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February 2022 Deaf and Hard of Hearing Newsletter


Term: February 2022 | Issue 12 | Exceptional Student Services |


Did you know that February got its name from the Latin word februum which means purification?  Although our world is far from perfect, we think that it is a perfect month to share with all of you our appreciation and admiration for everything that you have done and continue to do.  Over the last ten years many of us have experienced the impact of the revolving door that has educators coming and going.  Unfortunately, through this pandemic it feels like many more are going than coming.  Although we do not pass judgment of those who have left the field of education for a variety of reasons, we want to celebrate those who have stayed.  They continue to weather the storm of uncertainty and constant change.  We know that it is not easy and we know that no matter how many good stories we tell, you are still tired.  We want you to remember that we are here for you and we are in this together.  Be proud of your accomplishments, be proud of what you have given your students, and be proud that you are still here.  You are a perfect member of our community, and we are proud to still have you with us on this journey we call Deaf Education.

Shuana Moden and the Colorado Deaf/HH Leadership Team

Welcoming New Staff at CSDB

CSDB Welcomes New Director of Outreach Programs

On January 3, 2022, Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind (CSDB) welcomed a new Director of Outreach Programs, Cheryl Austin.  Cheryl comes to CSDB from Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) in Austin, with experience as an administrator in the Residential department and a teacher (TVI) in both the Residential and Short-Term Programs departments.  Prior to her time at TSBVI, Cheryl worked as a TVI in a public elementary school in Dover, Massachusetts, and held several roles at Perkins School for the Blind.  Special education is a second career for Cheryl, after nearly 15 years in the field of food and nutrition, with positions in hospital food service management, community food assistance programs, and clinical and public health research.  Cheryl holds three Master’s degrees in Public Health, Medical Nutrition Sciences, and Special Education-Visual Impairment, and maintains her credentials as a Registered Dietitian.  She now lives on the Westside of Colorado Springs with her husband and 6-year-old Lhasa Apso, Lola, and is ready to experience all that the CSDB community and the state of Colorado have to offer.  Go Bulldogs!

Learn more about Cheryl Austin

Black History Month

In Honor of Black History Month: The Kenny Walker Story

Watch Kenny Walker's Video Story

About Kenny Walker

Kenny Walker is a well-known celebrity as the Deaf Denver Bronco, yet few people know his story of perseverance as an inner-city Deaf child born in the turbulent 60’s when civil rights and racism reached a tipping point and the prospect of deaf African American athlete playing for the NFL was considered an impossible feat. In the summer of 2021 Kenny told his story for our CDE summer class on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI).  With Kenny’s permission, we provide a synopsis of his 25-minute video along with pictures, timing, and video link.

In 1967 Kenny was born in a segregated town in Texas. He was the youngest son of Julia and Freddie Walker, identified as “colored Americans” on his birth certificate. When asked how his parents discovered he was deaf, Kenny said (2:14) as a four-year-old, he was walking alone down the middle of the road and was startled when his father suddenly grabbed him. Kenny turned and saw the whole family in the car right behind him. Soon after this, the family moved to Denver and resided in Five Points, a rough area of the city.

He entered Denver Public Schools and was bused to a school where there was a deaf program but no other black students. He recounted significant difficulties throughout his elementary years. His language was criticized at home and school, and he felt caught between two cultures. At his 3rd grade IEP meeting, it was agreed that Kenny would be oral at home and at school he would sign. His older brother criticized his speech (4:05) and said, “You talk like a white boy!” At school he said his teachers criticized his language and by 4th grade he became rebellious. Kenny remembered (5:17) that his hearing loss was profound and it didn’t make sense to him that his education centered on speech, his weakest skill. He also recounted an instance of abuse due to his glass earmolds constantly squealing (6:43).

Upon entry to Junior High School, he met his first deaf teacher and the dynamic changed (9:35). When he entered South High School, there were more black students but problems with gangs and drugs in Five Points began to escalate. When three of the older brother’s friends were killed, Julia moved the family back to Crane, Texas to get away from the violence. 

The high school in Crane in the 80s was integrated although the Black and Mexican students sat in one area and the White students sat in a separate area. 

Kenny could have ridden a bus to a program 30 minutes away, but he wanted to remain in a school with his brothers. His brothers helped toughen him up when they played basketball. See Lessons from My Family, “Walkers don’t cry foul!” (18:17). Kenny played football through high school and when he was a senior, several colleges tried to recruit him. He chose Nebraska, a huge school, and was provided with his first ASL interpreter (22:00). His experience in Nebraska was very positive.

Last, Kenny shared a bit about his time with the Broncos and another culture conflict he encountered with one of his “old school” coaches who failed to understand the need for a deaf athlete to have his head up to see the action. He also touched on the importance of a deaf player not getting a reputation as “difficult”.

For this EDI tape, we were limited to 25 minutes and we focused on issues related to race, equity, and cultural conflict. Kenny has much more to share. Perhaps we will have a sequel that will focus on his experiences in Nebraska, the NFL, and life after professional football. Any takers? He would love to share more.  

Read Kenny Walker's Bio.

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Let’s talk about Bluetooth for a minute. Bluetooth technology is playing an ever increasing role in classrooms today with the myriad of hearing and educational devices students and teachers are using. Most of the tech that is critical to our daily functioning needs to connect to each other and Bluetooth is what makes it happen. Our mouse needs to connect to our laptop and our phone needs to connect to, well, everything! While Bluetooth can seem like a simple wireless technology, sort of like WiFi, it is more complicated. It would be impossible to try and explain the intricacies of Bluetooth in this short space but the links below point to further reading references that can help provide greater understanding of this wireless platform that is a standard in hearing devices today and will be for years to come.

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The Week Conference for Educational Interpreters and Teachers of the Deaf

Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind 

Save the Date for this upcoming skill building training

When:  June 13-17, 2022

Registration and Fee timeline:

  • Registration materials available March 2022 at the above link
  • Prior to May 13, 2022, early registration is $325.00
  • After May 13, registration is $350.00
  • May 31, 2022 - registration deadline - Reimbursements will not be offered after May 31, 2022, unless a minimum of 40 registrants has not been met. Request ADA accommodations at time of registration.


  • Buddy Bauer
  • Casey Analco
  • Laura Polhemus
  • Sabra Taylor
  • and more!


Workshops will be held at CSDB and begin at 9:00 am each day.  Workshop will include training and lunch. Participants will receive 30 hours of extensive Skill Development Travel expenses are the responsibility of the participant.  Lodging, for a minimal cost, is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reserve optional lodging on the registration form.


This Professional Studies program is offered for 3.0 CEUs at the Extensive Content Knowledge Level.


Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind

ASLIS is an Approved RID CMP Sponsor for continuing education activities. For more information contact Laura at

Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind

Boys Town Courses and Lessons

Boys Town - EIPA Courses & Strategic Lessons

Boys Town has created courses from workshops as well as condensed highly detailed information into courses and lessons to keep you learning! There are a variety of courses and lessons to choose from. Some are FREE while others have a fee of $20. The two FREE courses at this time are:

  • Spotlight on Classifiers: Math and Science -This course is designed to expand participants' knowledge of classifiers that can be incorporated into various classes. Classifiers are an important linguistic element of ASL and should be used when interpreting complex concepts. Individuals will receive a certificate of completion after successfully viewing and passing the quiz.
  • Spotlight on Classifiers: Social Studies and Art - This course is designed to expand participants' knowledge of classifiers that can be incorporated into various classes.  Classifiers are an important linguistic element of ASL and should be used when interpreting complex concepts. Individuals will receive a certificate of completion after successfully viewing and passing the quiz.

Colorado Registry of Interpreters

Calling all educational interpreters!! Are you interested in networking, resume-building, giving back to the profession, AND having fun while doing it?! Volunteer with the Colorado Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf for the CRID 2022 Conference happening November 4-6, 2022 at the Denver Marriott West in Golden, CO. Ready to sign up? Email the Educational Interpreter Chair, Karen Perry, at

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Here’s What I have Learned:  An SLP Serving Students with Hearing Loss

Written By:  Kerry (Moriarty) Young  M.A., CCC-SLP LSLS Cert AVEd
Speech Language Pathologist
Certified Auditory-Verbal Educator

If you are not an SLP, please share this newsletter with the SLP/s servicing your DHH students. The more we can incorporate the SLPs the better success our students will have!

There are so many places to start when it comes to school based SLP’s who have children with hearing loss on their caseloads.  My goal this year is to help you all feel more confident in your skill set with these students.  In this newsletter I want to cover some of the facts, which many of you know, but will be a good refresher for my articles to come.

Hearing Loss facts:

  • About 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable hearing loss in one or both ears. (1)
  • More than 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents. (2)
  • As of December 20019, approximately 736,900 cochlear implants have been implanted worldwide. In the United States, roughly 118,100 devices have been implanted in adults and 65,000 in children. (3)
  • Five out of six children experience ear infection (Otis Media) by the time they are three years old. (4)

Hearing loss is a low incidence disability and, as we know, there are other disabilities that have a higher incident ration. Although this is a low incidence population it often gets ‘overlooked’ or not at the top of a ‘to learn about’ disability to further assist students.  One of the key factors is that the assumption, “the child has hearing aids and/or cochlear implant(s) so they can ‘hear’ and will ‘catch up’.”  What many professionals don’t know and realize is that the amplification alone is not going to catch the child up. Yes, that student is wearing amplification and has better access to sound (if they are all programmed appropriately) but that is only the bottom rung on the ladder.  As a member of their educational team, we need to educate other providers that this is just the beginning, there are many other steps on the ladder for the child to reach the top.  It is our job to teach the brain what those sounds are and help it associate meaning to the sounds coming in.  With direct, repetitive and thought-out therapy and academic support, their brain will learn to make sense of the “Charlie Brown '' teacher it hears now with amplification and applying meaning.  It is all about brain development. Behavior: these students often are compliant  in class and do not have behavior issues, hence an assumption they are ‘learning or taking in’ what is being taught. The reality is those students are behaving as they are working hard just to understand such a small percentage of what is being taught.  Due to the fact they are compliant and have no behaviors is another reason why they get overlooked or not get as much attention as they need to be successful.  We need to educate other providers about a child’s potential.  Sadly, many individuals feel that a child with hearing loss has a lower IQ and therefore not the potential to learn language, either spoken or ASL. Language is language, we should be working with school teams to educate them on having a high bar for the student and pushing the child to the top of that ladder. 

Several studies conducted between 1990-1998 reported that, “approximately 25-33 percent of children with hearing loss have multiple potentially disabling conditions” (Holden-Pitt and Diaz, 1998; McCracken, 1994; Moeller, Coufal, and Hixson, 1990). About 6 years ago I heard Ryan McCreery of Boys Town National Research Hospital in Omaha, NE present at a conference.  (If you have not heard of him or read any of his research, I suggest looking at his research topics, he covers so many areas with this population).  During his presentation he stated that approximately 45-50% of children with hearing loss have comorbidities. You can see the percentage has increased since the 90’s but still at least 50% of these kids have normal cognition and ability to learn language and academics.  Holden-Pitt and Diaz (1998) reported that 9 percent of these children also exhibited learning disabilities.  Therefore, when looking at this data, we have set the same high expectations as we do with typical hearing children that are on our caseloads.  Not just us, the SLP, but the ToD, special education and general education teachers.  Do we all do this?  Do we all collaborate on what content we are presenting to the student?  I get it, our schedules are packed and as providers we all get caught up in the stress of our caseloads, students with behaviors, paperwork and so on.  These are not excuses we should be saying to not carve time to meet with other providers to get everyone on the same page and work together.  It is the duty of all providers who work with this child to work together and remember that even though we all have different titles as providers (ToD, SLP, special educator, general educators, etc) we need have a common ground and our goals/objectives can crossover, meaning, as an SLP I can work on the language of reading and the ToD can work on overall language and so on down the line. 

If you are an SLP who works with children with hearing loss, whether in a DHH program or only have one on your caseload, please know I am here to help support you all.  Please keep an eye out for my training series that will be offered for CDE credit.  Please complete the SLP survey to help me better assist you all with these students.  Some training topics that will be covered:  Impact a hearing loss has on language development; SLP and a child with hearing loss; collecting and analyzing language samples; using a language rating form; Standardized assessments; writing goals/objectives; therapy ideas and auditory skill development.

IMPORTANT: For the SLPs out there, please complete this survey at your earliest convenience: Colorado Speech and Language Services Survey  Your responses will be valuable in assisting us in developing further training to meet your needs.  Be sure to take a moment to watch the SLP Training Series Introductory Video to hear about the new training series coming your way!  

1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 
Identifying infants with hearing loss - United States, 1999-2007. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 59(8): 220-223.

Vohr B. Overview: infants and children with hearing loss—part I. Ment Retard Dev Disabil Res Rev. 2003;9:62–64.

2) Mitchell RE, Karchmer MA. Chasing the mythical ten percent: Parental hearing status of deaf and hard of hearing students in the United States. (PDF) Sign Language Studies. 2004;4(2):138-163.

3) Estimates based on manufacturers’ voluntary reports of registered devices to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, December 2019.

4) Teele DW, Klein JO, Rosner B. Epidemiology of otitis media during the first seven years of life in children in greater Boston: a prospective, cohort study. J Infect Dis. 1989 Jul;160(1):83-94.

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Linking Executive Functioning Skills to Success in Transition

This year we have focused our attention on a series about Executive Functioning, and how it relates to our transition age students. We have explored an overview of executive functioning skills, ways to identify needs, and briefly discussed strategies to help the development of EF skills in older students. During our next two sessions we will take a deeper dive into self-regulation and then motivation and self-advocacy.  

Intended Audience:  DHH School Professionals, Administrators, DHH Job Coaches, Families and Students (ages 14+) - please share this valuable training opportunity.  CDE Clock Hours are available for participation.

Thursday, February 24 (4:00-6:00pm) “Self-Regulation” In this session we will explore how to identify needs, and how to support individuals with their ability to understand and manage their behavior and reactions to feelings and things that happen around them.  The last two years has been a test for all of us in managing and controlling our reactions to constant change.  This session may help you learn new strategies to model for your students (and/or your child, significant others, friends, family, etc.). 

Register for "Self-Regulation"

Thursday, May 12 (4:00-6:00pm) “Linking Attention, Executive Functioning, Motivation and Self-Advocacy” Often we hear students are not motivated or that they are lazy, and more often than not students simply do not have the executive functioning skills to think long term, to start a complicated task, or to advocate for what they need.  This session will provide tools to help professionals and parents identify if the perceived laziness is really due to a lack of skill.  Then we will discuss strategies on how to develop the skills that could lead to higher levels of motivation.

Register for "Linking Attention, Executive Functioning Motivation and Self-Advocacy


Representation Matters:  What’s New in the Media?

Super Bowl LVI

Coin Toss

Super Bowl LVI provided an opportunity for inclusion and representation.  Before the game began 4 Deaf football players from the California School for the Deaf were on the field.  They were the official guests during the coin toss!  These young men had a record breaking season and had the opportunity that most high school players only dream of. 

National Anthem

Sandra Mae Frank, a graduate from the Kentucky School for the Deaf and an actress on New Amsterdam beautifully performed the national anthem!

View Sandra's Performance

Halftime Show

This year was the very first year that 2 Deaf performers were part of the halftime show at the Super Bowl! Warren (WaWa) Snipe (the man who performed the national anthem at last year’s game) and Sean Forbes had the opportunity to make history! Although there was a ton of hype and media attention given to this exciting event, there was not nearly enough communication on how to access the event. This left many disappointed as they watched the show with anticipation of watching history in the making, only to find the second half starting without seeing Wawa or Sean. Monday morning there were many different outlets that provided links to view the entire halftime show using a split screen so that everyone could enjoy this groundbreaking event. Below is a link to the show. Please be advised that there is adult content and adult language. Warren and Sean were tasked with performing for the legendary Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Mary J. Blige ~ not all of the content is “kid-friendly”. How did your students feel about the halftime show? We would love to hear from you!

View WaWa & Sean Forbes Performances

Madagascar:  A Little Wild

Madagascar: A Little Wild is a computer-animated comedy streaming television series produced by DreamWorks Animation Television. The series, which is a prequel to the 2005 film, features Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, and Melman the Giraffe residing in a rescue habitat at the Central Park Zoo as children.  If you and your student’s haven’t seen it yet, you will love Dave, a chimp who is Deaf and communicates through ASL as well as his hearing sister, Pickles, who also uses ASL.  Madagascar is taking new strides toward inclusiveness with a guest appearance from Deaf actress Shaylee Mansfield while also employing a trio of consultants, Del and Jevon Whetter, and interpreter Justin Maurer (CODA) to perform the ASL references for the series so that the sign language, body language and facial expressions are all animated as authentically as possible.

Watch:  History in the making! Shaylee Mansfield and #MadagascarALittleWild are breaking boundaries with ASL

Marvel Studios’ “Eternals”:  Student Movie Reviews

After Marvel released their newest movie “Eternals” featuring Lauren Ridloff's character, Makkari as the first Deaf superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) East High School and Hill Middle School students went on a combined field trip to see the movie.  The High school students practiced riding public transportation and requesting a bus transfer on their way to the theater. All students enjoyed popcorn and sodas and sitting with one another during the movie. “We chose to see The Eternals because of the Deaf superhero that we can all relate to. I liked that the movie included some backstory about The Eternals’ life on Earth over the past seven thousand years,” said Amer, a sophomore at East High School. The character, Makkari, played by Deaf actor Lauren Ridloff, uses sign language to communicate with the other Eternals.  “My favorite part was at the end of the movie when the hand appeared with a volcano in the middle,” shared Manny, a freshman student at East. Both Manny and Amer suggest, “You should go see The Eternals because the character, Makkari, is the first DHH Superhero that is in a movie.” “She runs very fast, too!” added Manny. 

Student reviews:

“You should see The Eternals because it is a really good movie and you can see how The Eternals are all connected with the Marvel Multiverse and how they stopped some plans, so all the current Avengers could continue their duties.” - Edgar, student at East High School

“My favorite part of the movie was towards the end when the Eternals came together to save the earth and all the beautiful things on it.” - Izzy, student at East High School

“You should see The Eternals because there is a Deaf character and her name is Lauren Ridloff and she played Makkari in the movie The Eternals. My favorite scene is where Makkrai is in the ship and she is in the library filled with books.” - Amer, student at East High School

"My favorite part of the movie was when the bad guy showed up from outer space and talked with other superheroes and then he disappeared.”- Manny, student at East High School

“I liked the movie because I am a big fan of Marvel and the Marvel storylines. I liked it because they added captions on the screen.”  - Santiago, student at Hill Middle School

“I liked the movie because it was fun and we got free drinks and snacks and we got to sit with our friends!” - Jonathan, student at Hill Middle School

“I liked it because there was a lot of action and there were captions and a hard of hearing actress who signed in the movie.” - Andrea, student at Hill Middle School

“I liked the movie because their names were fancy and they had different kinds of powers.” - Alexander, student at Hill Middle School

“I really liked the movie because it had captions and I understood what they were saying. Their costumes were fancy!” - Mireyah, student at Hill Middle School

See actor Lauren Ridloff introducing the Eternals team in sign language.

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Student Spotlight

Heart Hero

In connection with Heart Awareness Month, we wanted to share a kindness about Luci Gale, a PE teacher at Rocky Mountain Deaf School (RMDS).

In 2020, Luci was getting her classes geared up to learn about how and why it is important to take care of their hearts. Having a good relationship with the American Heart Association (AHA) and thinking about one of her students, our son Lincoln, Luci wanted to connect our family with the AHA to share our son’s story about having open heart surgery and becoming our school’s “Heart Hero”.

This was very touching because it was a frightening time for our family and it made us feel close and connected to our friends and staff at school. Luci helped tell our story, included AHA materials and taught her PE classes at RMDS about the heart. Luci got the whole staff involved by making a “get well” video. She taught us lifelong lessons in how to maintain a healthy heart.

Thank you, Luci!

Love, Team Bishop

Short Video - How Lincoln Rocked Heart Surgery

Lincoln Bishop sitting on his couch explaining his experience.

Lincoln's video will open in a new window.

Video Translation

HI!  My name is LINCOLN!!!

Do you know what happened to me?

I had a boo boo on my heart.

Want to see my book?

That's me!

This is Dr. Mitchell. He helped fix my heart. I feel better.

Marco, here, he has a red scar like me, see!?!

I am fine. I am brave. I feel better!!

Yay (thumbs up) 

Myles Krick - Cancer Survivor Receives National Scholarship

ABC Denver Channel 7 recently aired a story about Myles Krick, a recent Jeffco graduate who just won a national scholarship for cancer survivors.  This is an incredible story and a wonderful scholarship opportunity to keep in mind as you may serve a student with hearing loss due to ototoxic chemotherapy.

As written by The, “Cancer treatments are expensive, but so is college tuition - so the financial burden can be massive for families who have to find a way to pay for both.

Edgewater resident Myles Krick, a freshman at Metropolitan University of Denver, earned Northwestern Mutual’s Childhood Cancer Scholarship, which enabled him to be able to afford school.

Myles has always dreamed of becoming a pilot, but that mission was put on hold when he was diagnosed with cancer at six years old. He fell when he was ice skating, and imaging at the Emergency Room that night revealed a tumor on the back of his brain and spine.

Thankfully, he is now recovered, and can finally pursue his life goal of soaring through the air. For him, this scholarship played a big role in his being able to enroll for that degree.

"It's not as much money coming out of my own wallet," said Myles, from his dorm room. "It's just a relief knowing that I can do other stuff and not just worry about expenses for college."

This scholarship is available for survivors and siblings of survivors, and the deadline is February 2nd, 2022. Read more about the scholarship.  

To read the full article and view the video news clip: 

Help Us Highlight Students

If you have a student that is modeling leadership skills within their school or community, we want to hear about it.  If you have a student who is exceeding in any area, we want to hear about it.

If you have a student you would like to “spotlight” in a future Quarterly News in DHH, please complete the Input for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Newsletter form.


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Moving Beyond Our Fears of the Pandemic: LET IT GO!!

By:  Barbie Galoob

My husband Bruce and I have raised 3 children here in Colorado.  Each member of our family is Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing, parents and children, and each one unique in their own way. Our oldest daughter, Allison (we call her Allie), is independent by nature, a risk-taker and incredibly brave.  Our middle daughter, Amy, is sweet, loving, and quite witty.  Our youngest son, Austin, is musical, amusing and a people person.  Each family member has a college degree and all three children are now young adults with thriving careers.

Our hope for each of my children was for them to get the best education they could because out in the world, there is so much needed to prepare them for life.  I wanted to be sure they knew what was happening, not get behind or feel cast out.  When my husband and I were little, we missed out on communication with our parents, it was often superficial.  We did not have technology of today such as the wonderful amplification that children have now, closed captions so had to make a lot of assumptions on what was being said both on TV and in communication with others.

I feel empathy for parents raising Deaf/HH children through this pandemic because there is nothing we can do about it.  It is happening, this is life right now AND it will be okay!  Letting go of the worthless fears we have around Covid and other challenges in life makes one feel better and healthy.  One of the ways I have found to do this is with 4 P’s: Patience, Perseverance, Persistence and focusing on the Positive.


When Allie (our first child) was in the third grade, it was time for her to adjust to a different school. Bruce and I were worried about her adjustment because she was doing great at the old school and she might fail at the new school. The SLP encouraged changing the school setting and education for Allie, to get her out of her "comfort zone" at her old school and see how she would do in a new atmosphere for a three-week trial. If changing the school setting wasn't successful, Allie could always return to the old school. Yes, Allie had some struggles at the new school during those three weeks. We nervously watched her carefully. The SLP reminded us that Allie would eventually be okay despite our worries.  We, the parents, learned to be patient to go through this process of the school adjustment and also, timing would tell the changes.  Although we wanted Allie’s struggles to be fixed immediately, this was not an overnight solution. Allie did very well and yes, she still had struggles, but the struggles were supported by us, the parents, as well as grandparents, friends and her SLP.  As parents, we received support for her school adjustment from the SLP, grandparents, and two teachers who had experiences with other deaf children and friends.


Our middle daughter, Amy, had similar school experiences as Allie in adjusting to the school setting.  We, the parents, again, were worried for Amy going to a private high school with college preparation academics. Amy persisted in her desire to try the new high school. After the first semester of her freshman year, she surprisingly earned an honor roll award. We couldn't believe it and left her alone there. She continued there until the day of graduation. Her favorite motto for years was “I can!” rather than I can’t. Her perseverance was to keep going until her new step of chapter of life: college.  She was fine all the way. When going through the challenge of  Amy's adjustment, the support we received came from the SLP, grandparents, high school principal, tutor, an itinerant teacher, friends and Amy’s siblings.


Needless to say, our son, Austin, was totally different from our two daughters. We tried to not always focus on Austin’s strengths, but to also help him see areas he could make improvements and growth. This was difficult with Austin because he wouldn't reveal his weaknesses. It took a while to figure out how to find those weaknesses that could help him grow until one day he mentioned two of his teachers at school had really difficult accents: one was from India and the other from Mexico. Both teachers were hard to lip read and understand. I encouraged Austin to talk to them and let them know what bothered him about their accent. When we had the parent conference, these teachers shared their perspectives about Austin being a good student and had great reports. Austin spoke his concerns and told the teacher from India the truth that her accent made it difficult for him to understand. This teacher's eyes were wide open and she was incredibly surprised. With the teacher from Mexico, Austin told her why he had a hard time understanding her because she kept changing the subject often. She was shocked to hear it and said that Austin was not the only student struggling with it in her class. As parents we supported Austin because of our own background experiences with these things over the years. All through the years, we reminded Austin to be persistent to let people know his inner feelings: frustrations, concerns, comments or questions

Positive (Especially during this time)

Enjoy your life by going out to a park for refreshment of life, playing in the snow with family/friends, chatting with family/friends, have the kids set up a stage and create plays, songs or drama at home to strengthen their confidence and lessen the fright of these times. I once had six kids at my house. I told them to set up the hot wheels everywhere in the house. They did it and enjoyed hours and hours setting it up around the kitchen, living room, family room and bedrooms. They had a ball and still talk about it as one of their memories. Another idea is to set up a project for the kids to paint a bedroom. I did it with our kids in their bedrooms. They loved and enjoyed their personal colors for their bedrooms.

Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don’t. Believe everything happens for a reason and if you get a second chance, grab it with both hands. If it changes your life, let it. God never said life would be easy; He just promised He would stand with you during hard times and in the end it would be worth it.

Enjoy moments of life by letting the children do what they want to do and feel like they may be good at.  For example, let the kids try out cooking dinner for the family. One time, my son, out of the blue, got out some dinner recipes and cooked dinner for his parents. It was a big challenge, but it was a fun and wonderful learning experience for him to cook. That led him to be a great chef down the road.

Fear is worse than the virus itself.  Because of the COVID, I empathize with you, the parents, families, teachers and friends. Fear controls and affects minds, bodies, emotions and our physical being. The best advice is to just let the fear go and enjoy life. Like I said earlier, life is too short to worry or freak out, just go out and enjoy nature and do what you would like to do with the kids. For instance, going up the mountains for a hike, having a picnic at a park or in the mountains, going to the museums/zoo, baking goods for grandparents or seniors at assisted living. It is critical for our mental health for parents and children to build in time together with healthy emotions away from the media and negatives in current society.

In Conclusion, our goals for Allie, Amy and Austin was for them to achieve their own goals for their lives.  For them to have purpose and independently advocate in terms of communication to open to them the whole wide world and to be involved in any activities they desire. In that, both daughters’ interests were sports whereas Austin performed in musicals, dramas, Destination Imagination, school plays, cross-country and track.  As a parent, I often want to fix everything, use my ways and direct the plans for my children.  It can be hard, as a parent, to let go and trust that things are going to work out for the best.  An illustration from my faith is that God’s plans are always better than my plans.  The same is with facing challenges in raising Deaf/HH children during times of adversity.  Sometimes we need to move beyond our fears and “Let it Go!”

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Saying Goodbye to an Affiliative Leader and Welcoming Jami


Sara Kennedy has made a special announcement that she will be leaving her position as Executive Director of the CO Hands & Voices Chapter effective February 28th. Although she is not “leaving” us completely, she is stepping down from her current role and pursuing other adventures that her life will bring. We have all had the incredible HONOR of working with Sara throughout the years and have learned who she is and what she stands for. She leads by creating relationships and searching for understanding. Over the years Sara has shown us all she truly wants is nothing more than to see students AND families receive the services and support they need and deserve. Sara has always made it her mission to help center our thinking and keep the focus on the diverse students and the families that we serve. Her leadership will be greatly missed! The only “good”  in this story is that Sara will still be a part of the Hands & Voices “family” and she will still be here to keep us all focused! Read Sara’s full announcement.

Sara, we wish you the best in all things along life’s journey. Upload photos, stories and words of appreciation for Sara Kennedy, Director, CO Hands & Voices.

Welcoming Jami Fries

Written by:  Sara Kennedy

Starting our 26th year of service, we have only had two executive directors. A pioneering group of parents, one of whom also earned her professional stripes, began this nonprofit in 1996. One of the first parents that original group recruited here in Colorado was Janet DesGeorges, who now leads Hands & Voices "HQ". Janet actually hired me as a Parent Guide before there was a formal Guide program established, and we were advocating for families before there was an ASTra program. Fast forward to now, I am so pleased to announce that Jami Fries has accepted the position of Executive Director starting March 1, 2022. I know she will lead the Chapter into more success in supporting our diverse families in the systems that serve us all--from medical to educational to community.

Yes, there will be a new vision as Jami assembles her Board and replaces the Guide By Your Side Coordinator position she has held since April 2020. Jami has the lived experience of raising a child who is Deaf/hh "Plus", and has first-hand knowledge of congenital Cytomegalovirus and the joy and struggles of earning each celebrated milestone. I met her not long after she learned of her child's hearing loss, and she has that same positive determination to leave no stone unturned for him as she does now for our EHDI systems, early intervention, school services, medical/therapy services, and each one of our families served.

Jami is a systems-builder. She was way ahead of me when I was at her stage of life, and nothing makes me happier than to know that the Chapter is in good hands with her at the helm, with an active Board and such terrific Parent Guides, ASTra advocates, Ambassadors, and volunteers.

These days, I love that there is more emphasis on the joy of raising our kids and on specific things we can do to help them be safe and successful. We know so much more now than we did 26 years ago. Let's share that wisdom and optimism with each other. Welcome, Jami! 

Reach Jami Fries at

Contribute to the Community

If your organization serving individuals with hearing loss would like to be highlighted in the Community Spotlight Section, please fill out the form

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Standing TOGETHER with Boulder Valley School District

Boulder Valley School District - Marshall Fire Website

Although the fires that happened in Boulder have been put out for well over a month now, the impact continues to affect many of our community members. Whether it is their own home or supporting their students currently without a home or both, there continues to be numerous unmet needs. The mounting emotional strains and uncertainty that those involved are experiencing is simply not fair. I encourage you to reach out to your colleagues. See how they are doing and how we can help. Although we listed a few organizations below, we want to know of additional ways that we can support those in need!

Our partners at Impact on Education are gathering donations for BVSD families impacted through their Critical Needs Fund and will be prepared to help students, schools, and staff affected by the wildfires.

The Community Foundation Boulder County has also created a Wildfire Fund that will benefit any residents impacted by the fire.

Additionally, the American Red Cross is responding and accepting donations.


Small But Mighty

Our community is small but mighty!  We care deeply for the students that we serve and the professionals that we work with side by side.  Over the past couple of years folks have asked if we can share stories of those struggling within our community and how we can support these individuals and their families through difficult times.  This year we are adding a section to our newsletter called “With Loving Care” where we can share tragic news within our community AND ways that we can support those around us.  Please know that CDE does not endorse the stories shared, the activities, or calls for support.  This is simply a place where D/HH professionals can share information within our community in the spirit of caring.

If you have someone you would like to show loving care in our next issue. please fill out the Input for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Newsletter form.


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Pen Pal Project

Colorado Hands & Voices will be pairing up Deaf/Hard of hearing students in Colorado, ages 3-18, who want to make new friends across the state with their Pen Pal Project. Pen-Palls will be matched with same age peers. 

You must sign up by May 10th! You will get your first letter by June 1st.  To sign up complete the CO Hands & Voices Pen-Pal Project form. 


Colorado Deaf/HH Statewide Events Calendar

Click on the calendar icon to check out events for students, families and professionals!   Don’t forget to add this calendar to your own Google Calendar.

Picture: Calendar

Do you want to get the word out about your event?  Post an event on the Colorado Deaf/HH Events Calendar Here

Upcoming Events

Spring Early Literacy Events - CSDB

Colorado Deaf-Blind Project Webinar Series

Supporting the Use of Consistent Interventions: A Framework for Collaborating with Educational Teams Serving Children with Combined Vision and Hearing Loss

Trainer:  Tracy Evans Luiselli

March 8, 2022 from 3:30 to 5:30

Register for Supporting the Use of Consistent Interventions.

You must register two weeks in advance – so do not delay. Registrations will not be accepted after February 22

Campus Connections for Deaf and Hard of Hearing/Deaf-Blind Teenagers Seeking Post-Secondary Education And/Or Employment

Flyer - Campus Connections - Marion Downs Center

Campus Connections returns to The University of Colorado Boulder for a free and accessible in-person workshop on April 23rd from 9 am to 4 pm featuring a keynote presentation, breakout activities, and panel sessions for both teenagers and their parents/guardians.

Campus Connections will help teenagers:

  • Navigate the college application system
  • Request and receive services needed
  • Learn about different accommodations and technologies inside and outside of the classroom
  • Meet and interact with DHH Adults with diverse experiences in post-secondary settings
  • Discover what it's like being on a real college campus

Campus Connections also prepares parents and family members/guardians in giving effective support as DHH teenagers navigate through their journey into adulthood.

For more information or to sign up for updates, visit the Marion Downs Center website

Aspen Camp of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing

Aspen Camp of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing

A "tri-state" work retreat program is planned at Aspen Camp in May. It will be a collaborative pilot program for CSDB, NMSD, and USDB (Utah) with each school sending four to six students. The program focus is service learning in which participants will work in teams on  beautification and renovation projects on camp property. Outdoor recreation, self-advocacy and transition-related skill development activities will also be provided for youth during the program.

National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID)

NTID Programs

My name is Jenai McKeen and I am a student assistant for NTID Outreach Pre-College Programs. We have many different programs, competitions and workshops offered for deaf, hard of hearing and deaf blind students who are in high school currently. I wanted to let you know about what RIT/NTID is currently offering this spring/summer. It is a wonderful opportunity for the students to see what is available and the variety of careers that exist currently.

RIT/NTID has many competitions and programs all ready for your students to register!!! All the expanded information can be found in the links provided. Dates and requirements can be found at the links below:

These programs are for High Schoolers and we hope your students are interested in joining.  Please let us know if you have any questions:

Summer 2022 In-Person Camps Return

Summer Camp can be an invaluable and rich experience for Deaf/HH youth.  As noted by the National Deaf Center, “Whether they are day camps focused on coding, virtual programs in the arts, or overnight outdoor adventures, research shows that summer programs can have a significant positive impact on the lives of deaf youth.  Summer programs are important for:

  • Strengthening social, academic, and employment skills.
  • Reducing isolation.
  • Connecting with deaf peers and role models.”

View stories from Summer Camp to hear adults reflecting on the richness of their camp experiences.  Brought to you by The National Deaf Center (NDC).

Links to 2022 Summer Programming, Camps and Registration Forms

Summer events are beginning to appear on the Statewide DHH Events Calendar - keep checking in for events and registration forms!  SUMMER CAMPS FILL FAST!  Also, watch for the Deaf/HH Summer Events Board - COMING SOON!

*This newsletter lists Deaf/HH events and is not a representation of the Colorado Department of Education, nor an endorsement from CDE.  This is not a comprehensive list and unless specified, CDE does not organize or endorse these events, products or websites.

Do you want to get the word out about an event? Post an event on the Colorado Deaf/HH Events Calendar or Bulletin Board Here

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Now Hiring

Colorado Educator Loan Forgiveness Program

Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) is excited to share that the 2021 Program Application is NOW OPEN and we are confident that this program will continue to receive its funding this application cycle. The 2021-2022 fiscal year will be the first year the program identifies qualified applicants for loan forgiveness and distributes funds. We are partnering with to offer a user-friendly online application. Program qualifications are as follows:

  • Must currently work in a Colorado public school (preK-12) for the 2021-2022 school year (this includes BOCES and facility schools) as a teacher, administrator, or special service provider

  • Must work in an approved rural school/district or work in a content-shortage area in a non-rural school/district

  • Must hold a current teaching or special service provider license valid in the state of Colorado

  • Student loans must have been incurred during completion of an educator preparation program or from a higher education degree   

  • First preference will be given to applicants in approved rural schools/districts, followed by applicants in content-shortage area in non-rural schools/districts

Answers to frequently asked questions can be found in the Colorado Educator Loan Forgiveness Informational Booklet.

If you have any additional questions, you may visit the Colorado Department of Hight Education website or email

Additionally, under an Executive Order signed by President Biden on December 13th, for the one in six Americans -- or approximately 45 million people -- who are currently managing their student loans, the Department of Education will make sure:

  • Direct Loan borrowers only need to navigate to a single repayment portal on to apply for, manage, and repay their loans;

  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) candidates, including civil servants and active duty servicemembers, are able to apply with less paperwork and without having to fill out forms with information they have already provided to the federal government previously; and

  • Students and borrowers can receive relevant recommendations for other government benefits and services they may qualify for, such as healthcare subsidies, broadband support, and food assistance, thereby lowering economic barriers to postsecondary education completion.

~A special thank you to Sandy Bowen, Ph.D. for sharing this information and helping to get the word out.

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Input for the Newsletter

We want to provide you with a Newsletter that shares information from across the state.  If you want to add to any of the sections of the Newsletter or you want us to add another section to the Newsletter, please provide us with information to share by filling out the Input for Deaf and Hard of Hearing form

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DHH Leadership

Keep an eye on the Statewide Collaboration Webpage and DHH Events Calendar for upcoming dates, topics and registration links. Brought to you by your Colorado Deaf/HH Leadership Team:

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If you have problems with broken links or accessing the content on this page, please contact the Exceptional Student Services Unit at Please copy the URL link for this page into the email when referencing the problem you are experiencing.