#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 with whatever journey you are on with your DHH child.

#TogetherThursday this week is related to two upcoming holidays! Lunar New Year and Valentine’s Day.

  • As we continue to come together as a community and celebrate those around us, what can we do to discuss and celebrate each other? If you’d like to know facts about Lunar New Year to share with your child you can find them here: Link
  • There is also a great organization that started approximately one year ago, called Asian Signers, who are Deaf individuals putting together resources for young Deaf Asian identified folks to see themselves represented, their first video was actually a story related to Lunar New Year: Link

For Valentine’s Day something that I share with families is that Valentine’s day, while romanticized and popular with couples, at its heart is really about love. In Spanish the day is actually fully called “Dia del Amor y Amistad, Dia de San Valentin” which is “Day of Love and Friendship, St. Valentine’s Day”

As Teacher of the Deaf with students, the message I would promote is that together you can celebrate all kinds of love: Friend Love, Parent love, sibling love, Self-Love, and community love.

  • Self Esteem is a large factor in building resilience and in building confidence and that comes from finding and supporting through the love we all have: Link

A summary from this article discusses that praise and friendship are building blocks for children’s self esteem.

  • I will leave you all this week with my favorite video about self love from #whyIsign- Link

What are you celebrating this weekend?

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.

#TogetherThursday this week is about Black History Month. As we are on this journey together, seeing others like yourself is important, this is especially true with Deaf and Hard of Hearing children.

  • There is a concept in English called “intersectionality”, that was actually coined by a woman in Academia who is Black:  Link

What is “intersectionality”?

On the surface, it is that in regards to identity, we are not simply one aspect of ourselves, we are not simply one identity, nor is one identity of ourselves more important at any given time.
Humanity is complex, and the struggles(and successes) of one aspect of identity are not indicators of the whole person.
Intersectionality addresses that these experiences may be compounded: being one AND two is a separate unique struggle and experience than simply being one OR two. 

  • In this, Being Black and Deaf is an identity that is complex, has such rich history, and is often not highlighted. National Black Deaf Advocates is an organization comprised of Black Deaf individuals. They have created an amazing resource and I’ll leave that here for you to share with your DHH child, however you wish:  Link

What ways are you seeking to learn during Black History Month with your family?

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. 

#TogetherThursday this week is about Modeling.

When we’re on this journey with DHH children, there is constant discussion about Modeling. Modeling this, modeling that. Modeling, model, model.

There are different types of modeling! Language and several others!

The modeling we focus most on in the DHH world is language modeling because of the importance of language development and exposure.

  • Here is a resource for LSL(Listening and Spoken Language) strategies: Link
  • Here is a resource for ASL(American Sign Language) strategies: Link

Important to note: Strategies from either of these resources can be used in multiple languages and also across Sign Language as well. For example, “Describe Actions and Thoughts” can be done in LSL and in ASL, its not exclusive. Conversely, the Stages of Language development are not exclusive to ASL, there are those for all languages.

  • For the next “types” of modeling there are three major areas: social/emotional skills, intellectual growth, physical development:  Link

Important to note: While this resource discusses “Grades PreK-2” it can be expanded to any age! Habits that we have are ones that children are paying attention to and internalizing, so there are different areas that we can keep in mind and support. 

Ultimately-You are doing a great job with your child, modeling happens both intentionally and unintentionally, and think about what kinds of habits you’d like to see in your own life and in your child’s life overall.

What kinds of modeling do you do in your home? What kinds of modeling will you be trying out? Please share below :)

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.

#TogetherThursday this week is about emergency planning. What does that look like for your family? For your DHH child? 

Lets break it down in 1, 2, 3

  1. There are general preparedness plans that can be found on your state’s website, for California you can find a good checklist and instructions about what should be included and what kind of emergency you’re planning for.
  • There are videos for visuals that don’t have a lot of language(just labeling of each item) which can be shared with your child: Link

Key Take aways: Checklist and items that make sense for your family

  1. What about my child? What specific things are needed for children during an emergency?
  • The CDC has a website that includes where emergency kits should be kept because families are always on the go! : Link

Key Take aways: Kits for children who are identified with other needs should include everything they need as much as possible and kept in different places such as the car, the home and your workplace

  1. What about my DHH child’s devices and upkeep during an emergency?
  • This is a blog that has a list of things to include in your emergency kit: Link

Key Take aways: Extra batteries, and if you have an old pair of hearing aids put those in there because you can use those in a “pinch” if something happens to your child’s new ones!

Ultimately: Planning for emergencies is on a case by case basis and we want everyone to stay safe and healthy!

What’s in your emergency kit at home for your DHH child??

Together we can,

Ms. Leslie

January with Hands & Voices is here to support you and your family as we move further into a new year.

#TogetherThursday this week is about self care. What does that look like for you? For your DHH child? Lets break it down in 1, 2, 3

  1. For every family, what we often overlook is taking care of ourselves, how can we provide the best model for our children if we try to “pour from an empty cup”?
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics discusses the importance of Self Care and making a plan for it: Link

Key Take aways: Life is messy, there is the ideal plan for self care, and the reality plan, sometimes you have to do the reality plan, cherish the ideal plan, make sure you have some time for both.

  1. If you’re a parent, and you’re overwhelmed, what are your needs? What do you need? What are some areas of yourself that may need more attention so that your DHH child can see you at your best and you can be that advocate you want to be?
  • PEP, Program for Early Parent support discusses various kinds of self care needs: Link

Key Take aways: There are physical needs, social-emotional needs, intellectual needs, and spiritual needs, are you doing small things in these areas for yourself?

  1. We’re all living through various levels of unprecedented times. Parents are really shouldering the brunt of the responsibility of managing everything from Distance Learning with DHH children, specialists, to doctors appointments, evaluations or lack thereof. What can you do?

Cincinnati Children’s has resources for you: Link

  • Key Take aways: One of my favorite articles from PBS linked in the Cincinnati Resources- YOU ARE ENOUGH: Link

Ultimately: You are doing the best you can. Everyday take care of yourself a little bit because you do so much for your DHH child.

Together we can,

Ms. Leslie