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Family Engagement Update
It is hard to believe that it has been 5 months since I started in my new role at NCDB as Project Specialist for Early Identification/Referral and Family Engagement. Stepping into the shoes of two clearly defined leaders in our field (Kathy McNulty and Barb Purvis) has been quite an honor. Little did I know that my feet are a little small for their shoes! I have been frantically working to get up to speed on the ins and outs of NCDB and the amazing work happening across our network. There is still so much to learn.
Here are a few Family Engagement Initiative Highlights:
1) Since January of 2015, a growing group of Family Specialists has been meeting monthly using the Mastermind group format to support one another by sharing ideas and resources. A huge thank you goes out to Pam Kissoondyal and Edgenie Bellah for getting the group started! If you work in the role of Family Specialist for your State Deaf-Blind Project and would like to join this dynamic group, please feel free to contact me, Pam, or Edgenie.
2) NFADB and NCDB are partnering to train families on the role of the intervener in supporting learners. There have been 5 cohorts and another will be starting in the fall. Patti McGowan (NFADB) and Peggy Malloy (NCDB) have been shining facilitators of this work.
3) The FamiliiesLead website, http://familieslead.org was launched in December 2014 and since then we have been providing tours of the site to organizations interested in using it to empower and train families. We are always looking for feedback for additional resources to be added as well as ways to continue to expand the website’s reach. Several people deserve thanks for this site so when you visit, look at the bottom of the home page for the list of collaborative partners.
4) The "Highlighting Collaboration between State Deaf-Blind Projects and Parent Centers" initiative information was sent to the state projects and Parent Centers the first week of June to begin to collect information about the continuum of collaborative work being done across our network. So far we have received 6 completed forms and look forward to receiving others soon. Plans to share innovations used by these collaborative partners will be discussed at DB Summit, so I hope you plan to join the Family Engagement break-out session (hint, hint). The Family Engagement technical work group deserves lots of praise for the time they spent crafting this initiative.
5) Our Family Matters landing page is getting a complete make-over! We are planning to use that space to highlight stories of the remarkable families in our network and the challenges that they face. If you are a family of a learner who experiences deaf-blindness and are willing to share your story in the months ahead, please let me know. We already have a long list of interested families and cannot wait to get their stories told! Learning by example is a profound way to share with and help others. Once we get the first story posted, I will make sure to post a note so you can take a peek.
Stay tuned for more to come and PLEASE let me know if there is a way that I can help support you in your work. I look forward to seeing many of you at the Deaf-Blind Summit in July.