EHDI Conference Provides Valuable Resources

Continuing Education Developmental Disabilities Disability Studies Guam Early Hearing Detection & Intervention

In early March, a team of four embarked on flights from Guam to Kansas City, Missouri to attend the 2020 Annual Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Conference. The Guam Team consisted of Guam EHDI staff and a parent from Guam’s Positive Parents Together, Inc., the non-profit organization which provides Parent-to-Parent Support for families with children identified with a hearing loss. The Annual EHDI Conference gives participants the opportunity to learn new and relevant information related to EHDI, network with other professionals in the EHDI system, and participate in face to face meetings with each EHDI’s Project Manager and Quality Improvement Technical Assistance provider.

The four-day conference began with the Islands/Outlying Territories Meeting held on March 7. Representatives from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Palau, Hawaii, Virgin Islands, Marshall Islands, Puerto Rico, and Guam presented on their respective program successes for the grant year. Tony Ronco, a parent with California Hands & Voices facilitated a discussion on website development in preparation for the new EHDI grant year. Also present at the meeting were Leticia Manning representing HRSA; Marcus Gaffney representing Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and Karl White, and Alyson Ward representing National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM).

Over the next three days, the Guam EHDI Team planned their schedules to attend plenary and topical sessions that would assist the Guam EHDI Project in meeting its goals and objectives. While at the Conference, the team met with Bethany Applebaum, HRSA Project Manager for Guam EHDI, and Alyson Ward, Quality Improvement Director at NCHAM, to discuss the progress of the Guam EHDI Project and to provide guidance on how to address data concerns for new grant objectives in light of the loss of CDC funding for territories not meeting the minimum birth rate requirements for continued grant funding.

On March 9, the Guam Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (Guam EHDI) Team break posed for a photo after attending the Opening Plenary Session of the Annual EHDI Conference held in Kansas City Missouri. Pictured (Left to Right): Ann Marie Cruz, Board President, Guam’s Positive Parents Together, Inc. (GPPT); with Guam CEDDERS Michelle Aguigui, Associate Director; Marie Wusstig, Training Associate; and Joseph Mendiola, Interoperability Data Manager.
On March 10, the Guam EHDI Team met with JJ Whicker, an audiologist at Primary Children’s Hospital during the Annual EHDI Meeting in Kansas City, Missouri. Mr. Whicker volunteered his time and expertise as an audiologist for The CARE Project of North Carolina as the lead facilitator for the CARE Team that came to Guam in November 2019 to facilitate the Guam CARE Project Family Retreat. Pictured Front Row, (Left to Right): Ann Marie Cruz, Board President, GPPT, Marie Wusstig, Training Associate, Guam CEDDERS. Back Row, Left to Right: JJ Whicker, AuD. and Joseph Mendiola, Interoperability Data Manager, Guam CEDDERS .
On March 9, the Guam EHDI team met with the HRSA EHDI Project Manager in Kansas City, Missouri to discuss progress of the Guam EHDI project. Pictured (left-right) Michelle Aguigui, Associate Director, Guam CEDDERS, JJ Mendiola, Interoperability Data Manager, Guam CEDDERS, Bethany Applebaum, HRSA Project Manager, and Marie Wusstig, Training Associate, Guam CEDDERS.

GSAT Hosts 26th Annual Assistive Technology Fair “Leading Our 2020 Vision”

Community Services: Demonstration Services Developmental Disabilities Guam Systems for Assistive Technology Information Dissemination Self-Advocacy

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and one of the highlights of the month is the Guam System for Assistive Technology (GSAT) Fair. This year’s theme, “Assistive Technology: Leading Our 2020 Vision,” showcased the advancements in technology and services available for the commuity. GSAT, in collaboration with the Guam Developmental Disabilities Council (GDDC) and Guam Legal Services Corporation-Disability Law Center (GLS-DLC), held the fair on March 7 at Agana Shopping Center.

The fair gave the public an opportunity to network with service providers and learn about available services and programs. There were twenty-eight vendors who participated in the fair. They included various programs from the Department of Public Health and Social Services , Guam Client Assistance Program, WestCare Pacific Islands, Office of the Public Guardian, Ross Hearing Aids, Helen Keller National Center / ICanConnect Program, Guam American Sign Language – Machanao Congregation, Guma’ Mami, Inc., Guam Department of Education Student Parent Community Engagement Project, Guam Community College Office of Accommodative Services, Autism Community Together, Department of Integrated Service for Individuals with Disabilities, Health Services of the Pacific, The Medical City, Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center, Phil MD – St. Lukes Medical Center, Parents Empowering Parents, Pacific Human Resource Services Inc., and TOHGE (Transforming Guahan through Healing, Growth, & Enrichment). Vendors were given an opportunity to present brief descriptions of their agency/organization. American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters were present to assist with communication for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH). AT devices and equipment were on hand for participants to try out with assistance provided by Guam CEDDERS staff.

Maria Bontogon and Rodney Calimlim, both individuals with disabilities, were available to demonstrate the devices they use to access information and help them perform activities of daily living. The fair also showcased The Guam Community College ASL students who performed songs in sign language and the “MagicMan” show with Wally Wusstig.

Si Yu’os Ma’ase to the staff, vendors, and participants who made the fair a successful event.

Highlights from the Assistive Technology Fair

Guest Speakers Share Experiences with Social Work Class

CEDDERS CORE Continuing Education Developmental Disabilities Disability Studies Self-Advocacy
On February 28, the Social Work class of Terrie Fejarang and Michelle Aguigui were honored to have Tashia Hanley (standing), as a guest speaker. Ms. Hanley, an individual who is deaf, shared her life growing up in Oregon and her experiences when she moved to Guam.
On February 21, the Social Work class of Ms. Terrie Fejarang and Michelle Aguigui was fortunate to have Ms. Myra Aguon, a passionate advocate for individuals with disabilities, present her various experiences as an individual who is deaf and how people can communicate with community members who are deaf and hard of hearing.
On March 06, Alina Butler (standing), a student majoring in Social Work, shared her very emotional journey in growing up with a disability, dealing with self-esteem issues, and how she was able to overcome these challenges.

The Pacific Disability Forum Takes an Interactive AT Tour of GSAT

Community Services: Technical Assistance Developmental Disabilities Disability Studies
On March 2, the Pacific Disability Forum members visited Guam System for Assistive Technology (GSAT). GSAT Center Coordinator, Leah Abelon, facilitated a presentation on available devices, equipment, and services provided by GSAT. Participants were given a tour of the GSAT Demonstration Center and Model Home. Participants included the North Pacific Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities-Sustainable Development Goals (CRPD-SGDs) Training, from Palau, Yap, Guam, Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae and the Marshall Islands. The Pacific Disability Forum is a regional body governed by persons with disabilities from the Pacific and works with organizations run by persons
with disabilities to improve the lives of persons with disabilities in the Pacific.