By: VaSeana Moran M.S., CCC-SLP

As a speech language pathologist (SLP), we work with a variety of populations. In graduate school we learn and discuss different types of populations our field potentially works with. For example, many of us probably had an Aural Rehabilitation class to acquire more in-depth knowledge about hearing loss, amplification systems (e.g. hearing aids, cochlear implant, etc.), and assessment and treatment from a SLP’s perspective to support children or adults who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) in everyday life. I am not sure if I can just speak for myself, but once we’re in the field, I’ve realized two things. 1. What you don’t use, you lose (or just can’t immediately recall information) and 2. What I perceived as in-depth information was just the basics! Again, it may just be me! However, it was not until I worked in early intervention (EI), or working with children from birth-3 years, when I received a child on my caseload who was 2 months of age and received behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids. The parents were seeking education of hearing aids, support groups, and how life could potentially look for their child over the course of their childhood and adulthood. With any age of child, family support is key. As a provider in early intervention, support can look different than providing education or intervention strategies. At times it is about listening to the parents’ needs, which may have nothing to do with intervention strategies, but connection to peers or families sharing similar experiences. So, as an SLP or provider, what is part of our role working with DHH families? To become familiar with our local organizations and support groups for the families we are servicing! As many people say….”It takes a village!”. To help parents and/or providers in the DMV area who are a part of a village for a DHH child, I wanted to share and highlight a couple of local organizations that offer a safe space and personal, emotional, or professional support. 

Hands and Voices

A parent group based out of Colorado turned into a non-profit national organization dedicated to providing community and support to parents of deaf and hard of hearing children/families. They have 50+ state chapters across the U.S., including the DMV. Check out their websites below. 

1. MD/DC Chapter 

Guide By Your Side (GBYS) Mentorship – specially trained parents of deaf and hard of hearing children who are paired with families who just received a hearing diagnosis for their child/children who act as a “Guide” to provide support, information, and share experiences. 

Connections Beyond Sight and Sounds

A partnership with Maryland Department of Education and The University of Maryland, College Park that is dedicated to supporting deaf-blindness and/or cortical visual impairment across environments. They provide consultation, training, special programs, resources, and technical assistance to children, their families,  and care providers

 Highlighting Social Groups and Academic Spaces for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children


As an SLP, working with any child, we are eager to address speech, language, and social development at all ages. Social development looks different at all ages. It’s our role to explain to parents how to create opportunities or seek out spaces that are best to support a child in building their social skills among familiar and unfamiliar adults and same-aged peers. Working with DHH families, part of our role is to bring awareness and expose families to social groups, play groups, early learning programs, or schools in the area for their children to experience social interactions among adults and children who may or may not be DHH. Below I highlighted a few in the DMV area.

Gallaudet: Kendall Demonstration Elementary School
Kendall is a school located on Gallaudet University’s campus (the only college in the world devoted to Deaf students). The school includes an Early Childhood Education (ECE) program as well as grades K-8th. The ECE program is composed of three programs including: Birth-to-3, Preschool, Pre-kindergarten. The program serves DHH children and families and teaches and monitors the development of American Sign Language (ASL) and English. For more information click the link below to visit their website.


-Facebook/Instagram: Kendall Demonstration Elementary School/ @kdeswildcats


The River School
1. Parent-Infant Program is a free resource for DHH families. Parents along with their child or children meet weekly to receive education related to hearing, share experiences, and engage in fun activities led by a multidisciplinary team. For more information and meeting dates for this year, check out the website and contact information below:


-Number: 202-337-3554

2. Morning Preschool Program begins at 18 months and offers children learning opportunities in a classroom co-taught by an educator and a speech language pathologist. Check out more information at the website below:
Facebook/Instagram: The River School/ @theriverschool

Facebook – ASL Playgroups
Families from local towns and cities come together and create social networking groups on Facebook to support one another. Facebook is home to a few ASL Playgroup pages in the area. Below I listed the name of each page:
-ASL Playgroup
-ASL Storytime Playgroup (Ashburn, VA)
-Homeschool ASL Playgroup

If you’re a provider or parent in the DMV area, I hope this creates a starting point for supporting your student or child in their social development.