Research shows that parent roles of caregiver, champion, project manager, first educator, and model, uniquely qualifies them as essential to their child’s development. The Outreach Center on Deafness and Blindness (The Outreach Center) believes that families play a critical role in promoting the highest possible achievement of each child. To that end, we see connection and partnership with families as vital to the success of each individual at school and in the community.
Family Engagement is a term that promotes a growing movement stressing the importance of "partnership". A movement to encourage family engagement is occurring right now in education, mental health, and other social services. In May of 2016, The US Department of Education, along with the US Department of Health produced a national policy statement for the early years through the early grades family partnership. They framed it in this way,
"The lives and experiences of young children are intertwined with those of their families. Families are children’s first and most important teachers, advocates, and nurturers. Strong family engagement in early childhood systems and programs is central - not supplemental - to promoting children’s healthy intellectual, physical, and social-emotional development; preparing children for school; and supporting academic achievement in elementary school and beyond. Research indicates that families’ involvement in children’s learning and development impacts lifelong health, development, and academic outcomes. Family engagement in early childhood systems and programs supports families as they teach, nurture, and advocate for their children, and in turn, family engagement supports and improves the early childhood systems that care for and teach children. When families and the programs where children learn work together and support each other in their respective roles, children have a more positive attitude toward school, stay in school longer, have better attendance, and experience more school success.” (USDOE 1)
When caregivers - family, school, community - work together, children and youth are more successful.
Testimonies from Families with Hearing Loss
“Having a child who is deaf or hard of hearing will take more on your part as a parent. More time, more patience, and more work. It will be different from a hearing child. Different isn't bad, it's just different! Each child is unique and has a variety of needs. The demands of extra time could just as easily come from a child with a learning disability, or an extremely bright child. It doesn't in any way change or diminish all of the wonderful experiences of being a parent. Some of them might be different, but different is a good thing!"
For more testimonies like this, visit Boystown National Research Hospital’s Parent to Parent section: http://www.babyhearing.org/Parent2Parent/parenttalk/raisechild.asp
Testimonies from Families with Vision Loss