Success for Students with Hearing Loss was a Huge Success!
The Michigan Chapter of AG Bell had our largest turn out ever for our biennial professional fall conference! The conference brought together 165 professionals, parents, DHH individuals, students and exhibitors from all around the states of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. The conference was held at the Macomb Intermediate School District on Friday, October 25th, 2013. We spent the day with Dr. Karen Anderson, author of Building Skills for Success in the Fast-Paced Classroom and creator of successforkidswithhearingloss.com. In the full day workshop, Dr. Anderson presented on topics including promoting positive self-concept, self-advocacy skills, social communication strategies, parent advocacy, and how to generate appropriate goals for students with hearing loss. Participants were delighted to have new and fresh ideas of ways to address the educational needs of DHH students as well as productive and detailed ways to document and track student success.
Michigan AG Bell was also very proud to highlight two Macomb County students that truly represent children with hearing loss that have worked hard to become good advocates for themselves. Brianna Franco, a high school junior, reflected on how difficult it was at first to let her teachers know what she needed in the classroom. She explained that it wasn’t until she became older that she realized that in order to be the best student she could be, she had to forget about how others may perceive her, and instead focus on what was best for her. (A valuable life lesson indeed!) Lila Hodgin, a 4th grader, wrote an essay based on her experiences in using the FM system at school. She highlighted her advocacy skills by discussing how she created an FM manager in her classroom in order to bring her peers into her world and help them understand her needs as a student with a hearing loss. Both of these young ladies demonstrated poise and courage as they shared their personal journeys of self-reflection and perseverance to all of us at the conference.
The conference was not only a chance to hear a fantastic speaker such as Karen Anderson discuss the unique needs of children with hearing loss, but an opportunity for all of us who care about our students and children to come together as a community. We are united in our dedication to DHH learners as we strive to provide enriching, inspiring, efficient and productive service to them everyday. Whether we work in clinical settings, hospitals, classrooms, or in homes, we know that children with hearing loss need the support of knowledgeable and proactive professionals and parents to be successful. Even though at times we may feel that the needs of DHH kids are being left behind and we are frustrated about the continual changes in the level of service to DHH students, we need to stay strong in our dedication as we continue to promote appropriate education for kids with hearing loss. My hope is that we remain in touch and not wait until the next professional conference or event to reach out to one another for support, encouragement, and praise because our students and children are worth it!
Thanks to all who came and participated in our professional fall conference. It truly was magnificent and inspiring to see all of you there!
Chairperson Professional Fall Conference