SKI-HI Institute Facilitates Deaf Mentor Training on Guam

Community Services: Demonstration Services Continuing Education Developmental Disabilities Disability Studies Guam Early Hearing Detection & Intervention

Two years of preparation and hard work to bring the SKI-HI Institute’s Deaf Mentor Program to Guam came to fruition. On January 15, SKI-HI Institute Deaf Mentor trainers, Paula Pittman and Jodee Crace met with Cathy Tydingco, Guam Department of Education Part C Coordinator – Guam Early Intervention System (GEIS) to discuss the critical role GEIS holds in the development of a Deaf Mentor Program for the island’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) children birth to 5-years-old and their families. The success of the program relies on the partnership between the GEIS Service Providers and the Deaf Mentors working together to provide families with the best services possible.

SKI-HI lead trainer Paula Pittman is no stranger to Guam. Her last visit was about 10 years ago when she conducted SKI-HI training for teachers and service providers of DHH infants. This was Ms. Crace’s first trip to the island as a SKI-HI trainer for Deaf Mentors. Ms. Crace is a DHH adult and one of a team of three trainers for the Deaf Mentor component of the SKI-HI curriculum. SKI-HI programs can be found throughout the United States as well as countries such as South Africa, England, Poland and a few areas in China to name a few. The unique aspect of the Deaf Mentor Training compared to other trainings is that the entire training is done in American Sign Language (ASL). Participants are required to be fluent in ASL to attend the three-day training. From January 16-18, 13 deaf adults participated in the rigorous training to build the island’s local capacity of Deaf Mentors at the Guam System for Assistive Technology (GSAT) training room located at the University of Guam. Of the 13 trainees, 11 completed the program.

To better understand the SKI-HI Deaf Mentor Program, Guam CEDDERS’ Guam Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Deaf Mentor Program invited GEIS and Guam Positive Parents Together (GPPT) staff to participate on the first day to receive an overview of the program. Two ASL interpreters were present on day one to interpret for the hearing attendees of the training.

This was a first for both interpreters and hearing adults present during day one of training. GEIS, GPPT, and EHDI staff, as well as interpreters gained the unique experience of the communication challenges DHH adults face on a daily basis in the hearing world. Interpreters shared that they are used to and most comfortable when interpreting in ASL for DHH community; however, when voicing the signs from DHH individuals to hearing individuals, the task was more challenging in conveying the message that the DHH speaker intends to relay. The completion of this training forged stronger connections between the Deaf Mentors and GPPT. The GPPT Parent Support Group is currently planning activities to bring the deaf adults in contact with families of children identified with a hearing loss. Guam CEDDERS continues to work with Guam’s Special Education personnel to develop an approach to utilize and maximize the skills acquired by the identified Deaf Mentors.

The SKI-HI curriculum for early intervention and training began in 1972. The institute is currently part of the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. Families are given choices, illuminated to possibilities, given information and skills and are strengthened in confidence, appreciation and love of their child, as well as envisioning a future full of hope for their child.

On January 18, participants completed a three-day SKI-HI Deaf Mentor Training held on January 16, 17, and 18, at the Guam System for Assistive Technology (GSAT) conference room. This intensive three-day training was conducted in American Sign Language (ASL) by SKI-HI Deaf Mentor instructors, Paula Pittman and Jodee Crace. The purpose of the training is to provide a foundation for development of the Deaf Mentor Program on Guam. Pictured Front Row (left-right): Michelle Aguigui, Associate Director, Guam CEDDERS, Bong Sun Ahn, Cory Mendiola, Paula Pittman, Ph.D. SKI-HI, Jodee Crace, MA, SKI-HI, Cory Mendiola. Back Row (left-right): Tasha Hanley, Normie Ilustre, Myra Aguon, Janice Toves, Melencia Porto, Eufrocino Porto, Christopher Taitingfong, Francisco R. Perez, Jr., and Regina Hawkins. Not Pictured: Tanya Simer, Research Associate, Guam CEDDERS and Marie Wusstig, Training Associate, Guam CEDDERS.
On January 16, Myra Aguon (left), Deaf Mentor trainee, introduces herself as Deaf Mentor Trainers Jodee Crace and Paula Pittman, from Utah State University, SKI-HI Institute watch and listen intently.
On January 16, members of the Deaf Community shared about themselves and what they hope to gain after the three-day SKI-HI Deaf Mentor Training. Pictured sitting at the table (left-right): Normie Ilustre, Bong Sun Ahn, Christopher Taitingfong, and Regina Hawkins.
On January 16, after discussion and brainstorming with her group members, Myra Aguon records potential “Challenges” and “Solutions” a Deaf Mentor may encounter during a home visit as Paula Pittman seizes the moment to capture a photo of the group in action. Pictured from (left-right): Eufrocino Porto, Myra Aguon, Normie Ilustre, Paula Pittman, Director SKI-HI and Deaf Mentor Outreach, SKI-HI Institute, Utah State University.
On January 16, participants worked collaboratively in small groups to discuss and list the characteristics of an effective Deaf Mentor. Pictured (left-right): Tasha Hanley, Cory Mendiola, Regina Hawkins, Normie Ilustre, Christopher Taitingfong, and Melencia Porto. Not Shown: Francisco R. Perez, Jr., Janice Toves, and Jude Ogo.
On January 18, as part of the training activities, participants broke into two groups to play a game of “Trivia”. Each team generated a list of famous Deaf and Hard of Hearing adults. The team with the most unduplicated names determined the winner of the “Trivia” game. Pictured (left-right): Tasha Hanley, Normie Ilustre, Melencia Porto, Christopher Taitingfong, and Regina Hawkins.
On January 18, as part of the training activities, participants broke into two groups to play a game of “Trivia”. Each team generated a list of famous Deaf and Hard of Hearing adults. The team with the most unduplicated names determined the winner of the “Trivia” game. Pictured (left-right): Francisco R. Perez Jr., Myra Aguon, Cory Aguon. Back Row: Eufrocino Porto.

Families Participate in Workshops for Improving Literacy Using Online Resources

Community Services: Demonstration Services Community Services: Technical Assistance Continuing Education Developmental Disabilities Disability Studies Guam Department of Education

Two Guam Department of Education (GDOE) State Systemic Improvement Project (SSIP) schools provided family engagement workshops for parents centered on improving literacy. The schools were M.U. Lujan Elementary and J. M. Guerrero Elementary. M.U. Lujan Elementary held their session on December 19, 2019 and J.M. Guerrero Elementary held their session on January 14. Both sessions were conducted at the respective schools. A combined total of 144 parents participated in the workshops. The workshops were focused on the online family toolkit from the National Center on Improving Literacy (NCIL). Using laptops provided by the schools, parents were given the opportunity to explore the NCIL website for parent resources and tools that can be used to support reading at home. The sessions were an extension of the Pacific SSIP Collaborative which was held on Guam in October 2019. As part of the Pacific SSIP Collaborative, Sarah Sayko, Deputy Director of NCIL, conducted a workshop for families and school personnel on October 12, 2019. The SSIP principals who attended the sessions took back the information to their school community and had their own workshops to share this valuable online resource.

On January 14, J.M. Guerrero Elementary school parent Sheena Tommey (right) and her daughter Zuemai Tommey (left) explore the NCIL website together.
On January 14, J. M. Guerrero Elementary school principal, Rose Castro (seated front right) poses with parents who attended the family engagement workshop.
On December 19, M.U. Lujan Elementary school principal Natasha Dela Cruz speaks to parents about the importance of supporting literacy at home.
On December 19, M.U. Lujan Elementary school parents explore the NCIL website for reading resources and tools.

GDOE Focuses on the Principles of Explicit and Systematic Instruction

Community Services: Technical Assistance Community Services: Training Continuing Education Developmental Disabilities Disability Studies Guam Department of Education

As part of the Guam Department of Education’s (GDOE) State Systemic Improvement Project (SSIP), a professional development centered on the principles of explicit and systematic instruction and on improvement science was held on January 6 at The Westin Resort Guam. One-hundred thirty teachers, teacher assistants, and administrators from the four SSIP schools participated in the training. The SSIP schools are Price Elementary, Chief Brodie Memorial Elementary, Juan M. Guerrero Elementary, and M.U. Lujan Elementary. The facilitators of the training were Guam CEDDERS training associate, Josephine Cruz; and Guam CEDDERS consultant, Nieves Flores with support from SSIP teacher leaders Bianca Nguyen, Pearl Hamada, Valene Salas, Michelle DeGuzman, Gina Call, Annette Raguindin, and Ursula Umadhay and SSIP school principals Darlene Castro, Rose Castro, Natasha Dela Cruz, and Elias Taisipic.

The professional development is part of GDOE’s “Continuous Improvement Road Map for Improving Reading Achievement”. The goal of GDOE’s SSIP is to improve the reading proficiency of students by the time they reach 3rd grade. Central to achieving this goal is ensuring that effective instructional principles are being implemented. In addition, understanding the “root cause” for the current state of reading achievement within the GDOE SSIP schools is critical in promoting systemic change.

Subsequently, the professional development served as an extension of the Pacific SSIP Collaborative that was held in October 2019 and included the expertise of technical assistance providers from four National Centers and the Regional Educational Laboratory- Pacific (REL-Pacific). During the Pacific SSIP Collaborative, there were sessions on high-quality reading instruction and the use of explicit instructional elements in the delivery of reading instruction.

First-grade teachers from J.M. Guerrero Elementary review their reading data to determine the “root cause”. From (left-right): Michelle De Guzman, teacher; Josephine Cruz, Guam CEDDERS Training Associate; and Darlene Vigil, teacher.
Price Elementary kindergarten teachers review their reading data. From (left-right), Tina Aguilar, teacher; Elias Taisipic, acting principal; Krystal Castro, teacher; and Jessica Tamam, teacher.
Chief Brodie Memorial Elementary teachers discuss their reading data. From (left-right): Alan Mortera, 4th grade teacher; Celeste Lizama, 4th-grade teacher; and Eleanor Quichocho, 4th grade teacher.
Teachers from M.U. Lujan Elementary work together to determine the “5 Whys” based on their reading data. From (left-right): Zenia Duenas, ESL teacher; Cherise Charfauros, Special Education teacher; Nieves Flores, Guam CEDDERS consultant; Norma Quinene, 5th grade teacher.

Project Bisita Activities

Community Services: Technical Assistance Department of Public Health & Social Services Project Bisita I Familia
Project Bisita I Familia staff spent a few hours with Suruhana Rosalia Fejeran Mateo, or Mama Chai at Sagan Kottura located in Tumon.Staff were introduced to various traditional Chamoru healing methods and the plants needed.
Vera Blaz, CEDDERS Training Associate (front left), and Jenika Ballesta, CEDDERS Research Associate (kneeling front left), co-facilitated the Project Bisita I Familia Parent Cafe on October 18, 2019 at the Hilton Resort Guam. The theme for the cafe was “Building Strong Relationships with Your Children.” Thirteen parents participated in the event.
Jenika Ballesta, CEDDERS Research Associate (front right), and Vera Blaz, CEDDERS Training Associate (back middle), co-facilitated the Project Bisita I Familia Parent Cafe on November 22, 2019 at the Hilton Resort Guam. The theme for the cafe was “You Are Not Alone.” Six parents participated in the event.

Guam EHDI Participates in the DPHSS Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Fair

Guam Early Hearing Detection & Intervention
November 24, 2019: Guam EHDI participated in the Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Fair held at the Agana Shopping Center. Information and resources were provided to attendees on the importance of early hearing screening, detection, and intervention. Pictured from left to right, Tanya Simer, Guam CEDDERS Research Associate; Clarissa Leon Guerrero, UOG Social Work Intern.

Guam EHDI Participates in the G.A.L.A. Power of Play Outreach

Guam Early Hearing Detection & Intervention
November 16, 2019: Clarissa Leon Guerrero, UOG Social Work Intern, is pictured helping two children who participated in the Pom Pom Drop activity for toddlers to develop their fine motor skills, coordination, and concentration at the Power of Play Outreach at Sinajana Community Center. Not pictured: Tanya Simer, Guam CEDDERS Research Associate.
November 23, 2019: Clarissa Leon Guerrero, UOG Social Work Intern assisted a mother and her toddler with the Pom Pom Drop activity at the Power of Play Outreach held at Toto Gardens GHURA. Not pictured: Tanya Simer, Guam CEDDERS Research Associate.

The CARE Project

Guam Early Hearing Detection & Intervention

Guam’s Positive Parents Together Inc. (GPPT) the non-profit parent driven organization responsible for facilitating the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) Parent Support Group for Guam’s families with children identified with a hearing loss has had an exciting and busy September!

GPPT hit the ground running in September with a Deaf Awareness Proclamation signing at the Governor’s Conference Room on Monday, September 9, 2019.  Present at the signing was Governor Lourdes Leon Guerrero, Senator Kelly Marsh (Taitano), Ann Marie Cruz, GPPT Board President, Mary-Therese, GPPT Board Vice President, Evelyn Claros, GPPT Board Treasurer, Trisha Suzuki, Parent Mentor, Margarita Gay, DPHSS Nursing Administrator, Kirsten Rosario, GCC ASL Instructor, Terrie Fejarang, retired Guam CEDDERS Associate Director, Marie Wusstig, Guam CEDDERS Training Associate along with numerous supporters present to witness the inaugural declaration of Deaf Awareness Month for the month of September.

As part of celebrating Deaf Awareness month , GPPT spearheaded activities to promote Deaf Awareness in the community with a WAVE at the Paseo Loop on Friday, September 13. Then on Sunday, September 15,  members of the community were invited to show their support by participating in first Deaf Awareness Outreach held at the Agana Shopping Center.  The group also organized a special Sunday Mass for members of the DHH Community and their families on September 22 at the Our Lady of Purification Church in Maina.  Family members and friends attended to celebrate September, Deaf Awareness Month.

GPPT also organized its first Deaf Awareness fundraising dinner.  The purpose for this event was to bring awareness to the community of the issues that DHH families and their children face.  Funds raised were identified to support DHH families with hearing aids and other necessities families may require such as adequate health and or educational resources for their DHH child.

GPPT continued to meet with Guam EHDI and The CARE Project of North Carolina, via Zoom to finalize plans for the first Guam CARE Project Family Retreat. In November, the collaborative efforts between Guam EHDI – Fitme Project , GPPT and The CARE Project from North Carolina, held its first Guam CARE Project Family Retreat on November 8 – 10, 2019.  Members from North Carolina’s CARE Project, under the direction of Johnnie Sexton, Executive Director of The CARE Project facilitated the three-day Family Retreat at the Lotte Hotel Guam.  Day one was an informal meeting with the families to meet with the volunteers, The CARE Project Team and Guam EHDI staff and allow for questions families may have regarding the retreat.  On day two, the team presenting included Pediatric Audiologist, John J. (JJ) Whicker, Director, Inspirational Speaker, Katie Whicker, Parent Mentors Bo and Jessica Peterson and their sons, Oscar and Magnus.  The families experienced a motivational seminar facilitated by Katie Whicker, a woman with Treacher Collins Syndrome and has grown up with a hearing loss.  Parents, engaged in a focus group facilitated by JJ Whicker, “The Emotional Journey” which allowed parents to share their stories related to their children’s birth and diagnosis of deafness and hearing loss. This focus group allowed for the parents to openly express their grief among a safe group of listeners who understood and had shared experiences. In the afternoon, two families volunteered to be recorded sharing their stories to provide The CARE Project footage to share as they conduct sensitivity training with hearing screeners and health care professionals.  The rest of the afternoon was spent with the main focus group split in two smaller groups (mothers and fathers) to further openly discuss their experiences and challenges in a more private and intimate setting with parent mentors Bo and Jessica Peterson.  Parents spent the final morning in two seminars led by JJ Whicker, “Understanding Your Child’s Hearing” and “Disability Law:  Knowing Your Rights and Advocating for Your Child”.  The group convened for one last photo before departing.

Parents, The CARE Project Team, Guam’s Positive Parents Together (GPPT) and Guam Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (Guam EHDI) staff at the Friday night Meet
and Greet. Seated are Jessica and Bo Peterson, The CARE Project Parent Mentors, Katie Whicker, inspirational speaker. Standing: JJ Whicker The CARE Project Facilitator.
JJ Whicker, Pediatric Audiologist and volunteer with The CARE Project Family Retreat Team provided families with an overview of “How to Understand Your Child’s Hearing Loss.
A volunteer from the Academy of Our Lady of Guam (AOLG) Interact Group play with children at the Family Retreat.
Volunteers from the Academy of Our Lady of Guam (AOLG) Interact Group assist with caring for the youngest son of the Model Parent Mentors who facilitated theEmotional Journey component of The Guam CARE Project Family Retreat.
Children of parents attending The Guam CARE Project Family Retreat are pictured with a volunteer from the Academy of Our Lady of Guam (AOLG) Interact Group.
Dangkulu na si yu’us ma’ ase to the families, who participated in the three day retreat, The CARE Project Team, volunteers from GCC’s ASL classes, AOLG Interact Group, and DOE‘s Middle and Elementary School Teachers along with GPPT and Guam EHDI/CEDDERS for making the event a success for the parents and children!

Guam CEDDERS Holds Professional Development

CEDDERS CORE Continuing Education Developmental Disabilities Disability Studies Guam CEDDERS Advisory Council
On December 6, June De Leon, Guam CEDDERS Interim Director, reviewed the Guam CEDDERS goals and objectives during the Professional Development.
On December 6, Michelle Aguigui, Guam CEDDERS Associate Director, provided the instruction to staff on an activity related to the Guam CEDDERS Work Plan.
On December 6, Guam CEDDERS staff worked in groups to review the Guam CEDDERS work plan activities during the Professional Development. Left photo (pictured left to
right): Joseph Mendiola, Interoperability Data Manager; Vera Blaz, Training Associate; and Nancy Cueto, Fiscal Manager.

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Guam CEDDERS staff pose for a picture during the December 2019 Guam CEDDERS Professional Development.

Langston University in collaboration with Guam CEDDERS Provided Technical Assistance and Support

CEDDERS CORE Community Services: Technical Assistance Continuing Education
Jacquelin Meno Gouniai completed her successful defense of her dissertation titled, “Mental Health Literacy of Varying Obsessive-compulsive Disorder Manifestations: An Exploration of the Perceptions of Guam-based Medical Providers and Clergy” on November 15. Ms. Gouniai, a student in the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) Program at California Southern University, received technical assistance and support from a Langston University research grant, in collaboration with Guam CEDDERS, which aims to encourage and support research conducted by and on minority populations relating to disabilities.

CNMI Special Education Program Gathers Stakeholder Input

Community Services: Technical Assistance Continuing Education Developmental Disabilities

On November 25, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Public School System (PSS), Special Education Program convened its Special Education State Advisory Panel (SESAP), CNMI’s key stakeholder group, comprised of PSS administrators, agency/organization representatives, parent representatives, and individuals with disabilities. Guam CEDDERS June De Leon supported the CNMI Special Education Director during the review of CNMI’s FFY 2018 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B Annual Performance Report (APR) indicator performance data and information, including discussion of reasons for “slippage” from last reporting year’s performance, where applicable. In addition, trend data for each APR indicator were reviewed to gather input from SESAP members on proposed indicator targets for FFY 2019, a requirement of the FFY 2018 IDEA Part B APR. SESAP’s stakeholder input for proposed FFY 2019 APR indicator targets was a consensus amongst all members.

On the same day, Ms. De Leon supported the PSS Assessment Coordinator who facilitated an afternoon session with 21 special education teachers and student teachers on the “CNMI Spring 2019 Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA) Results & Data Interpretation.” The components of the district, school, and individual student reports were reviewed to increase understanding of the student results from administering the Spring 2019 MSAA. In addition, implications for improving academic instruction for students with significant cognitive disabilities was discussed with resources provided to support lesson plan development. Positive feedback from the session indicated that the information shared, especially the student results from the Spring 2019 MSAA administration, was helpful to improve instruction and to be prepared for the Spring 2020 MSAA administration.

On November 25, Guam CEDDERS June De Leon (sitting left front) supported the CNMI Special Education State Advisory Panel (SESAP) members during the review of CNMI’s
FFY 2018 IDEA Part B APR.