Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side ™ is a replicable family support program that embodies the mission and vision of Hands & Voices ™, which is to provide unbiased support to families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing.  Guide By Your Side (GBYS) does this through specially trained parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. These parents   work as “Guides” directly with families who have just learned of their child’s hearing condition, or who have older children and are in need of the unique support that comes from someone else who has walked this path him/herself and can share from direct experience and wisdom. GBYS programs can also include an option for Deaf/Hard of Hearing Guides (DHH Guides) who are deaf or hard of hearing adults and specially trained to provide support to families.

The benefits to starting GBYS are that you will be training parent leaders, incorporating parental and deaf and hard of hearing perspectives, and embedding parent/professional collaboration into your Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI), educational, and/or family support systems. This comprehensive approach will strengthen the infrastructure and increase the effectiveness of state/province systems and their capacity to serve families. Research acknowledges the role of parent-to-parent connections, and exposure to adult role models who are deaf or hard of hearing to increase overall parent involvement which has been shown to lead to positive child outcomes. (Eleweke & Rodda, 2000; Jackson, Becker, & Schmitendorf, 2002; Hintermair, 2000; Bodner-Johnson, 2001).

GBYS has been created to be a flexible program that will meet the unique family support and outreach needs of your state/province.  It can be implemented by a Hands & Voices Chapter independently or in collaboration with an agency or program partner.  An agency or program partner can express interest in a GBYS program by contacting their local Hands & Voices Chapter and/or Hands & Voices Headquarters.


I love Guide By Your Side. It’s an instant friendship with others who have and are going through what you’re going though. You get to learn from others  experiences. ”

Oregon Parent

GBYS connected me with new friends I would have never known existed. We look forward to events to get our kids together. ”

Oregon Parent

The Parent Guide talked like hearing loss was normal.  I want to be like that.  I want to feel like my son’s hearing loss is normal.  I’m so much better than I was before. ”

Minnesota Parent

Our Parent Guide was outstanding in every aspect.  She made us aware of programs and gave us support to pursue them.  She was the boost we needed to find resources for our daughter.  Thank you for offering the GBYS Program! ”

Wisconsin Parent