News and Announcements
BCFHRC EXPANDS TO VANCOUVER ISLAND!
Demand for services on Vancouver Island has prompted a need for an office location in Victoria.
The new satellite office is located at 320 - 702 Fort Street. Stop by if you are in the area.
Stephanie Cadieux Visit
October 22nd, 2015
Dear parents, community service providers and community partners,
As many of you will recall, the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) issued a Request For Proposal (RFP) in September, 2014 for Early Intervention – Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services. The BC Family Hearing Resource Society (BCFHRS) was the successful proponent and was awarded the contract to provide early intervention services in the Province.
The Ministry’s decision led our specialised agencies serving Deaf and Hard of Hearing children and families to discuss program collaboration and partnerships with the aim to deliver programs, services and information to families in the most effective fashion. This discussion addressed overlap, duplication and gaps in service delivery, maximization of program efficiencies and effectively managing financial resources.
The goal of this new endeavour for the two agencies, the Deaf Children’s Society and the BCFHRS, is to work together with an integrated approach. This approach embraces a common vision of positive long-term language and communication outcomes for children. As always these programs and services will be delivered in a way that maximizes the potential of each child and their family.
An integrated approach does not mean the merger of the two agencies nor does it mean services provided under one roof or facility. We will be working collectively but independently to provide increased opportunities for every child and their family in BC to receive effective and quality services. These services will be based on the needs of each child and/or family.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.
Noreen R. Simmons, M.Sc., Ph.D., Janice Springford, M.Ed., M. A.,
Executive Director Executive Director
BC Family Hearing Resource Society Deaf Children’s Society
White Rock Elks Support Online Learning
The White Rock Elks #431 donated $1,200 from their annual golf tournament to support programs for deaf and hard of hearing kids at BC Family Hearing Resource Society.
“We are long-time supporters of BC Family Hearing Resource Society,” says president Ray Hunt. “We support a number of local charities but we have a real affinity for children with disabilities.
BC Family Hearing Resource Society (BCFHRS) is the largest non-profit in the province that provides services to deaf and hard of hearing children under the age of five. BCFHRS was founded by the Elks in 1983. The Centre, located in Surrey, was built in 2002, largely through the financial support of the Elks.
“Support from the Elks has contributed to the growth of our organization,” says BCFHRS Executive Director, Dr. Noreen Simmons. “The White Rock Elks are a very generous lodge and we can always depend upon them for support. This year their donation will support our online education program.”
Each year 2-3 out of 1,000 children born in BC are diagnosed with hearing loss. The online education program is a series of self-guided, web-based teaching modules designed to educate the user about deafness and hearing loss.
“We are pleased to support this project because we are confident that the funds will benefit many children across the province,” adds Hunt.
Since 1957 the White Rock Elks have been investing in the community by supporting programs for children with disabilities and by providing financial assistance to families in need. The Elks value their role in helping local families.
Rexall Foundation Supports Deaf and Hard of Hearing Kids
Representatives from the Rexall Foundation paid a visit to preschoolers at BC Family Hearing Resource Society (BCFHRS), presenting them with a $10,000 donation to the Virtual Hearing Platform, an online educational program for families with deaf and hard of hearing children.
BC Family Hearing Resource Society, located in Surrey, is the largest non-profit in the province that provides services to deaf and hard of hearing infants, toddlers and preschoolers. With clients throughout the province, the organization is expanding the role of technology to meet the demands of a growing population.
“Every year 2-3 out of every 1,000 babies born in this province are diagnosed with hearing loss or deafness,” says Dr. Noreen Simmons, Executive Director of BCFHRS, “As a provincial organization we need to ensure that all families have access to information. This can be challenging at times, especially for families living in rural communities. Online education is a convenient, practical and cost effective way of supporting our families. We are very grateful to Rexall Foundation for this donation so that we can expand this platform.”
The Virtual Hearing Platform is a series of self-guided, web-based teaching modules that include lessons and videos on topics related to hearing loss and communication. The program is accessible to all families receiving services at BCFHRS and to professionals in the community working with deaf and hard of hearing children. The VHP is the first of its kind in BC. No other organization in the province offers this type of program to families with deaf and hard of hearing kids.
“We are so proud that our donation will help expand the technology used to give families access to the vital information and resources they need, when they need it, wherever they may be,” says Brian McLaughlin, Rexall Foundation, President. “It’s an honor to help BC Family Hearing in their mission to help each child reach their fullest potential.”
The Rexall Foundation is one of the ways Rexall gives back as a company and since 2002, the Foundation has been helping build strong and vibrant communities by supporting numerous charitable organizations. Whether it’s a community or children’s hospital or a disease prevention organization, the Rexall Foundation values the role it plays in helping support the delivery of numerous programs and services in Canada.
BCFHRS Staff Attend International Conference in Austria
Surrey, BC - BC Family Hearing Resource Society (BCFHRS) Early Intervention staff Carolyn Hawrish and Teresa Kazemir, attended the 2nd biannual international conference on Family Centred Early Intervention for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, from June 11 -13, 2014, in Bad Ischl, Austria.
FCEI 2014 boasted upwards of 350 delegates, 30 of whom were professionals who are also Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Another approximately 60 were parents of children with hearing loss. Participants came from countries all over the globe including South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, UK, Ireland, Spain and Russia.
The conference was a full-schedule with key themes such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and Hearing Loss, International Best Practice, Deaf Infusion and the Essential Role of Parents in their Children’s Development.
The highlight of the event was learning about how hearing loss is identified and what kinds of early intervention services are available in various countries around the world. For example, in Spain, there is no formal training program for professionals to work with children who have hearing loss. In other countries, they are still attempting to develop a system for newborn hearing screening. Three attendees of the conference were mothers from Ireland whose children have hearing loss. They started their own group program because no programs exist where they live.
In addition to being surrounded by professionals from around the world who all have the same mission as BCFHRS, “to help each child reach their fullest communication potential through family-centered, early intervention services”, the conference was a brilliant opportunity to reflect on how well the province of BC is addressing this mission. The programs and services offered in BC outpace many programs in Canada and internationally. However, there was still a lot to learn from this international forum in new ways of service-delivery, deaf infusion and increased parent involvement. For more information visit the website at www.fcei.at.
Surrey Fire Fighters Bring New Technology to Deaf Kids
Deaf and hard of hearing students at BC Family Hearing Resource Society (BCFHRS) are the first in the province to access the latest state-of-the-art hearing system, thanks to the help of the Surrey Firefighters Charitable Society (SFFCS).
Earlier this year, the company Phonak, a worldwide manufacturer of pediatric hearing technology, released Roger, a new digital wireless hearing system. Roger enhances the learning experience for children with a cochlear implant or hearing device by overcoming classroom noise and making it easier to understand the teacher.
“For students with hearing loss, background noise is a challenge in the classroom,” says BCFHRS Executive Director Dr. Noreen Simmons. “We offer a number of specialized group programs at our Centre for preschool aged children so it is imperative that we give our students the best technology. Technology changes very quickly and we are very pleased to work with the Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society to help us bring the latest technology to our students.”
The Roger system uses digital wireless technology to transmit the teacher’s voice directly to the student. The teacher uses a wireless microphone and a digital wireless receiver discretely connects to the student’s hearing device or cochlear implant. The result is students are able to better hear and understand the teacher in a noisy environment.
Simmons adds, “The preschool years are a critical time for the development of language and listening skills. This new technology will greatly benefit our young students.”
“We have been supporting BCFHRS and their work with deaf and hard of hearing children for over a decade now,” says Mike McNamara, president of the SFFCS. “We have seen firsthand how children have benefited from our support and we are honored to make another valuable contribution this year.”
For more information about the services and programs offered by BCFHRS, please contact Dr. Noreen Simmons at 604-584-2827.
Collaboration with other Early Intervention Agencies in British Columbia
Dr.Noreen Simmons has recently met with the executive directors of two other Early Intervention Agencies in BC. It seems that they had a great time during the collaboration meeting!
Picured from left to right: Janice Springford, M.Ed., M.A., Executive Director of the Deaf Children's Society; Dr. Noreen Simmons, Ph.D., M.Sc., RSLP, Executive Director of the BC Family Hearing Resource Society; Janet Weil, B.Sc. Speech Pathology and Audiology, M.A. Education of the Deaf, Executive Director of the Children's Hearing and Speech Centre of BC.
Please check back often for more exciting news and announcements.
Variety Brings Deaf Mentor Program to BC
BC Family Hearing Resource Society (BCFHRS) can now offer more support services to children with deafness and hearing loss in BC, thanks to a $25,000 grant from Variety – The Children’s Charity.
“Our Centre is the only agency in the province to offer the Deaf Mentor program,” explains BCFHRS Executive Director, Dr. Noreen Simmons. “Variety’s generosity has made this all possible.”
The Deaf Mentor program matches a deaf adult with a family who has a child with deafness or hearing loss. Through home, centre-based or webcam visits, the Deaf Mentor acts as a role model and provides individualized support. The mentor provides guidance and shares her personal experience with communication, perspectives on deafness and introduction to the Deaf culture. The program is designed to help families gain insight and understanding into the world of deafness.
“Variety is pleased to support this program,” says Barbie Hislop, Variety’s Executive Director. “This innovative program offers much needed support for families who have children who are deaf and hard of hearing and Variety is privileged to be the first to help bring it to our province.”
Since 2003, Variety has donated $375,000 to BCFHRS. Variety was one of the lead donors in the Society’s capital campaign which brought the first, state-of-the-art, sound proof building, designed specifically for people with deafness and hearing loss, to the province.
For more information about programs at BCFHRS or to make a donation, please contact us at 604-584-2827. To find out more about Variety – The Children’s Charity, visit www.variety.bc.ca or call 604-320-0505.