I am so excited to be sharing this news with you. Despite my sore throat and various other nasty's, I feel like jumping up and down.
Our state is a "GO" on the Guide By Your Side (GBYS) program. What specifically is this program? It is a program by Hands and Voices. Whenever a child is diagnosed as deaf or hard of hearing the information is automatically sent to the State Dept. of Health. Now, with this program someone will call the parents and ask if they would like to talk to a Guide By Your Side, which is basically a parent who has a child who is deaf or hard of hearing and has lots of information, resources, knowledge and been there. Here is a link. http://www.handsandvoices.org/gbys/testimonials.htm
I remember when my son was diagnosed at 17 mos. I was freaked out and only held it together until I got to the car and wigged out. When I left Riley's Childrens Hospital, they had given me a book from the State Department that had a lot of resources listed in it, but seriously, I didn't even know what deaf was at the time much less able to sort through all the stuff in that booklet to know what I needed and what I didn't need. The day after his diagnosis I literally called every single number in that book and told them who I was, what I was told, and asked how they could help me. I have to tell you I didn't get a whole lot of info. The whole diagnosis and stress of it all seriously knocked me flat on my face for a long time. Only a parent who has been through this, knows the feeling, guilt, hurt, and fear. I begged for someone to tell me somebody, another parent, I could call who had been through this already. Nope, couldn't do it, it's all confidential info. I asked for counseling to help me deal. I could get counseling, but I would have to drive 2 hours to get it since there were no counselors in my area who were First Step Providers, are you kidding me? So to have a program like this in our state where a parent who is just getting the diagnosis and can talk to someone who has already been there is fantastic!!!!!!
For 2 1/2 years I have searched and sought out parents of deaf children. Max's surgeon, audiologist, and even some people in the school have asked if I could talk to a parent and I have. I so much want to tell them that everything really is going to be o.k. The excitement is................ I am one of the GBYS's in our state!!!! I will get notified of a new parent to talk to. I will get to hug them and help them through the fear. And best of all I GET PAID FOR IT!!!!! I've been doing it for free all this time and still would, but don't tell the State that cause now I can get paid. Can you Hear me?
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