Update from our Family & Community Services, April 2023

Today we share some information about changes to some of the services at IDHHC.

Over many years IDHHC has developed numerous partners in delivering services on Vancouver Island. Specifically within our Family and Community Program:

  1. We partner with BC Family Hearing Resource Society (BCFHRS) to provide ASL to families with Deaf, DeafBlind and hard of hearing children under the age of 5 years.
  2. We have a contract with Provincial Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (PDHHS) to deliver services to families with Deaf, DeafBlind and hard of hearing children ages 5 to 23 years.
  3. We work in partnership with Deaf Well Being Program (WBP) to assist individuals on Vancouver Island in accessing mental health supports and services.

Our Family and Community Program has staff members Alex Walker in Nanaimo, and Leslee Scott and Susanne Harnden in the Victoria office. The Family and Community Program has been funded for many years by the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) and the money comes through our contract with PDHHS. The funding that is received through this contract pay wages for these three staff members in our Victoria and Nanaimo offices.

Recently PDHHS told us they will terminate the IDHHC contract in September 2023.

Loss of this funding means we need to let our three Family and Community Program staff members go from their positions. Susanne Harnden will be finished in her role as Outreach Worker at the end of April. Alex Walker and Leslee Scott will both retire at the end of the summer.

So here at IDHHC we will have to make some changes. We will maintain our work with BCFHRS. We will continue to have our Deaf ASL instructors teaching ASL to families with Deaf, DeafBlind and hard of hearing children under the age of 5 years.

IDHHC will continue our close relationship with Deaf Well Being Program as we work together over the next few months to determine what services and supports are required on Vancouver Island.

PDHHS has hired a family navigator here on Vancouver Island that will provide enhanced services to families with school aged Deaf, DeafBlind and hard of hearing children. Services to Vancouver Island families will be led by the PDHHS team with transition support from IDHHC team until September.

For IDHHC some of these changes will happen quickly, others will happen over the next few months. During this time of transition we ask for your patience and flexibility as we all go through this process.

With a 30 year history, our goal at IDHHC is to ensure the unique needs of Deaf, DeafBlind and hard of hearing individuals and families are supported. Exactly how those supports are delivered will look different in the days ahead.

Transition and change can be difficult. Change can also provide an opportunity to explore new ways of doing things. IDHHC will continue to provide updates and information as soon as it becomes available.

IDHHC Staff and Board of Directors
April 18, 2023

CODA Film Screening & Expert Panel

Join UBC’s Language Sciences Institute and Douglas College’s Interpreting Program for a screening of the 2021 Academy Award winning film, CODA. The screening will be followed by a panel of CODAs and experts moderated by ASL specialist and interpreter, Nigel Howard. ASL-English interpretation will be present at this event.

This is a free event. Registration is required.

Scan the QR code or click here to learn more and RSVP today!

DATE: March 9, 2023
TIME: 6 – 9PM
LOCATION: Michael J. Fox Theatre @ 5455 Rumble Street, Burnaby

Dear Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre,

On behalf of the UBC Language Sciences Institute, I would like to extend an open invitation to all staff and the community members of the Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre to an upcoming film-screening and expert panel event on Thursday, Mar. 9, 2023, from 6:00pm-9:00pm at the Michael J Fox Theatre, 5455 Rumble St, Burnaby.

The UBC Language Sciences Institute and Douglas College’s Sign Language Interpretation Program will present a screening of the 2021 Academy Award winning film, CODA, followed by a moderated panel of CODAs and experts. ASL-English interpretation will be present throughout this event.

For those who are unable to attend in-person, there will be an option to tune-in virtually to the panel portion of the event.

Registration is required for this free event. Please use the link below to learn more and access the registration webpage:

We graciously ask that you distribute this invitation to the Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre community. You will find an event poster attached with a QR code linking to the event registration webpage.

We look forward to seeing your presence, along with those within your surrounding community, on Mar. 9th!

Sincerely, Nigel Howard
ASL Interpreter and UBC Linguistics Adjunct Professor

Event Poster PDF

Red Cross Babysitting Course

IDHHC is partnering with the City of Victoria and the Comox Valley Regional District to offer an accessible Babysitting Course for Deaf and hard of hearing teens ages 11 to 15 years. This Canadian Red Cross Babysitting course covers everything from managing difficult behaviours to essential content on leadership and professional conduct as a babysitter. Babysitting promises to deepen and enhance the responsibility that older youth feel when caring for younger children. The updated curriculum, complete with new science, also provides improved learning when it comes to give the appropriate care in the event of an emergency.

Victoria: Saturday, April 22
We are partnering with Crystal Pool to offer a one-day course on April 22. Please save the date and watch for our next newsletter for all the details or contact leslee@idhhc.ca for further info.

Comox Valley: To be confirmed
We are partnering with the CVRD and Teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (Katelin Miller and Kerry MacLaren) to offer a two-day format of this course. Please watch for our next newsletter for all the details or contact alex@idhhc.ca for further information.

Dining Out With a Hearing Loss

For those with a hearing loss, dinning out can be both challenging and exhausting so we have put together some suggestions to improve your experience.

Choose a Quiet Establishment: This may seem like an obvious first step, but it does require you to plan ahead. Ask friends and family for their recommendations of restaurants. Where are they able to hold conversations without competing with background noise? They will also be able to share their knowledge of places to avoid. A quick Internet search can often provide you with a few additional suggestions. If you are considering dining somewhere new, it can be helpful to call or stop by ahead of time to determine if it would be an appropriate location.

Request a Low Traffic/Quiet Table: Many restaurants have sections or tables that have significantly less traffic and noise. Making reservations in advance will help you to avoid being seated by the kitchen, main entrance, or bar.

Select the Best Seat: Choose a seat that allows you to face the person, or people, you will be speaking with. If you are dining with a group of people, sit across from the ones you would like to speak with most.

Good Lighting: When you rely on speechreading (lipreading) to understand what is being said, proper lighting will be essential for you to enjoy your dinner conversation. Request a table that is bright enough for you to do so.

Self-Advocate: Let the server know that you have a hearing loss as well as what you need while you are there. This could be a request to face you directly while speaking or to show you items on the menu rather than mentioning them verbally. Clarify anything you have heard but are not sure of. Improving communication with the staff will improve your dining experience.

Use your Technology: If you have hearing aids, cochlear implants, or any other device to assist you with communication, speak to your hearing health practitioner about the programs and accessories that are available to you in a restaurant setting.