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New workshops for parents of Deaf and hard of hearing children

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For Immediate Release

Thursday, November 19, 2015

New workshops for parents of Deaf and hard of hearing children
CHS launches pilot project in partnership with PAH!

(TORONTO, ON)  November 19, 2015 – Parents of children who are Deaf or hard of hearing now have a new support group they can turn to. The Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) and PAH!, a mental health program for Deaf children, have partnered to bring a series of workshops to four communities in Ontario.

Due to popular demand, the program has expanded to four pilot program sites including London, Mississauga, Belleville and Oshawa.

“Parents are invited to connect with other parents of children who are Deaf or hard of hearing,” said Maria Shuwera, CONNECT Support Worker and project lead. “These workshops offer parents the opportunity to network with other parents and share their knowledge and experiences in a supportive, non-judgmental environment where they can learn about attachment, development, and connection.”

The groups meet monthly with a support worker at each of the locations and are also connected remotely via video conferencing technology to a presenter at one of the sites. There are two more workshops scheduled for 2015 and more are planned in 2016. The November workshop focuses on communication strategies at home so parents can enrich their child’s experience and exposure to language and vocabulary. The December workshop focuses on communication strategies at school and outside the home and how parents can be better advocates for their child, ensuring they have access and accommodations at school.

Twenty-three parents attended the first workshop, and the feedback so far has been positive. One parent said the best part of the workshop was: “hearing other parents' stories, learning from their experiences, and knowing we are not alone.”

One of the resources for this workshop is the online mental health guide developed as part of the Barrier-Free Education Initiative. CHS recently released the final materials for the project aimed at parents and teachers, including two online guides and several webinars that offer a compilation of information, strategies, and resources to help Deaf and hard of hearing students enjoy an inclusive, barrier-free learning environment.

The online mental health guide, titled “I Feel Good!: A Guide to Support the Health and Well-Being of Children and Youth Who Are Deaf/deaf and Hard of Hearing in Ontario’s Schools,” was developed collaboratively by CHS and VOICE for Hearing Impaired Children, along with psychologists, university professors and other professionals. This guide provides tools, strategies and resources that parents and educators can use in their daily interactions with their children or students who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

The information and strategies offered in the Classroom Accessibility for Students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing guide will help teachers and school administrators assist children who are Deaf or hard of hearing in a mainstream learning environment.

With approximately 1 in 250 Canadian babies born Deaf, hard of hearing or with early progressive childhood hearing loss, addressing classroom accessibility is key to ensuring academic success and equal opportunity for all students.

“Both parents and teachers often scramble to access resources once they recognize their child or student has some unique differences,” says Rebecca Grundy, Program Manager for Counselling Services at CHS. “With Children’s Mental Health Ontario estimating that 1 in 5 Canadian children will experience a mental health disorder, we wanted to address when, where and how a parent or teacher needs to refer a child or student to professional mental health services in the guide.” 

Interested parents can still register for the CHS/PAH! Parent Pilot Project by contacting Maria Shuwera, phone: 705.743.1573 ext. 44, TTY: 1.888.697.3623, email:

To access the online guides, or for more information about the Barrier-Free Education Initiative, go to


About the Canadian Hearing Society

CHS is celebrating 75 years of providing services, products, and information to culturally Deaf, oral deaf, deafened, and hard of hearing people, and educating the hearing public. CHS is governed by a board of directors, the majority of whom are Deaf or hard of hearing. CHS is a charitable organization funded by government, grants, membership and generous donors. For more information or to find your regional office, visit


Media Contact:
Marie-Lauren Gregoire
Communications Manager
416-987-2500 ext 272

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