#TogetherThursday is a weekly resource blog that was created by CA Hands & Voices Advisory Board Member Leslie Manjarrez out of the early shelter in place period.
This blog is tailored to highlight free resources and topics to parents of Deaf/Hard of Hearing children through videos, articles, links to further reading, activities and more. #TogetherThursday has grown to feature monthly themes that have included Deaf Awareness, School Readiness, Deaf LGBTQ+, and Seasonal DHH supports.

Please reach out to suggest future topics, resources and individuals to feature! Contact us: IG/FB or email.

Ms. Leslie looks forward to hearing from you!


Hello Friends!

         Hands & Voices is here to support you and your family on your journey you are on with your DHH child.

Lets talk about stress.

We are all stressed at one point or another, and we’ve had resources on this page before about self-care. We as adults need to be our best selves to best support our children.

What does stress look like for our children?

For Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children stress can come from many places:

  • Listening Fatigue 
  • Academics
  • Social Pressures
  • Language Barriers
  • Peer Relationships
  • Struggles with Identity

Among many many other everyday childhood stressors!

What does this look like for our kids?

  • For the youngest friends:  Link

Key take aways: Babies as young as 6 months old have been documented to be affected by stress in their environment. Big feelings are a lot to handle and the world is very confusing! There’s a lot you can do to support as their parent, creating a stable environment, having routines.

  • For our children that are school age:  Link

Key Take aways:

School age children exhibit stress in ways that they may not communicate with the actual words “I’m stressed” that can include stomach aches, avoiding things they used to enjoy, nightmares. There is also the “good stress” and “bad stress”, that needs to be balanced, how much is motivating and when does it become detrimental to your child? Reducing stress by giving breaks and having space to debrief and unwind after a long day.

Key Take aways:

Changes in eating and sleeping habits, withdrawal from socializing. Setting up regular check ins and giving space can be strategies to support. You know your child best, what can work for you?

What is a strategy or activity that you do in your home to reduce stress and support your DHH child? Share below!

Together we can,

Ms. Leslie

Hello Friends!

         Hands & Voices is here to support you and your family on your journey you are on with your DHH child.

As we round out a year with COVID-19, I wanted to put together a post to reflect how far we’ve come, and also highlight and celebrate you as families on #TogetherThursday.

Accessibility has and continues to be something we fight for for DHH children across the board. With Zoom and other platforms, what this looks like for interpreters, service providers and you as families varies district to district, school to school, provider to provider and across devices. 

  • When looking as schools go back in person and/or as they stay hybrid or remote take a look at this resource: Link
  • This was taken from the COVID-19 page on CA Hands & Voices page which can be found here: Link
  • Here is a “Zoomcast” which seems to be more of the norm these days about “Parenting during a pandemic” from Harvard which discusses about challenges you’ve all faced, and how to prepare as restrictions lift: Link

There are many positives that have come from the last year, one I have personally experienced, is the sudden transition of resources to online accessible methods. Below are some new ones for families that you may want to explore for DHH:

  • Gallaudet: Link
  • American Society for Deaf Children: Link
  • National Association for the Deaf: Link
  • CDC:  Link 

What resources have been most helpful for you in the last year? Share below!

Together we can,

Ms. Leslie

Hello Friends! Hands & Voices is here to support YOU and your family on your journey you are on with your DHH child.

This week for #TogetherThursday we will be exploring textures. 

Children love exploring textures from an early age! However, did you know that children of all ages can explore different textures and fidgets! There are even “toys” geared for focus in adults.

  • Starting with the littles, an article “Learning Through Textures: How and Why this is Important”: Link

Key Take away: Touch and Texture expose children to the world around them, this can be incorporated into Language, Motor(Fine and Gross), Independence skills, feeding and much more!

  • For Children learning spaces: “Starting a school Design Project, how to build contemporary learning spaces that spark curiosity, playful collaboration and engagement”:  Link

Key Take Away(at the bottom under “Quick Tips”):

Provide different materials and locations for explorations, mix colors, textures and shapes for exploration of the environment itself to stimulate learning and engagement

  • To get started at home taking a look at something like this: Link

Creating a “texture walk”!

  • Finally leaving with how, as children grow, we often see children “fidget” and in need of that input, an article from Understood about “Why Kids Fidget”: Link

Key Take away:

Kids fidget for different reasons, but also need that input because they may need to tap, touch and move around.

Especially in Distance learning and Hybrid, how can we support even ourselves in learning and listening through texture/sensory input?

  • Here is a DIY fidget toy list for you to make at home!: Link

What kinds of Texture experiences are you trying in your house? Share a recipe or instructions for something you use in your home below!

Together we can

Ms. Leslie

Hello Friends! Hands & Voices is here to support YOU and your family on your journey you are on with your DHH child.

This week for #TogetherThursday we will be exploring various forms of Art.

Art in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community is very important. I will not speak for them, as I myself am hearing, but will instead highlight various artists that express themselves in different Media.

  • Art is complex, often undefined, but is often one of the most powerful forms of expression for children. Here is an article from PBS(whom I LOVE to gather information from) about why art is important for childhood development: Link

Alternatively, Art can be combined with anything from music to engineering. Looking at the Wikipedia page for Art it includes everything: Visual Art(Painting, sculpture and architecture), Performing arts (Music, Theatre, Film, Dance), Literature and even “Interactive Media”

There are a number of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Artists in each and every one of these branches of Art that you can explore with your child:

  • Christine Sun Kim, Sound Artist, Composer  Link
  • Antonie Hunter, Dancer, Choreographer, Instructor  Link
  • Ian Sanborn, Storyteller, Artist, Poet 

The arts are an amazing way for Deaf children to express themselves, start small with any projects, music, movement or viewing art together in any form. 

What kind of art do you like sharing with your Deaf/Hard of Hearing child?

Together we can,

Ms. Leslie

Hello Friends! Hands & Voices is here to support you and your family with whatever journey you are on with your DHH child.

This week for #TogetherThursday we will be exploring Books!

If you’ve ever worked or chatting with me as a Teacher or as a friend you know that I am all about books. We had a previous Together Thursday about digital books! This week we’ll dive into the importance of literature in general, but also the power of not simply the “words” but the stories, visuals and routines around reading. 

  • One of my favorite articles is called “How to Raise a Reader”:  Link

Key Takeaways: Start Early, Make Reading Enjoyable and Accessible, and FORMAT DOESN’T MATTER

Comics, Tablet, Board Book, Texture Book, Wordless, Thick Chapter Books, High Visuals, simple black and white drawings at the beginning of the chapter, all valid. Reading is reading.

  • If you’re looking for recommendations for books here is a list that gets updated with Deaf/Hard of Hearing characters:  Link 

In addition, as we come up to “Read Across America” month in March, there is a fantastic Instagram account run by a Teacher who is focusing on transformative titles: Link

Find them at your local library, online through Google Play Books, Amazon Books/Kindle, Vooks and more!

A few of my favorite books are:

  • “Boy” which features a Deaf character- Link
  • Indestructibles which have inclusive characters and have visuals for many common nursery songs and rhymes: Link

For our older children:

  • “Wonderstruck” which features a Deaf character-  Link

Whats your favorite story to share with your Deaf Child?

Together we can,

Ms. Leslie