I scream! You scream! We all scream for Ice Cream! Once again, the “out of the box” idea of celebrating our 29th Guam CEDDERS Anniversary was a huge success in the “ice cream celebration” that was well attended on a warm and sunny afternoon on February 14th, 2022 on the Guam System for Assistive Technology (GSAT) grounds. Rain, shine, pandemic – there is no stopping Guam CEDDERS from celebrating the many meaningful activities that allow individuals with disabilities and their families to live better.
Can you believe that Guam CEDDERS has been in existence for 29 years? Yes, 29 years! Wow! Remember when we worked on Project Alula? Project Fona? Remember when we did the Sina Ham Manmacho’cho: We Can Work video in 2003? These were the conversations amongst smiling, ice cream licking faces of Guam CEDDERS supporters comprised of partners, friends, UOG Administration, and most especially Guam CEDDERS staff, who celebrated our 29th Anniversary with us. It was a moment of reminiscing about the long-gone days of past projects that made an impact on the lives of many, as well as a day of discussion of future partnerships that give continued meaning to life as Guam CEDDERS and its partners continue to make a difference in the lives of those we serve – individuals with disabilities and their families.
“An organization is only as strong as its people and partners. What makes Guam CEDDERS effective is the outstanding quality and commitment of our entire staff with the support of the community and partners.” – As shared in our 25th Anniversary Celebratory Booklet.
Many thanks to all for your friendship and partnership! Thank you for celebrating our 29th Guam CEDDERS Anniversary with us!
Guam Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (Guam EHDI) held two Guam EHDI 1-3-6 & Beyond Mini-Conferences on January 13 and January 22, 2022, at the Hotel Lotte Guam. Families, partner agencies, service providers, and daycare providers were among the attendees for the mini conferences. These mini conferences were the first face-to-face EHDI activities held in the community since February 2020. The mini-conference held on January 13, 2022, included a presentation by the Guam Department of Education (GDOE), Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Program personnel who shared information about the ECSE program staff; program services for children ages three to five who have been identified with developmental delays in speech and language, cognition, fine motor, gross motor, self help skills, personal and social skills, and hearing and vision; the referral and eligibility process; where and when services are delivered; and the transitioning process from ECSE to Kindergarten. GDOE Special Education personnel, also provided information on “Understanding the Individualized Education Program (IEP)”. The last of the 1-3-6 & Beyond Mini-Conferences was held on January 22 at the Lotte Hotel Guam. The Guam EHDI audiologist consultant shared with the audience the importance of meeting the Joint Committee of Infant Hearing (JCIH) 1-3-6 goals: all infants are screened by one month of age; infants who refer at the initial hearing screening receive a diagnostic audiological evaluation (DAE) by three months of age; infants diagnosed with a hearing loss are enrolled in early intervention services by six months of age; described the two types of hearing loss: sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss; demonstrated how quick, easy, and painless it is to conduct a hearing screening; and provided conference attendees an opportunity to participate in a hearing loss simulation. The audiologist also provided free hearing screening to conference participants interested in receiving a hearing screen. The afternoon ended with the GDOE Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) Coordinator providing an overview of all the special education services GDOE provides along with information on the eligibility criteria for special education services. A total of 50 parents, service providers, daycare staff, college students, DHH advocates and EHDI were present on both days.
The mini conferences preceded the Guam EHDI 1-3-6 and Beyond Conference at the Hilton Resort and Spa on February 4, a one-day event with a total of 69 participants in attendance. Presenters included the EHDI staff, Guam EHDI partners from Guam Memorial Hospital Authority, Sagua Mañagu Birthing Center, Guam Hearing Doctors (GHD), Guam’s Positive Parents Together (GPPT), GDOE GEIS, GDOE Special Education, and the GDOE Deaf and Hard of Hearing Coordinator. The conference provided information about Guam EHDI’s history, the JCIH 1-3-6 goals, the role each EHDI partner contributes to meet the JCIH 1-3-6 goals (GMHA, SMBC, GHD, GEIS, GPPT). GDOE personnel provided attendees with additional information about the following topics:
z GDOE – Guam Early Intervention System (GEIS): Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)
z GDOE – ECSE: An Overview of ECSE
z GDOE Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services
z GDOE Special Education – Introducing Secondary Transition in an IEP
z GHD – The audiologist’s role in the Guam EHDI Program, hearing screening, diagnostic evaluation, cochlear implants, and Cytomegalovirus (CMV).
The conference closed with a panel of two parents and an adult DHH advocate sharing their journey in the system, goals for their children, and the reflections of a DHH adult growing up in the educational system in Guam and in the mainland.
The last hour of the conference was set aside for the Guam EHDI Advisory Committee Meeting. EHDI staff reported on the progress of the grant Aims and Sub-aims and received feedback and recommendations from stakeholders. EHDI staff also presented hearing screening data that will be used to identify the population to focus on in the development of the “Guam EHDI Diversity and Inclusion Plan”.
On April 23 and 24, the GSAT Expo, “Uniting Our Community in A Changing World Through Assistive Technology,” took place at the Agana Shopping Center. Several community partners provided resources and information about their programs and services. Community partners included the Autism Community Together, Department of Public Health and Social Services, Elder Justice Center, Guam Community College, Guam Department of Education – Special Education Division, Guam Department of Labor, Guam Developmental Disabilities Council , Guam Early Hearing Detection and Intervention, Guam Legal Services Corporation – Disability Law Center, Guam Regional Transit Authority, HunterSpeaks, National Family Caregiver Support Program, and Office of the Public Guardian.