Hands & Voices Advocacy Academy

"Speaking up, to be effective as advocacy, must be persuasive. Advocacy is the process of attempting to persuade others through logic, emotion, and ethical character." (Masner, 2005)

Most families of children with special needs receive no training to become effective as skilled educational advocates with these skills. What training is available in educational law and advocacy is often presented from a professional viewpoint, and generic at that. That's why H&V developed our own brand of advocacy training. These sessions are presented from the perspective of the parent sitting at the IEP table, with real-life examples from our H&V advocacy cases that address the letter and spirit of the law as it relates to students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Also emphasized are applications from state and federal case law, Supreme Court precedents, and other disability litigation. Participants walk away with the tools in their hands that can make them more effective advocates for their child/student's educational experience. Professionals also benefit from these sessions delivered from a real-life perspective, particularly if they don't have experience with deaf or hard of hearing students in the classroom.

Below is a partial list of courses offered by Hands & Voices. For more info on how you can become involved visit our national site http://www.handsandvoices.org


Course A05:8 Special Education Laws & Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

This is a foundational course covering the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), No Child Left Behind (NCLB), Section 504, and other laws that impact students with deafness or hearing loss. "Special Considerations" for the education of students who are deaf or hard of hearing (d/hh) are presented, and issues specific to d/hh students are explored. National movements such as Deaf Education Reform will also be introduced.

Time: 1.5 to 2 hrs; Audience: Parents and education professionals

Course A05:2 "A is for Access: Providing Full & Effective Communication Access for Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing"

How do you create and implement full and effective communication access for students who are deaf or hard of hearing? What does 'communication-driven' programming look like? How does it vary based on the student's mode or method of communication? "A is for Access" is a cutting-edge workshop featuring a video/DVD presentation that explores:

  • Legal mandates specific to the educational rights of students who are deaf or hard of hearing
  • Least Restrictive Environment vs 'Language Rich Environment'
  • What is full and effective communication access
  • and more!

Time: 2 hrs; Audience: Educators, Special Education Directors, Program Administrators, Parent Advocates and Parents

Course A05:3 The Deaf Child's Bill of Rights: A Law to Fill the Communication Gap

The Deaf Child's Bill of Rights (DCBR) "recognizes the unique nature of deafness and ensures that all deaf and hard of hearing children have appropriate on-going and fully accessible educational opportunities." (CO State Law 96-1041) In a growing number of states, laws like this have been passed to ensure that the diverse communication needs of d/hh students will be better understood and more appropriately met by public education. DCBR models from states with existing legislation will be presented.

Time: 1.5 hrs; Audience: Parents, legislators, education professionals

Course A05:4 Parents from Hell and other Advocacy Myths

An introductory course revealing basic approaches for the Parent Advocate. The practices and strategies that individual parents use in advocating for their own child will be presented. This session will increase a parent 's ability to create change in a positive and effective manner, and to understand the tools and skills that parents can bring "to the table." The myths surrounding the parent advocacy role, i.e. the "Parent from Hell", the "Cookie Mom" and other advocacy styles will be explored.

Time: 1.5; Audience: Parents & parent advocates

Course A05:5 The New Alliance : Parents and Educational Interpreters Forging New Partnerships

This session will provide a framework for a new kind of partnership in education between parents of children who are deaf/hh and the interpreters who provide services to these students. Considerations of current legislative law (IDEA and the Colorado Deaf Child Bill of Rights) will be explored, as well as the dynamics of future change under the Deaf Education Reform movement. Moving away from "The Blame Game" to the potential outcomes of a new alliance between parents and Interpreters, this session will give concrete strategies interpreters can utilize when working in the educational setting.


(Introductory Advocacy Courses Recommended prior to presenting these)

Course A05:5 R'Advocacy & the New Vocabulary of Power

An intensive training on how to become effective educational advocates for students with special needs, with an emphasis on deaf/hard of hearing issues. Learn the pro-active approach through the four "R's" of Advocacy: Reason, Rationale, Resolution, and Remedy. Do you know how to apply them and get the education your child deserves? Bring your child's IEP and roll up your shirtsleeves for a hands-on, actionable session designed to make you a "R'Advocate.

Time 2 to 3 hrs; Audience: Parents & parent advocates

Course A05:6 Heading 'Em Off at the IEP Impasse

When parents and schools can't agree on how to meet the educational needs of deaf and hard of hearing students, what can be done to resolve their differences? This session provides specific strategies for parents struggling with non-consensual IEP's. Learn what safeguards are assured by law to parents, and how to avoid lengthy and expensive due process.

Time: 1 to 1.5 hrs; Audience: Parents

Course A05:8 What's Your CQ (Communication Quotient)?

Bring your child or student's IEP to this workshop and discover how well it is calibrated to deliver a communication-driven educational program. Points are tallied for appropriate accommodations. Using a formula that applies to all d/hh students, regardless of their communication mode/method, you'll learn your communication-access equivalent to the IQ--your CQ, (Communication Quotient), and whether your child/student could be benefiting from other/additional access support.

Time: 1 hr; Audience: Parents, educators