitted by Jenni Campagna

Staff Development and Save the Dates

NC ELSSP-HI Staff Meetings:

Natural Learning Environment Practices and Coaching in Working with Families of Children with Hearing Loss

Facilitated by: Cindy Boyd, Preston Collins, Kristen Steele, Chris Czajkowski, Jen Dunn, Ruth Anne Everett and Mandy Hice

All sessions are from 9:00-3:00

Tuesday, October 18th Greenville - ELSSP Office 404 St Andrews Drive, Greenville, NC 27834

Wednesday, October 19th Raleigh - Governor Morehead School for the Blind, 301 Ashe Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27606-Library Hall conference room

Monday, October 24th Greensboro - Hemphill Branch Library 2301 West Vandalia Road, Greensboro

Tuesday, October 25th Hickory - Catawba County Partnership for Children 738 4th Street SW Hickory 28602

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Fall 2016 Smart Ears Online Workshop Series


Learn the basic principles, concepts, and techniques to get you going right away!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

10 AM - 5 PM Eastern Time

Reg Fee: $79 per attendee


Get the current auditory skills profile of the child, to formulate goals and strategies!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

11 AM - 3:30 PM Eastern

Reg Fee: $89 per attendee


So the child’s got his hearing aids/Cochlear Implant and is ready to go! Now what?

Thursday, October 27, 2016

11 AM - 3:30 PM Eastern

Reg Fee: $89 per attendee


How to plan a session, translating your goals into fun, auditory activities; see them in action!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

11 AM - 3:30 PM Eastern

Reg Fee: $89 per attendee

Developing SPEECH through AUDITION

Using Listening and Speech Hierarchy, help your kids achieve intelligible spoken language

Thursday, November 3, 2016

11 AM - 3:30 PM Eastern

Reg Fee: $89 per attendee


How do you work with a child with cochlear implants? What’s different?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

11 AM - 3:30 PM Eastern

Reg Fee: $89 per attendee


Working with Infants and toddlers (0-3) with hearing loss and their parents; a hard-to-find workshop!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

10 AM - 5 PM Eastern

Reg Fee: $129 per attendee


Quality Interactions Between Professionals and Families to Enhance Child Learning Webinar

Sponsor: University of Illinois


  1. Explore strategies for helping families understand early communication attempts of children before language is developed or in the presence of a delay or disability
  2. Explore how adult-child interactions change to promote children’s learning
  3. Explore the role of the environment in the interaction between parent and child

Date and time: November 3, 2016, 11:00 a.m.

Contact hours: 1 hour 30 minutes

For more information and to register:

Making Strides in Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships Webinar

Sponsor: Office of Head Start

Summary: Explore how grantees are individualizing their approaches with diverse child care partners. Find out how they support infants, toddlers, and their families through EHS-CC Partnerships.

Date: Anytime

Contact hours: 1 hour

Fee: Free

Watch Now On-Demand!

The Impact of Trauma and Toxic Stress on Infant and Toddler Development Webinar

Sponsor: Office of Head Start

Summary: Early Head Start caregivers, teachers, and parents are central in the lives of infants and toddlers who have experienced toxic stress. In this webinar, panelists discuss the impact of trauma and toxic stress on brain and social-emotional growth. Strategies for adults to use in supporting very young children are also discussed.

Date: Anytime

Contact hours: 1 hour 30 minutes

Fee: Free

Partnering with Families Who Are Coping with Adversity Webinar

Sponsor: Office of Head Start

Summary: Many families are struggling with and experiencing increased levels of adversity. Understanding the challenges and locating resources within the community is key in order to lessen any negative impact.

Date: Anytime

Contact hours: 1 hour 30 minutes

Fee: Free

NC Department of Public Instruction's 66th Conference on Exceptional Children

November 8 – 10, 2016
Koury Convention Center, Sheraton Greensboro Hotel at Four Seasons

Self-Assessment: A Journey of Change is the theme of the 66th Conference on Exceptional Children, North Carolina’s largest gathering of educational professionals and parents of children with disabilities. The Exceptional Children Division is pleased to invite colleagues from across the state to join us for this annual synergistic event to share and learn about innovations and exciting practices to help exceptional children achieve. Please join us for numerous enriching activities: an uplifting Plenary Session with inspiring keynote presentation, more than 90 informative Instructional Sessions covering the broad spectrum of exceptional children education, the Teachers of Excellence reception honoring outstanding North Carolina special educators, a Poster Display of innovative programs and practices, the School-Based Enterprise Bazaar showcasing products being created and marketed by North Carolina Public School students with disabilities, and an Exhibitor/Vendor area that offers interactions with organizations and companies specializing in serving exceptional children. Come be an integral part of this annual gathering in Greensboro of more than 3,000 professionals and parents, all working together to improve educational outcomes for all students!

To register:

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Opportunities and Resources for Families

The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Parent & Infant Financial Aid Program

The deadline for the Parent & Infant Financial Aid Program is quickly approaching on October 14, 2016. Families of infants and toddlers ages birth through 3 years who have been diagnosed with a moderately-severe to profound hearing loss and are in pursuit of a spoken language outcome for their child are encouraged to apply. Awards are intended to assist with expenses such as hearing technology, auditory support services, speech-language therapy, tuition, etc. Awards are made once a year.

Spring Camp Cheerio ---

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. The weekend 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 where they participate in activities such as crafts, games, hiking, canoeing, archery, a hillside waterslide, and more. While the children are in their classes, parents attend educational sessions such as Cued Speech classes, advocacy training, technology updates, and issues on raising a child who is deaf or hard of hearing.

Camp Woodbine

Camp Woodbine is a free, one day event designed as a retreat for hearing impaired children and their families. The Camp was founded by John T. McElveen, Jr. MD in honor of his father, a decorated WWII P-51 fighter pilot, whose "call sign" was "Woodbine 80".

Camp Woodbine will provide socialization, language stimulation and communication opportunities in a safe, fun and convenient environment for children and their families. The families will have the opportunity to interact with each other, share experiences, and exchange information. The camp will also allow parents to network with other families that are facing similar issues as well as attend educational classes while their children enjoy the camp activities.

Other groups, including children with disabilities, pediatric cancer patients and children facing other life-threatening or debilitating ailments will also utilize the camp.

Camp Woodbine is about making new friends, sharing experiences, strengthening the family unit through better communication, making memories and not worrying about being different due to disabilities or illness.

The National Hearing Aid Project -

The National Hearing Aid Project is a unique model and one-of-a-kind collaboration created by Hearing Charities of America (HCOA). It addresses the increased demand for hearing aids by providing hearing aids to low-income individuals on a national scale.

The project brings organizations together so that each fulfills a specific role in providing hearing aids to the individuals that need them. HCOA has partnered with the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing: Sciences & Disorders at the University of Kansas to maintain and track all of the hearing aids in the program.

The CARE Project Family Retreat


Saturday, November 12, 2016

9:30 am – 2:00 pm

Hickory Grove Baptist Church

Latin American Campus

It will be an opportunity to meet other Spanish-speaking families and be able to share and learn about the experience of living with a hearing loss. This event is without cost.

Lunch and childcare will be provided.

Registration is required on-line or by

calling 704-615-6809 by November 9th.

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"Sometimes I get so caught up in "routines", "natural learning environments", "AVT" and
"Easy Trac" that I forget what I know to be true: I am a good teacher."


I recently took a family outside to have therapy. The family loved taking therapy outside the house! The mother, the child with hearing loss, her two siblings and I all went outside for a walk, and then they took a ride on their tricycles. During this outing, one of the strategies I taught was Parallel Talk. Parallel Talk is modeling language by narrating what the child is doing, thinking, & feeling. This strategy helps promote language development. The mother and I had a great time practicing this strategy throughout the session. The next week when I arrived at the home, the mother exclaimed, “I have been using parallel talk at the beach this weekend! My husband even asked me what in the world I was doing! I told him I was helping our daughter develop language!”

A winning moment for our students and their families!

~ Cindy Boyd

"When I was learning about routines based intervention it hit me that in our "old" way of doing therapy we would spend 45 minutes modeling goals, techniques and strategies such as "parallel talk" and "modeling language" with teacher planned activities and then we would spend the last 15 minutes talking to them about ways they could carry over the skills in their daily routines. With routines based intervention we join them in their routines and parents feel empowered to incorporate the skills taught - just like Cindy's parent did." ~ Preston Collins
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Student Spotlight - Colette

Colette’s Journey from Silence to Sound

Submitted by Colette's mother

Our daughter Colette was diagnosed with bilateral severe-to-profound hearing loss when she was three weeks old. As a parent, you are never prepared for that type of news. We grieved the loss of the life we had pictured for our daughter but decided early on that we would do everything in our power to provide her with the same opportunities as those of her hearing peers.

We did many hours of research and considered all modes of communication for her. We decided that cochlear implants were the best fit for our family. From the articles we had read and per the advice of our ENT and audiologist, research suggested that the earlier the implant was in place the better chance our daughter would have to develop normal speech and language. Our goal became to get her implanted and activated before the age of one.

Colette was fitted for her first pair of hearing aids when she was six weeks old. We struggled with getting a “good fit” for her due to how small her ears were and spent many days battling the feedback that was inevitable from the high-powered hearing aids. We tried many different retention devices and finally were successful using a specific brand of headband.

Colette never liked wearing her hearing aids. When we would try to put the ear molds in her ears, she would fuss and try to turn away. Our audiologist stressed the importance of keeping them in as much as possible despite her protests. We knew that no matter how little, any sound that could stimulate the auditory nerve would better prepare Colette for the day when her cochlear implants were activated. So we persevered and continued to use them until she was 10 months old. She was then able to undergo surgery for bilateral cochlear implants.

The three weeks prior to her cochlear implant activation were full of anticipation, nervousness, and excitement. We were ready to start teaching her to listen. We had been preparing Colette for this with the help of our early intervention teacher, Renee Barnes. With her hearing aids, Colette was only able to detect very low frequency sounds like the beating of a drum. We utilized her small amount of hearing as best we could and had taught her to turn and look over her shoulder when she recognized a sound.

The changes we saw in our daughter post-activation were almost immediate. It was clear that her implants had opened up a world of sound she had not yet experienced. We had high hopes for Colette, but her quick progress surpassed even our expectations.

Within a week of activation Colette was able to locate a variety of sounds. Not only was she able to detect the drum, but she was now able to hear the sound of a clapper and shaker as well, both objects with frequencies she had never noticed before. With her hearing aids, Colette was only able to detect sound within a three feet radius. After one week with her implants, she was able to detect sounds from at least twelve feet away.

Prior to her activation, Colette’s baby babble consisted of one monotone sound – “ah.” After listening with her implants for one week, we began to notice changes in her pitch. She no longer had only one sound. She started to squeal and vary the intensity of her babble. Our early intervention teacher, Renee, also noticed that she was beginning to use a diphthong that we had never heard before “ai”, as in the word “bye”.

It was apparent that Colette loved this new world of noise around her. When she would wake up in the morning, she would sit patiently and wait for me to attach the batteries and connect the coils to her implants. It was almost like she knew what was coming. When her coil would fall off, she would crawl to me and show me that something was wrong. She wanted me to put it back on her head. When her hearing aids would fall out, she would simply ignore them or put them in her mouth to suck on. With the implants, it was different. She wanted to hear.

By the following week we were noticing even more changes in her behavior. When we would read stories to her, she would sit patiently in our laps to listen whereas before it was hard to get her to focus for more than a few seconds on any type of book. If we connected her processors to our TV streamer and put on music, she would begin to bounce and smile. When our dog would bark, she would sign “dog” and point to her ear as if to say “I heard that!"

We can’t wait to introduce Colette to all of the sounds around her. It’s a joy to watch her discover the small things in life that most people take for granted. We know that she has a long road ahead of her and that it will take time for her to catch up to her hearing peers, but the fact that she will be able to do so is a miracle for which we will always be grateful.

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Where Are They Now?


Submitted by her mother, Jamie

If you met Lindy, you would never know the obstacles she faces every day of her life. She wakes up smiling and keeps us smiling all day long. She is a people person, a charmer and a natural comedian. You wouldn’t know just by looking at her that she has severe vision and hearing loss and has cerebral palsy in her ankles. Every day when she wakes up smiling, she also wakes up and puts on her glasses, hearing aids and ankle braces and tries to have as normal a day as possible.

Lindy was one in a set of triplets born at 25 weeks and 2 days. She was 1lb 9oz at birth and she was in the NICU for 4.5 months. Lindy had 8 surgeries during her time in the NICU – more than most adults! Five of her surgeries were on her eyes so we knew she would mostly likely grow up with severe vision loss. What we weren’t prepared for was the hearing loss. The morning she was discharged from the NICU she failed her newborn screening test. We were slightly worried but thought it must be a fluke. Further testing at our home hospital continued to show that the test was actually correct and she had severe hearing loss as well. A double blow to our hearts.

Soon after getting home from the NICU, Lindy started receiving hearing therapy with Chris Czajkowski. We credit Chris for so much of Lindy’s amazing progress in hearing and speech. We saw Ms. Chris weekly and we worked every day on those Learn to Listen sounds. We enjoyed every therapy session with Ms. Chris – especially when we started seeing our baby girl listening and repeating sounds to us.

Lindy transitioned into a hearing impaired preschool classroom at the age of three. She was just on the cusp of really talking and this classroom with other students and teachers was just what she needed. Her speech took off and it hasn’t slowed down since!

Despite her daily challenges, Lindy is in a mainstream classroom at Sherwood Forest Elementary School in Winston-Salem, NC. She has worked hard and done amazingly well. She has just started 3rd grade and is off to another great year. She got new, metallic pink hearing aids this summer. She also got her ears pierced and is so proud of the new bling on her ears.

We had no idea what the future held for Lindy when she was born. She has exceeded our wildest dreams. She is a miracle girl who doesn’t let her vision or hearing loss slow her down. She is a beautiful, smart girl who loves books and dogs (and especially books about dogs!). While we still don’t know exactly what the future will look like for Lindy, we do know that she’ll conquer it with a smile on her face.

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Lindy on her first day of 3rd grade.
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Director's Spotlight

The Director’s spotlight is on Stacie Polk. Stacie moved to Wilson in 2008. She has been a teacher in the ELSSP-HI for ten years and she has taught for over sixteen years. Stacie has taught middle school special education students, elementary, middle and high school deaf students at Gallaudet University, elementary oral students, and she has worked with infants and toddlers with and without hearing loss. Stacie serves children and families in the Raleigh, Greenville, and Rocky Mount CDSAs.

Stacie has two children Marcell (11) and Mariah (9) who keep her very busy! Marcel is bilaterally implanted, a soccer star, and a jokester. Mariah makes Stacie think she has a hearing loss and is also a soccer star, mini me, and all around well-adjusted young lady. Stacie describes them as “apples and oranges”.

When Stacie is not on the soccer field all over NC or chauffeuring Marcell and Mariah, she is at church or with family. Family is very important to Stacie and she has a very large, close family. On any given holiday they have at least 50-60 people gathering in one place. Every Labor Day they get together with at least 200 extended family members.

Newsletter Committee

Chris Czajkowski
Jen Dunn
Donna Snipes
Many thanks to our colleagues for submitting information and pictures for our newsletter!