The Importance of Getting Connected
Did you know that more than 90% of children with hearing loss are born to hearing parents? Also, that children with hearing loss have to work harder at everyday things that children with typical hearing take for granted?
Childhood is a time to learn and to explore. Unfortunately, for kids who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing, it can be a time of loneliness and confusion. Our Youth Program brings together young people who are deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing to allow them to connect with not just each other, but the world around them.
Our Youth Program provides structured, creative activities that give youngsters opportunities to exercise responsibility, as well as leadership and independent living skills. Children learn while having fun. They make friends and develop good feelings about themselves that will last a lifetime.
Mentors at Home:
Connections Program is an on-going, family-centered support program that links adults who are deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing called Mentors, with families who have children who are deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing, providing an array of support services. Research shows a child’s natural ability to develop language is strongest within the first years of life and family members are their primary source of language. However, deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing children face immediate, significant barriers to communication in their daily interactions with family members, friends and others. Through this connection, Mentors provide the entire family with the support, perspective, advocacy, community resources and options necessary for parents to help their deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing children achieve their full potential in both the hearing and deaf worlds.
Mentors in School:
Children are asked this question from a very young age: What do you want to be when you grow up? Every child has a dream and every dream deserves a chance. A great way to start is to find out what other adults who are deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing have achieved. The ARMED Program recruits and coordinates deaf, deafbilnd and hard of hearing adults to share their employment and life experiences with elementary, junior high and high school students in Chicago area schools.
For some children, this is the first time they meet a successful adult who has faced and overcome the same challenges they are familiar with.
The Leadership Program brings together students who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing for a day or multi-day session of thought-provoking discussion and team building exercises. These students learn the basic elements of cooperation, communication, adaptation and trust through a series of fun, exciting and challenging activities.
The activities take place both indoors and out, and provide opportunities for students to:
- Solve problems as a group
- Get to know the unknown / unfamiliar strengths of oneself and others
- Communicate and adapt in unfamiliar situations and surroundings
- Rely on and trust one another in order to be successful in the challenges
- Accomplish tasks that initially seem unachievable
Mentors in the Community:
A trip to an amusement park. A chance to see a professional sporting event. These and many other activities are offered throughout the year, enabling students to experience the world around them. Shared group experiences teach communication skills that help youth of all ages get along with others despite differences in age, gender, race, abilities, etc. These group interactions also help teach young adults how to make good choices and become leaders.