On February 11, CEDDERS staff participated in the Freedom Park Swap Meet to disseminate information about the Guam System for Assistive Technology (GSAT) and Guam Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (GEHDI) Project. Public awareness activities are essential for the Guam System for Assistive Technology to communicate information on services provided by GSAT to promote change, inclusion, and build capacity. These activities aim to educate the public about assistive technology, increase access and acquisition of assistive technology (AT) devices and services. The CEDDERS Team demonstrated assistive technology devices for vision, hearing, learning, mobility, and leisure. The staff distributed over 300 GSAT and Guam Preschool Development Grant (PDG) Birth-Five bags containing GSAT, Akudi Loan, GEHDI, and Guam Developmental Disabilities Council (GDDC) brochures; informational brochures on Cytomegalovirus, iCanconnect flyers for combined vision & hearing loss, 311 flyers, pens, catalogs, and books for children 1-3 years old.
Seated facing camera (L-R): Patricia Perez, A.T. Center Assistant, Yeon Sook Park, UOG Social Work Intern, and Tanya Simer, EHDI Hearing Screening Facilitator. Standing: Leah Abelon, CEDDERS Project Coordinator.
The Guam Department of Education (GDOE) in partnership with Autism Community Together (ACT), the University of Guam School of Education (SOE), the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE), and Guam CEDDERS, held a week long series of work team sessions facilitated by consultants from NASDSE. The work teams focused on GDOE’s State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG), Project Hita Para Mo’na. The project is funded by a grant from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) that aims to assist GDOE in improving professional and family learning of all stakeholders in order to increase outcomes for all students.
The on-site sessions for Project Hita Para Mo’na facilitated by NASDSE consultants ran through February 19 – February 25. The visiting consultants comprised of the following professionals: John Eisenberg – NASDSE Executive Director, Joanne Cashman – former Director of the IDEA Partnership at NASDSE, Luann Purcell – former Executive Director of the Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE), Patti Solomon – Parent Mentor Program Creator in Georgia schools, Robyn Hansen – Educational Consultant and Assistant Professor of Practice (Northern Arizona University) , and Arlene Russell – SIGMA Associates Incorporated. During the sessions, partners and stakeholders participated in learning more about how Leading by Convening can support the engagement and partnerships between home (families), community, and early childhood and school programs. Leading by Convening is a framework that emphasizes that everybody is a leader, and everybody is a learner. The framework is centered on the “Blueprint for Engagement,” in which stakeholders come together around shared concerns, ensure relevant participation, and do the work together with the goal of supporting children in reaching their full potential in literacy as they develop through early intervention, preschool, elementary school, middle school, and then completing their high school education with a diploma in the hopes of pursuing post-secondary goals such as college, vocational training, or other life opportunities. The Leading by Convening framework embodies the tenets of Project Hita Para Mo’na which in CHamoru means “moving forward together.” The goals of the project center on making certain that a process is created that is informed by all stakeholders thus ensuring that all voices are heard.
The visit kicked off with a parent session hosted by ACT and facilitated by the NASDSE consultants. The session titled “Engaging Families: Leading by Convening!” was held at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa. Patti Solomon, NASDSE partner and parent of an adult child with autism, shared how professional and family learning can lead to successful outcomes. Parents and other participants learned about the Leading by Convening framework as a way to engage families in becoming collaborative partners with a shared mission of supporting children in reaching their full potential in literacy.
It is the new normal. Virtual technical assistance and training activities continue to support the entity special education programs increase their personnel capacity to provide special education and related services. Through entity-specific contracts, Guam CEDDERS continues to support the development and implementation of virtual technical assistance and training activities prioritized by each entity.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has affected many aspects of life which has restricted large gatherings for the last two years. The Guam Preschool Development Grant Birth to Five (Guam PDG B-5) under the Department of Public Health & Social Services had planned to conduct Village Play Time events in 6 villages on island. Village Play Time is a collaboration across various early childhood programs which promotes the overall positive development of children by encouraging developmentally appropriate play activities between parents/caregivers and their children. In addition, one of the outcomes of the Project Minetgot Year 2 workplan is to produce informational videos on developmentally appropriate practices for young children. The main purpose of the videos is to promote positive interactions between parents/caregivers and their children through play.
In December 2021, Project Minetgot, Guam PDG B-5, and other early childhood programs came together to discuss fulfilling the outcomes for both Village Play Time and the informational videos. Thus, the Virtual Village Play Time video series was created.
The activities shown in the videos feature local families engaging in activities that stimulate all areas of a child’s development. Most importantly, the videos show parents/caregivers building positive social and emotional interactions, which is vital to a child’s healthy growth and development. These videos remind parents that play is how children learn and encourages parents/ caregivers to go out and play with their children in their natural settings.
The videos are available for viewing on the Guam Early Learning Council’s social media pages @guamelc on Facebook and Instagram and the Guam CEDDERS website.
February 1st was the deadline for each entity to submit its Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Annual Performance Report (APR) to the USDOE Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). This year’s submission also included the new cycle of the State Performance Plan (SPP) which required setting new targets for reporting periods Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2020 – FFY 2025, where required. Through entity-specific contracts, Guam CEDDERS supported the development of the SIP/APR for Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), and Republic of Palau (ROP). This year’s SPP/APR submission deadline also included each entity’s State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP). A key development requirement is to ensure stakeholder engagement in the development of the SPP/ APR, including each entity’s advisory panel for special education and the interagency coordinated council for early intervention, comprised of representatives from various agencies, parents of children with disabilities, and individuals with disabilities, as required. Congratulations to ALL entities for submitting timely their SPP/APR by February 1st!
Once again through the collaborative efforts of the Tri-agencies, which is comprised of Guam Developmental Disabilities Council (GDDC), Guam Legal Services – Disability Law Center (GLS-DLC), and Guam CEDDERS, and the GDDC members planned many advocacy and awareness activities in celebration of Developmental Disabilities Month in March. With Mrs. Monica Limtiaco, GDDC Council Chairperson, taking the lead, the national theme, “World’s Imagine” was utilized and localized to “World’s Imagine – I Can.” The idea behind the localized theme was to showcase the individual abilities of individuals with disabilities in performing different activities and tasks.
Some of the activities included the advocacy posters that highlighted the successes of individuals with disabilities. The production of videos that showed the “I Can” skills of various individuals, such as cooking, playing, bowling, and using the computer. Many thanks to the participants of the videos and the service providers who ensured that the skills of individuals with disabilities were highlighted. Thank you to the poets who submitted poems on topics of their fancy. Thank you to Guam CEDDERS Media Staff for the creation of the products – customized design of the “World’s Imagine” theme, posters, and videos. Thank you to the Department of Public Health & Social Services and GLS-DLC for the procurement of the T-shirts that depicted the Latte Stone design, which signified our strength and resilience not only as CHamoru, but individuals with disabilities who continue to be resilient despite the many challenges to accessibility and services. Last but not the least, as a culminating activity, the GDDC Advocacy wave, in front of the GDDC office was well supported by the Tri-Agency, GDDC Council members, and Marine Drive “honkers.”
The GDDC Awareness Celebration is a prime example that with imagination and teamwork, the resilient and persistent drive of GDDC Council members to show the island community that individuals with disabilities can do many things was not detoured by the pandemic. It even motivated and inspired the council members to plan for a more extensive and meaningful celebration for next year’s GDDC Celebration!
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.
The Guam Department of Education (GDOE) and Guam CEDDERS continue their work with consultant, Dr. Laurie Vismara.Dr. Vismara has continued to provide training to Guam Early Intervention System (GEIS) providers on the implementation of the Parent-based Early Start Denver Model (P-ESDM) framework.P-ESDM is an approach which focuses on coaching parents and caregivers to develop their skills and strategies in using the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM). The January and February sessions with Dr. Vismara focused on developing the coaching skills of GEIS providers in supporting parents in increasing their child’s communication. This process includes helping parents increase their use and understanding of children’s “talking bodies”. The training also included helping providers problem-solve their potential needs or barriers to support families increase their child’s communication.Follow-up sessions were facilitated by on-island consultant Elaine Eclavea and Guam CEDDERS Josephine Cruz to support GEIS providers as they applied the P-ESDM strategies in their coaching practices.
On January 21, a P-ESDM follow-up session was conducted with GEIS providers.Top row, L-R:Sangi Susuico, GEIS, GDOE; Josephine Cruz, Associate Director, Guam CEDDERS; Grace Loyola, GEIS; Middle row, L-R:Sherry Cruz, GEIS, GDOE; Rita-Rose Hualde, GEIS, GDOE; Gajee Parsons, GEIS, GDOE; Bottom row, L-R:Elaine Eclavea, Guam CEDDERS consultant; Liz Blas, GEIS Speech and Language Pathologist.