Minnesota Hands & Voices offers support, information, resources, and hope to empower parents to make the best choices possible for their child who is deaf or hard of hearing.
Guide by Your Side™
Located throughout the Twin Cities Metro and greater Minnesota, Parent Guides are also parents of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing. They are specially trained to be an impartial resource to families and include culturally-specific Parent Guides for Northeast African, Southeast Asian, and Spanish-speaking communities.
The Guide by Your Side™ program embodies our strong values of direct peer connections and networking. It promotes self-efficacy and hinders isolation by exploring our common bond, shared experiences, challenges, wisdom, and insight.
THE THREE CORE PRINCIPLES OF GUIDE BY YOUR SIDE™
- Parents have access to comprehensive information about the full range of opportunities available to their child
- Parents have the right to choose the option(s) best for their child/family.
- Parent Guides can provide valuable wisdom and insight to other parents just starting their journey.
Children’s needs change over time and as each transition occurs, continually tapping into the wisdom of parents can be powerful. Eventually, we hope our children take our place. This is a fundamental element of our philosophy: “We Guide only until our Children can Lead.”
Parent to Parent Support
Connecting with other parents who are farther down the path can offer an incredible amount of support to parents of children who are newly identified as deaf or hard of hearing. Minnesota Hands & Voices Parent Guides introduce families to others who have made a variety of different decisions about communication opportunities, educational placement, and use of technology.
If you would like to be connected with another family, please contact your parent guide.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Guide Program
The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Guide program focuses exclusively on the needs of families and their children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.
Families can meet positive role models who share their own experiences growing up. DHH Guides act as resources and help the family identify practical solutions for navigating some of the common challenges that Deaf and Hard of Hearing children may experience.
Some of the supports might include attending educational events, visiting families at their homes, and collaborating with DHH professionals so we can build more connections with families. Our interaction can range from addressing concerns parents may have to having a pleasant conversation with a child about technology, accommodations, accessibility, or what has worked for us.
We are always connecting with families making sure they know what resources are available to them and hoping each DHH child can have a role model to look up to. So please feel free to reach out to me directly or connect with us through your parent guide.
Lead DHH Guide
Phone: (612) 297-6603 (TEXT ONLY)
Information and Referral
Minnesota Hands & Voices provides information, resources, and referral to families who have learned that their child is deaf or hard of hearing. We discuss concerns with families, send them information related to different topics of interest, and refer to other helpful organizations or sources of information.
We often collaborate with other agencies to provide relevant educational opportunities for families through events, workshops, webinars, and publications. Our frequent newsletters, emails, website, and social media outlets also provide reliable news and information.
Every region hosts events where families can make friends and learn from each other. Professionals and adult role models who are deaf and hard of hearing are honored guests and presenters to share their perspective on daily life and important topics to families.
DHH Outreach Services
Minnesota Hands & Voices is a service offered by Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS). Through its interconnected services, LSS offers unbiased parent support, connections to the deaf and hard of hearing community, instruction in American Sign Language and the opportunity to develop relationships with successful DHH Role Models.
The Deaf Mentor Family Services is focused on facilitating early language through American Sign Language (ASL) instruction and sharing valuable insight about the social emotional development of children who are DHH.
Minnesota Employment Center (MEC) is a joint effort of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, Rise, Inc., and Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation Services. For 15 years, the MEC team has worked with clients who are deaf or hard of hearing to find the best job matches. MEC provides clients with free, on-the-job training in American Sign Language (ASL) and assists with finding job opportunities, resume and cover letter development, interviewing skills, job coaching, on-the-job support and more. Learn More
Educational Advocacy Program (ASTra)
The ASTra Educational Advocacy Program is a deaf and hard of hearing educational advocacy program that embodies the mission and vision of Hands & Voices. ASTra stands for Advocacy, Support, and Training. The program provides support and resources for parents of children who are deaf and hard of hearing that address the needs of these learners. ASTra content is derived from years of direct advocacy experience working with families in schools, attending advocacy training sessions from Hands & Voices Educational Advocacy Guidebook (©2013).
Families may struggle to find educational programming that is a fit for the unique needs of their child who is deaf or hard of hearing. Minnesota Hands & Voices provides educational advocacy support and resources to families who need guidance through special education law and creating educational plans for their DHH student.
While we are not attorneys and we can not give legal advice, we feel strongly that ASTra Advocates can be great assets to families in need of direct support of educational process and/or increase their confidence in advocating for their children.