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Guide By Your Side

Guides from our Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side program provide specialized knowledge to families of children newly identified with hearing loss. 

GBYS Guides are trained to support families without bias towards modes or methods of communication or educational programming. They are parents and role models who share specialized skills that emphasize meeting the unique needs of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing. Guides will reinforce the Hands & Voices slogan, "What Works for your Child is what makes the Choice right."


In BC, our GBYS program consists of a Coordinator, and a team of Parent and Deaf/Hard of Hearing Guides. Some of the Guides live in large metropolitan areas, and some live in more remote communities. Among them they have a wealth of personal experience raising children who are deaf and hard of hearing, or growing up as deaf or hard of hearing themselves. Some of the Guides have children with other needs in addition to hearing loss, and we have a few Guides who are familiar with a number of cultures and more than one language.


Guide By Your Side is available for any family of a child newly identified with hearing loss in BC. The Service Coordinators for Intervention routinely refer families to the GBYS Coordinator at the time of identification.  The type and amount of contact with Guides varies from family to family. For some families contact may involve more intense support right around the time of diagnosis, and for other families the service may be spread out over a number of months or even longer.


Guide By Your Side was developed in the U.S. by a parent-driven, non-profit organization called Hands & Voices. Hands & Voices is dedicated to supporting families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing without a bias towards communication modes or methodology. For more information see the Hands and Voices website. There are several Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side programs currently operating in the U.S., and BC Hands & Voices is the first Canadian program. Our GBYS program is a fully funded part of the BC Early Hearing Program.


Our GBYS program came about when the BC Early Hearing Program asked the program’s Parent Advisory Group to make a recommendation about how to provide parent-to-parent support for families of children identified by newborn hearing screening. It was felt that there was a need for this kind of support for all families across the province right at the time of diagnosis – not connected to a particular intervention program, but available to all families, right at the beginning. There is evidence now that outcomes for babies improve with early parent involvement and D/deaf role model "infusion". 


More about DHH Guides 
DHH Guides are Deaf or hard of hearing adult role models who provide families with invaluable perspectives that come from personal, lived experience.  They are uniquely qualified and trained to provide parents with a positive and hopeful perspective from their day-to-day, real life experiences.  

DHH Guide role models give parents the opportunity to ask questions such as “How do you enjoy music? What careers are suitable for people who are deaf/hard of hearing? If you were teased, how did you handle it? Why is it so important to point out all the sounds in our world if our child most likely won’t hear them?” and much more.

Guide By Your Side brochures
Visit our Family Handouts section for Guide By Your Side brochures in various languages. 

Family stories

Visit our Stories from Families section where parents share their experiences raising children who are deaf or hard of hearing. 


SOURCE: Guide By Your Side ( )
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