The transition from early intervention services to Kindergarten is a significant one. Our PEER program was created to ease that transition for both parents and their deaf and hard-of-hearing children.
Heading off to school is the start of a new and exciting adventure. But it can also be a challenging time for many children. Because of this, our PEER program aims to support families going to Kindergarten a full year before they start school.
The PEER program is designed to educate parents about how to effectively advocate for their child’s specific needs as related to hearing loss in school settings. The sessions are delivered by highly trained staff including Teachers of the Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing, Speech & Language Pathologists, a Listening & Spoken Language Therapist and our Family Support Parents. PEER is available to both local & outreach families and teaches parents about the challenges deaf and hard-of-hearing children face in school settings. These challenges present themselves in many ways and research shows that children with hearing loss are at risk for social, emotional and academic difficulties. PEER can help families recognize signs and symptoms of these issues and help alleviate any potential fears about entering Kindergarten. This program also provides an opportunity for parents to ask questions and engage in discussion with staff and other parents (past and present) who are also experiencing or who have already experienced this journey.
The PEER program consists of 7 evening parent sessions, once a month, from October through April. Local families join in person at our Main Surrey Centre while outreach families can participate online.
In May, families are then invited to join us at our Main Surrey Centre, for our 3-day PEER workshop. This is a chance for all of the parents, who have been participating in the PEER evening sessions (local & outreach), to meet in person and to have the opportunity, through panels, to hear from and ask questions of, parents, hard-of-hearing youth and/or young adults and hearing professionals providing equipment and support to your child. Parents will also learn about the supports available to your family as you leave your early intervention years. 3-day PEER also offers a classroom experience for children and parents will have the opportunity to observe their child in an accessible classroom setting as their child gets to know other children who have hearing loss and who use hearing aids, DM’s and cochlear implants. You will see firsthand how the children are being encouraged to take responsibility for their own equipment and listening checks, are taught to advocate for themselves in challenging listening situations, and are encouraged to become the “Boss of their Hearing Loss!”
Find more information about this year’s PEER program HERE. BCFHRC Families with children entering school in September 2019 are eligible to attend.