In April, five parents and I presented at the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Conference in Glendale, Arizona. THANKS to generous donations from many contributors, NINE parents attended the conference in total. Today, we received evaluation results from our presentation, "The Real Story: First-Hand Experiences with Universal Newborn Hearing Screening."
Sixty-seven people completed evaluations!! On a scale of 1-5, with 5 as "excellent,” we received a 4.48 in Overall Quality. Some of the comments that audience members shared on their evaluations included, "Great to hear the parents point of view! Thank you!"; "The speakers were fabulous!"; "Could/should have been a 1-hour presentation." ;"Wonderful variety of parent experiences.";"Great info for new parents and professionals!"; and "Listen to families… Will it ever happen?"
As a professional, this last comment really resonates with me. As I reflect on my own professional practice, I wonder, “Do I listen to families enough?” I wonder, “What can professionals and parents do together to ensure we have opportunities to listen to each other, and allow that information to positively impact our behaviors?” It seems to me that professionals do “listen” to families, but do we “really” listen? I actually heard a group of families at the EHDI conference say they tell their early intervention teachers that they don’t use sign language, even though at home they really do!
I think we often hear what we want to hear, and have lots of opportunities for “listening” better.