Our Expertise


Why is Parent Involvement Important?

  • Research indicates that the single-most important factor in predicting successful outcomes of newly identified deaf/hh babies in early intervention is the active participation of their parents. (Yoshinaga-Itano, Coulter & Thomson, 2000)
  • Benefits of Parent involvement include higher reading scores, higher grades on homework, improved attitudes towards school, improved relationships between parents and teachers. (Donahoo, 2001)

Why is Parent Support Important?

  • Helps families identify options without telling them which option to choose
  • Offers experience from a Parent Guide who knows what it is like to raise a child who has a hearing loss
  • Gives the family a chance to meet others who are traveling down the same path

How Much Does It Cost?

  • Our Guides provide FREE support and services to parents and families throughout the state of Texas, in person when possible, as well as via phone/video phone and email.

Who Do We Serve?

  • Texas Guide By Your Side serves parents/guardians with children who are deaf or hard of hearing: (including extended family members)
    • Living in the state of Texas
    • From birth through age 21
    • With any degree of hearing loss
    • Attending any kind of educational setting
    • Using any type of communication mode

Parent Support

GBYS Guides are parents of children who are DHH or Deaf/HH Adults who have received special training preparing them to provide a strong foundation in supporting families without a bias towards communication modes or methods, as well as a functional understanding of formal systems and services available to families and their DHH children (birth—21).

Parent Guide and Deaf/Hard of Hearing Guide services to families include:

  • Direct parent-to-parent emotional support
  • Sharing information and resources in an unbiased manner
  • Workshops, trainings, and events for parents and children
  • Networking opportunities with other families
  • Referrals to other programs that serve deaf or hard of hearing children

Parent Guide and Deaf/Hard of Hearing Guide services to professionals can include:

  • Program information and outreach materials
  • Partnership opportunities for family/parent events

“Parent Guides” are specially trained parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. They work directly with families in need of the unique support that comes from someone else who has walked the path him/herself and can share from direct experience and wisdom. Parent Guides can provide emotional support at the time of screening and/or confirmation of a hearing loss, as well as provide a continuity of support to families throughout the child’s life, especially at times of transition. Guides offer resources, information, encouragement, and an opportunity to network with other families.

“Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH) Guides” are specially trained to provide families and children with invaluable perspectives that come from personal experience. Their role is not the provision of service (i.e., to teach families sign language or to share oral training techniques), but to provide helpful examples drawn from direct experience of life as an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing. Like Parent Guides, DHH Guides are often an important link for extended family members who do not have direct contact with service providers, but do need to increase their understanding of the unique needs of a family member who is deaf or hard of hearing.

Our Follow Through Guides (FTGs) have the same training as our Parent Guides but also work with the DSHS TEHDI program and providers to reach out to families whose child has possible hearing loss or has just been diagnosed. Our FTGs encourage these families to follow through on their appointments and to enroll in some form of early intervention (such as ECI) if their child has hearing loss. The FTGs also work with providers by providing technical assistance, education and outreach to improve the role of the early hearing detection and intervention process in Texas.

How Do I Enroll?

Enrolling in the Guide By Your Side program is easy, confidential, and free of charge!

Parents and family members can request services in English or Spanish.
Professionals can also request services for staff or families they serve with faxed consent.

English: http://GBYS.formstack.com/forms/request

Spanish: http://GBYS.formstack.com/forms/requestSP