Guide By Your Side (GBYS) ™is a program from Hands & Voices (H&V) that provides emotional support and unbiased information from trained Parent Guides to other families and to the systems that serve them. GBYS is a trademarked program of H&V that is available through Arizona Hands & Voices, an authorized H&V chapter. The GBYS program is offered at no cost to families.
Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side™ is a replicable family support program that embodies the mission of Hands & Voices ™, which is to provide unbiased support to families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Guide By Your Side (GBYS) does this through specially trained parents of children with deafness or hearing loss who work as “Guides” directly with families who have just learned their child cannot hear, or who have older children and are in need of the unique support that comes from someone else who has walked this path him/herself and can share from direct experience and wisdom.
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FAQs about Guide By Your Side and Parent Guides
What is the first step to getting a Parent Guide?
Who are the Parent Guides?
What kind of specialized knowledge and skills will the GBYS Parent Guides have?
What does GBYS do?
What are the guiding principles of Guide By Your Side?
What does it mean “to be matched with a Parent Guide”?
How do I get a Parent Guide?
Who can refer families to GBYS?
How often will my Parent Guide meet with me?
What if I want to meet for more than six hours with my Parent Guide?
Where will I meet my Parent Guide?
What if my Parent Guide doesn’t contact me?
What if my Parent Guide is not a good match for me / I don’t get along with my Parent Guide?
I would like to meet other parents but I don’t want a Parent Guide at this time.
Q. What is the first step to getting a Parent Guide?
A. A family has to request a Parent Guide. The Program Coordinator will contact the family and gather more information in order to match the family with a Parent Guide. Families will meet with their Parent Guide face-to-face, over the phone, through email or even Skype; whatever best fits the need of the family. Each family will typically work with a Parent Guide over six engagements* of an hour each. During those meetings the Parent Guide will be able to address the needs of the family, answer questions and share personal experiences from raising a child who has hearing loss.
(*It is possible to have fewer meetings or more meetings. And families can re-enroll in GBYS at a later time.)
Q. Who are the Parent Guides?
A. They are parents with children who are deaf or hard of hearing: parents on the same path of raising children. They have children in elementary school, middle school, high school; children who use hearing aids, cochlear implants, nothing at all; children who talk, sign, cue; children with issues besides being deaf or hard of hearing. They have been trained to work with other families. Meet the Parent Guides.
Q. What kind of specialized knowledge and skills will the GBYS Parent Guides have?
A. Experiential knowledge of joys and challenges of raising a DHH child
Sensitivity to the range of emotional responses that families experience
Information about early intervention and educational program options
Specialized parenting skills that emphasize meeting the unique needs of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing
Unbiased information and presentation of modes or methods of communication
Local, state, national resources specific to DHH child
Knowledge of the state EHDI (Early hearing, detection, and intervention) system
Formalized GBYS training from and on-going affiliation with Hands & Voices
Q. What does GBYS do?
A. GBYS programs are grounded in the Hands & Voices value of providing unbiased support to families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing. GBYS is also adapted to the particular focus of the H&V chapter and state system in which they exist. State GBYS programs may consist of one or more of the following elements:
- Provide timely parent-to-parent support at the time of confirmation of hearing loss.
- Offer specific support and resource dissemination about deafness/hearing loss in addition to general Part C service coordination system and support.
- Reduce the risk of loss to follow up by timely connection of Parent Guides to families with babies who do not pass the newborn hearing screening.
- Influence and improve the systems designed to serve families and their children who are deaf or hard of hearing by providing a recognized role for GBYS Program Coordinator and/or Guides in early intervention programs and public education at the decision-making levels.
- Assure continuity to families by providing support throughout a child’s life, especially at times of transitions; GBYS is not limited to a specific age range.
- Support families through the early intervention years by combining an experienced parent’s insight with knowledge of early intervention and educational systems. GBYS programs can also support families with older children and teenagers.
- Provide not only Parent Guides, but trained Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH) Guides** to families with newly identified babies, young children, or to seasoned parents with teenagers who are deaf or hard of hearing. Exposure to DHH adults can provide families and DHH children/youths with invaluable perspectives that come from personal experience. Emphasis on matching adults with families and kids of like-communication modality is commonly practiced, but not necessarily required. APPLY TO BECOME A DHH GUIDE.
Q. What are the guiding principles of Guide By Your Side?
1. Parent Leadership is required; Deaf/hard of hearing specific focus is maintained.
2. Collaboration is essential.
3. All GBYS programs will abide by the values of the Hands & Voices organization.
4. Cultural representation and sensitivity is included as core program values.
5. Un-compromised commitment to supporting families according to their unique needs, priorities and values.
6. Cohesion and Commonality benefit GBYS programs nationwide.
7. GBYS Program Coordinator, Parent Guides and/or DHH Guides are paid.
8. GBYS Guides are provided on-going training plus support for their participation in Hands & Voices activities as designated and appropriate.
Q. What does it mean “to be matched with a Parent Guide”?
A. Guide By Your Side Program Coordinator will designate a Parent Guide to meet with you. She will contact you and set up a time and place to meet you.
Q. How do I get a Parent Guide?
• 1. Request a Parent Guide
• 2. Tell the person that provided you GBYS information that you want to be contacted. They will send your contact information to GBYS.
Q. Who can refer families to GBYS?
A. Teachers, audiologists, pediatricians, speech language pathologists, friends, otolaryngologists, newborn hearing screeners, hospital discharge coordinators, relatives, therapists, parent advisors, early interventionists, special education teachers, school psychologists, classroom aides, other parents, daycare providers and more. With the parent’s signed consent, mail or fax the referral form to GBYS.
Q. Where will I meet my Parent Guide?
A. It’s up to you. It can be a public place: park, coffee shop, library; or in your home. You will decide this with your Parent Guide. Perhaps you will meet only by phone.
Q. What if my Parent Guide doesn’t contact me?
A. Once your request for a Parent Guide has been received, your Parent Guide is required to contact you within two weeks. If you do not receive a call or a letter, please contact the Program Coordinator 1-(866)-685-1050 or GBYS@azhv.org
Q. What if my Parent Guide is not a good match for me / I don’t get along with my Parent Guide?
A. Contact the Program Coordinator 1 (866) 865-1050 or GBYS@azhv.org
Q. I would like to meet other parents but I don’t want a Parent Guide at this time.
A. You can receive email notices about upcoming events for families. Or you can receive notices by mail. Contact the Program Coordinator 1 (866) 865-1050 or GBYS@azhv.org