Supporting Parents & Families
Across the years, TCP Media Director (Xris Kessler) has filmed many family stories for the purpose of sharing experiences with new groups of parents who become involved in TCP’s retreats, workshops and support groups. These film segments bring a sense of comfort to parents with the realization that they are not alone, not broken, not isolated, that their child is not unique and that there is support to be found amongst those families who share in these experiences.
A key and critical tool utilized by TCP with parents is journaling. Parents are encouraged to record their daily thoughts and emotions as a means of documenting their emotional journey. In turn, these recorded thoughts allow for reflection and problem solving for the parents as well as a means of sharing with TCP Staff the day-to-day experiences. Journaling can be done in a variety of ways:
• How did you feel?
• What did you do about it?
• What do you hope for?
Video journaling: each person/parent is encouraged to utilize a video camera to record their experiences by talking to the camera. This is an activity offered to any parent who attends one of TCP’s retreats as well.
Virtual journaling: parents are invited to utilize email to communicate with TCP Executive Director (Johnnie Sexton) ongoing to share the day-to-day experiences and emotions. Some parents choose to share only “significant” issues and events in their lives. This process allows for Dr. Sexton to respond to any parent at any given time to provide feedback and validation.
Parent to Parent
Family support is another key ingredient in helping parents move forward. TCP has organized local/regional support groups for parents and local service providers in partnership with other agencies who serve the families (such as the NC EHDI Program). To date, there is no tool more powerful or impactful than that of parent-to-parent communication, support and networking.
In North Carolina (home base for TCP), family retreats are organized, funded and hosted by TCP across the state of NC. These retreats are 2-3 day experiences full of informational seminars, family to family bonding time, breakout groups for Moms, Dads, Siblings and Children who are deaf and hard of hearing as well as social activities for any and all. There is an amazing amount of processing the emotions by any and all family members due to the fact that everyone on the retreat has some very important issues in common. The CARE Project will also be offering retreat experiences in other states through agency partnerships.
The CARE Project encourages families to become involved in their local communities through a variety of activities to bring about more public awareness of the families’ journeys and experiences with children who are deaf and hard of hearing. There are modules available from/through TCP that can be implemented in local communities as a collaborative effort with local government, arts, theatre, sports, etc., all with the desired outcome of increasing awareness of hearing loss and the impact it has on an individual, a family and an entire community.
The CARE Project in partnership with agencies who serve families provides 1- day workshops focusing on the family’s emotional journey, sensitivity issues and strategies/tools to consider when providing services to families. Any parent is invited to attend these workshops to gain a greater understanding of the value in sharing experiences both as a counseling tool as well as a teaching tool.