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!

GSAT and Guam EHDI attend Breastfeeding Awareness Month Fair

Community Services: Demonstration Services Guam Early Hearing Detection & Intervention Guam Systems for Assistive Technology Information Dissemination
On August 24, 2019, Guam System for Assistive Technology (GSAT) participated in the 6th Annual Breast Feeding Awareness Fair at the Micronesia Mall Center Court. GSAT shared information on various assistive technology available to assist children with communication and limited fine and gross motor skills. (Pictured L-R) Shawni Acfalle, GSAT AT Center Assistant; and Leah Abelon, GSAT Program Coordinator.
On August 24, 2019, Guam Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) and Guam Positive Parents Together (GPPT), participated in the 6th Annual Breastfeeding Awareness Fair at the Micronesia Mall Center Court. Guam EHDI and GPPT shared information about the importance of initial hearing screening for newborns and the parent support group available to assist families of children identified with a hearing loss. (Pictured L-R) Bernadine Reyes, Guam CEDDERS Office Assistant; fair participant, and Bobbie Afjelle, GPPT Support Staff.

Guam EHDI Advisory Council Held Annual Meeting

Guam Early Hearing Detection & Intervention
On August 20, Guam EHDI Advisory Committee held its annual meeting at the Guam Lotte Hotel. Council members from Department of Public Health & Social Services (DPHSS), Guam Department of Education (GDOE), Guam’s Positive Parents Together (GPPT), Guam Memorial Hospital (GMH), parents and siblings of children identified with a hearing loss, and Guam EHDI staff discussed and collaborated on various issues to improve early hearing detection and intervention processes for young children in our community.

GSAT and Guam EHDI attend the Guam Federation of Teachers Fair

Community Services: Demonstration Services Guam Early Hearing Detection & Intervention Guam Systems for Assistive Technology Information Dissemination
August 10, 2019: Leah Abelon, GSAT Center Coordinator, and Tanya Simer, Guam CEDDERS Research Associate, demonstrate the features of the various Assistive Technology devices to Mara Wusstig, Teacher at the Guam Department of Education, during the Annual Guam Federation of Teachers’ Health Fair at the Guam Premier Outlets.
August 10, 2019: Jenika Ballesta, Guam CEDDERS, Research Associate and Tanya Simer, Guam CEDDERS, Research Associate, provided information about the importance of newborn hearing screening, developmental milestones and other resources for persons with disabilities to a parent during the Guam Federation of Teachers’ the 6th Annual Health Fair at the Guam Premium Outlet. Not pictured Bobbie Afjelle, Guam Positive Parents Together Inc. (GPPT) Project Fitme Support Staff provided information on the parent support group available for families of children identified with a hearing loss.

Guam EHDI Met with GPPT on Future Training Activities

Community Services: Technical Assistance Guam Early Hearing Detection & Intervention
On August 2, Guam’s Positive Parents Together (GPPT) Board President Ann Marie Cruz (left) and GPPT Parent Mentor Evelyn Topasna (right) met with Marie Wusstig (center), Guam CEDDERS Training Associate, to discuss the facilitation of training opportunities for families to develop their self-advocacy skills, the recruitment of potential deaf mentors, planning for The CARE Project Family Retreat, and social activities for families of children identified with a hearing loss.

Guam EHDI Presented at WIC

Guam Early Hearing Detection & Intervention
On August 2, Guam CEDDERS staff presented information about the importance of newborn hearing screening and child developmental milestones for parents present at the Breastfeeding Promotion held at the Northern Regional Community Health Center, Dededo for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. Pictured Left to Right: Marie Wusstig, Training Associate and Jenika Ballesta, Research Associate.

Guam EHDI Delivers Resources to GEIS

Guam Early Hearing Detection & Intervention Guam Early Intervention System Information Dissemination
June 6, 2019: Guam Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (Guam EHDI) delivered resources to Guam Early Intervention System (GEIS) for families of children recently referred for a Diagnostic Audiological Evaluation (DAE). The resources help families prepare for their child’s DAE appointment with an audiologist. (Pictured Left to Right) Tanya Simer, CEDDERS Research Associate, and Macrina Atoigue, Guam Early Intervention System (GEIS) Secretary.

GSAT, Guam EHDI, and Project Fitme Attend the Head Start Transition Conference

Developmental Disabilities Guam Early Hearing Detection & Intervention Guam Systems for Assistive Technology
May 13, 2019. The Guam System for Assistive Technology (GSAT), Guam Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (Guam EHDI) Project, and Guam Positive Parents Together, Inc. (GPPT) partnered to disseminate information on their respective programs during the 2019 Head Start Transition Conference at the Dusit Thani Guam Resort. The conference provided opportunities for sharing ideas and strategies with Head Start families as they prepare their children for transition into kindergarten. Pictured L-R: Ann Marie Cruz, Board President, GPPT; Shawni Acfalle, GSAT Center Assistant; Leah Abelon, CEDDERS Research Associate; and Tanya Simer, CEDDERS Research Associate.