"What works for your child is what makes the choice right!"
Sarah Milem - Vice President - DFW
Mom, Parent Guide
My husband Zack and I have two boys 9 & 7 years old. Our 9yo was diagnosed with Bilateral Sensorineural (progressive) hearing loss at age four. He is now enrolled in a small public charter school where we work closely with the AI teacher to be sure we are anticipating his needs when possible.
My dream for him has always been that he have as many options as possible, including communication. When deciding on schools, communication, and future plans, we always try to consider how the decision may limit his future choices. He dreams of being a robotics engineer and attending college as far away as possible.
I believe every family has a reason for their choices. Our responsibility is to ensure they have access to current information and feel supported in whatever decision they make.
Karen Ditty, Au.D FAA,CCC-A - Secretary - Cypress TX
Dr. Ditty has been a pediatric audiologist for 30 years. Prior to moving to Texas, Dr. Ditty worked in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She has been an active proponent for universal newborn hearing screening (UNHS) and was instrumental in the passage of the Universal Hearing Screening Law in Louisiana. She is the former Director of Audiology and Speech Pathology at the Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge. Dr. Ditty has helped establish UNHS programs at several Houston area hospitals and continues to oversee hospital programs in the Houston and Dallas area. She is a member of the NCHAM Technical Assistance Network, serving the states of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana. Dr. Ditty has presented extensively on matters related to EHDI. She is a mentor and the facilitator for pediatric audiology training workshops that NCHAM has conducted since 2002.
Sharon Parham - Treasurer - Cypress TX
Sharon Parham is a certified deaf educator with extensive experience and expertise in the field of deaf education. Her career of over 30 years includes the coordination of educational services to students who are deaf and hard of hearing as well as, the supervision and leadership of professional staff who provide services to this population. Prior to her 23 years in the capacity of a Program Coordinator, she taught as an Elementary teacher and as a Parent Infant teacher for students who are deaf/hard of hearing and their families. She has been a statewide trainer for teachers working with infants identified as deaf/hard of hearing and participated on numerous committees and task forces working toward the improvement of services to students who are deaf/hard of hearing. During her career she has been and continues to be actively involved in the coordination of professional conferences and in Non-profit organizations in Texas that support families of children who are deaf and hard of hearing. She has served as President of the Texas Association of Parents and Educators for the Deaf (T.A.P.E.D.) and as both a Chair and Co-chair of this organizations’ Biennial Statewide Conference. She was actively involved in the formation of the Texas Chapter of Hands and Voices and is currently serving on their board. She considers herself to be an advocate for children who are deaf/hard of hearing and their families.
Lisa Crawford - Past Pres - Austin TX
My name is Lisa Crawford and I have been a board member since 2007, when the Texas Chapter of Hands & Voices was initially incorporated. I live in Austin with my husband Steve and 2 daughters, Abby and Emma, who is deaf. I currently work as a Parent Liaison in the outreach office at the Texas School for the Deaf, also known as the Educational Resource Center on Deafness (ERCOD). My involvement with Hands & Voices has allowed me to meet so many wonderful people, both in Texas and across the country. I am proud of the work we do on behalf of families in Texas and my goal is that we can continue to expand our services to support ALL families in Texas with children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Karen Davin - Member @ Large - Houston TX
Karen Davin is a hearing mom of a deaf/hoh 9 year old. Her son was initially diagnosed with mild/moderate hearing loss at 2.5 years of age, wore hearing aids for two years and now has bilateral cochlear implants. Karen is an Oncology Nurse Navigator and has a B.S. in Nursing.
Tiffany Savage - Member @ Large - DFW
Karan Willis - Member @ Large - DFW
Melinda Ray - Member @ Large - Houston
Mom, DHH Adult, Professional
Kellie J Berger - Executive Director - Cypress, Texas
Kellie is mom to three - two in college and one in high school. Her family has been living in NW Houston Texas since 2000. Both daughters are hard of hearing and are/were mainstreamed. Kellie has been involved with Hands & Voices since her youngest was in 2nd grade, shortly after the Texas chapter formed. Among other jobs, Kellie has worked as a teacher, MMO director, a Parent Guide and a newborn hearing screener and volunteered as the Parent Representative for the NICHQ collaborative project for Texas IHSIS.
Outside of the office she spends much of her time shuttling her kids to activities and loves camping, road trips, cooking, playing with her dogs, swimming, art, music, church, reading and gardening.
Michaela Hamaker - Texas GBYS Coordinator - Austin, Texas
My name is Michaela Hamaker and I am very excited to begin my journey with Texas Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side as the Program Coordinator! I started in this position in November 2015. I am looking forward to sharing some of my own experiences with other families looking for support in raising their deaf or hard of hearing child.
My husband Kevin and I have three children together, two of whom are profoundly deaf. They both attend the Texas School for the Deaf in Austin. They use ASL as their preferred communication method.
When I learned of my son’s hearing loss almost 18 years ago, I knew I was about to embark on a journey that was new for our family. There were so many unknowns, and so many questions I had. I began my own research and started looking for ways that would allow my son to be a happy, well-adjusted child who was able to reach his potential. Throughout all of this, the support and guidance of other parents who had already dealt with what we were experiencing at that time was invaluable. When my daughter came along nine years later, we were ready!
I am delighted that the Guide By Your Side program is set up to provide such support to other parents throughout Texas.
Dr. Sarah Wainscott - Coordinator Follow Through Guides
Sarah is an Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences at Texas Woman's University. Dr. Wainscott is certified as an audiologist, teacher of the deaf, and auditory-verbal therapist, and has focused on language and learning for young children who are deaf and hard-of-hearing over her 20 year career in a variety of school and community settings primarily in the Washington DC region. Dr. Wainscott is also a parent of five children, two of whom are deaf.