A Hearing Loss Podcast: Episode 39 Featuring Carrie Balian Notes and Transcript

Episode 39 Featuring Carrie Balian Show Notes

(Read the episode transcript below)

On episode #39 of All Ears at Child’s Voice: A Hearing Loss Podcast, Wendy and Haley sit down with Carrie Balian about her advocacy work supporting other parents of children with hearing loss. Carrie is a mom to five, whose oldest son Jack was born deaf. She is a coordinator of the Illinois Guide By Your Side Program, and serves on both the Illinois Universal Newborn Screening Advisory Committee and Illinois Hands and Voices board. Guide By Your Side provides free one on one support through trained parent guides to families with kids who have been diagnosed with hearing loss. Wendy, Haley, and Carrie discuss how to support parents going through a new hearing loss diagnosis and the resources that are available to everyone.

For more info about Illinois Hands and Voices and the Guide By Your Side program, check out their website, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Support the Illinois chapter of Hands and Voices! They have a casino night coming up on January 28, 2023. Find more info HERE.

Episode Transcript:

Haley: [00:00:00] Welcome to All Ears At Child Choice, a podcast discussing all things hearing loss. We aim to connect parents of children with hearing loss with the professionals who serve them. And now to start the show. 

Wendy: Welcome to All Ears at Child’s Voice. I’m Wendy Deters. 

Haley: And I’m Haley Gubbins. Today on the show we talk to Carrie Balian.

Haley: Carrie is the coordinator of our state Guide by Your Side program. She has presented to groups nationwide and co-authored several publications. Carrie currently serves as a member on the Illinois Universal Newborn Screening Advisory Committee and the Illinois Hands and Voices Board, and has also participated as a parent professional on the national and statewide learning collaborative work groups.

Haley: She’s a graduate of the Hands and Voices Leadership to Leadership Program. Carrie, thank you so much for being here and we are so excited to have you on the show. 

Carrie: Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to get my [00:01:00] first podcast underway. Super exciting. 

Haley: So before we jump into the main discussion, we like asking each of our guests to share a little story from this past week.

Haley: So it could be anything to help the listeners learn a little bit something about you. Do you have something cute or funny or heartwarming that comes to mind? 

Carrie: Yeah, so, um, we are a large family, so there’s always something happening. Um, we’re actually getting another puppy tomorrow too, so we’re just adding to the mix.

Carrie: But, uh, so last week our youngest kiddo, Luke and I, were heading to school. Um, he’s in kindergarten and holds conversations. Like an adult. Seriously, his teacher calls him the mayor of kindergarten. Uh, so anyway, he says to me, mom, in class, we were showing our teacher the number three with our fingers.

Carrie: And I hold them like this, like we do at home. And he shows me that he has his thumb and his pointer finger and his middle finger up. And he goes, but [00:02:00] everyone else holds them like this. And then he shows me the pointer, middle finger and ring fingers. And I say to him, well, both ways are correct, however, we do the three, like the way you did it, because that is how three is done in sign language.

Carrie: Um, the way your classmates do it is actually a w in sign language. And so then he says, oh, that makes sense, . Oh, and it was just so cute because, you know, you just, he’s so observant of those things and you don’t think of having to. Yeah, 

Haley: that is very true. I hope 

Carrie: he goes back to kindergarten and 

Wendy: says this is three in sign 

Carrie: language and this is a W.

Carrie: Yeah, I would love that. He probably will. . Yes, 

Haley: probably. I mean, he sounds pretty observant and I’m sure he is gonna go in and explain the difference, so yeah. That’s really cute. That’s very sweet. 

Wendy: I think that’s a good way to kind of start off our conversation. You told a, a story about your [00:03:00] youngest. So tell us a little bit more about your family.

Wendy: You have dual roles in the world of hearing loss as many of us do. So tell us a little bit more about your, your family life. 

Carrie: Yeah, I mean, what mom doesn’t like to brag about their family? Right. uh, I am lucky to be the mom of five. I’ve been married, uh, to my sweetheart for over 25 years now, and our oldest Jack was born deaf.

Carrie: Um, and that’s kind of how I came into the area of having dual roles, uh, within the world of hearing loss. We were shocked when we were told that Jack had passed this hearing. We had no family history that we knew of, and we thought for sure they had made a mistake. Um, what we didn’t know at that time was that over 90% of children born with a hearing loss were born to hearing parents just like us.

Carrie: So with that being said, who knows how long it would’ve been. Uh, before everyone picked up on that he wasn’t making progress [00:04:00] or that he wasn’t hearing. So for that alone, we were so grateful for newborn hearing screening, um, because Jack was able to access this resource and support so much earlier. And, and in fact, like I said, I’m a seasoned parent.

Carrie: We’ve been married 25 years, so Jack is now 21. And back when he was born and diagnosed, they were just starting to start the, uh, hearing screening in the hospitals. It wasn’t mandated quite at that point, but the hospital had their a game on and they were already had their ducks in a row. Um, and in fact, he was one of the first to not pass at that hospital.

Carrie: Oh, wow. Uh, so it was a learning experience for us all. He’s born in 

Wendy: 2000. Yeah. Right. And the law in Illinois started in 2001, right? 

Haley: Yep. Yeah. Well, that’s amazing that that hospital was on top of it because, and like you said, Who knows how long it would’ve been, and that’s something that, you know, we don’t necessarily see [00:05:00] as much because it’s a mandated thing, unless it’s a progressive hearing loss.

Haley: Finding that right away in a hospital that like they’re doing this before it’s even mandated, was probably a godsend to you guys because you would’ve waited that, you know, until you noticed like, oh, he wasn’t talking or he wasn’t turning his head. So that’s awesome that they started that and they 

Carrie: were doing.

Carrie: Yeah, we were truly blessed with that. So 

Haley: we talked a little bit about your family and we talked about how you’re kind of this dual perspective in the hearing loss world and in our introduction we talked about Guide by your Side. Now can you describe what Guide by Your side is, since some of our listeners may not be familiar with this program, so can you tell us a little bit more about it and what support Guide by Your side.

Carrie: Yeah, absolutely. Guide By Your Side is a national program of Hands and Voices. They provide free one-on-one support and resources through trained parent guides to families with a child who has been diagnosed with a hearing loss. Now, not every state has a Guide by Your [00:06:00] Side program. However, they should have.

Carrie: Some kind of family-based organization to provide resources or direct support. Um, like I mentioned a, about a parent guide. We connect families with a parent guide, basically giving them that go-to person to answer questions, provide resources, and if they’re asked, they can share about their experiences.

Carrie: Um, from their journey of raising a child with a hearing loss, uh, we find that families chat with the parent guide in a combination of ways such as over the phone, email, text, even through Zoom. There’s no set schedule or set topics to discuss. The parent guides really tailor their discussions and sharing to the individual needs of the families.

Carrie: We know that as humans, we kind of all experience emotions and experiences in different ways and at different times. So our support meets the families where they’re at. We’ve even had guides meet with the parents and grandparents of the child. Overall, [00:07:00] we just wanna support the whole family, address the concerns, 

Haley: questions, and needs.

Haley: So when your son was diagnosed back in 2000, was this even a concept that you had or is that kind of how you got involved with Guide by Your Side? Because we know it takes a village, especially you mentioned that statistics. 90% of children with hearing loss were born to hearing parents. And so how did you kind of fall into this?

Haley: Was it something that you were given or it was something you were needing, you know, way back when, when this first all started?

Carrie: Yeah. Well, I kind of stumbled into the role of parent support. Well, Jack was in school. I was kind of in need of something to do, um, until it was time for us to make our hour drive back home.

Carrie: So I started as a classroom aide, but then learned about the early intervention role of a parent liaison. So I presented the idea to the school. I became credentialed and started providing parent-to-parent support that way. And then because I was in that role, I started to participate in statewide meetings and conferences and just happened to be at a meeting where they were [00:08:00] discussing bringing a formal parent-to-parent statewide program to Illinois.

Carrie: And then I guess the rest was history. I just, I love helping families find their way. I’ve, I, I’ve honestly dreamt of kind of waiting in the wings of the hospital for those babies that don’t pass to let the families know like, Hey, it’s gonna be okay. You know, you. End up with a diagnosis, you might not.

Carrie: Let’s just figure it out. Uh, so that’s, yeah, that’s how I kind of rolled into the role.  Yeah. 

Wendy: That sort of brings up a really interesting, when you talk about being in the hospital the way that Guide by Your Side. The referral process has changed, has been really incredible, and there’s been an a really exciting change in how the referral procedure works in Illinois.

Wendy: Can you talk a bit about that? 

Carrie: Yeah, so when we first started our Guide by Your Side program, we were an OPT-in PRO program, meaning, Families had to find us or hear about us from someone in order to [00:09:00] know that we could support them. So it wasn’t, we were there, um, but we weren’t well utilized. In early 2020, we actually signed a D B A at doing business as agreement with our Illinois EHDI program.

Carrie: And EHDI is early hearing detection and intervention. Um, they’re within the Illinois Department of Public Health. And any programs are responsible for that screening and diagnosis of newborns, um, in the hospital and afterwards. So this agreement that we sign allows us to receive referrals directly now from our Illinois EHDI program, basically switching us from opt-in to optout.

Carrie: And so every week we get contact information from newly diagnosed families that we reach out to, and our purpose is to answer questions, help them understand those professionals and um, programs that are reaching out to them, how they can help them. And then to offer parent-to-parent support through Guide by Your Side.[00:10:00] 

Carrie: And the reason behind this ship was due to the change in the 1-3-6 goals of any programs. And if you’re not familiar, the one stands for, um, screening by one month of age. The three stands for diagnosis of a hearing loss by three months of age, and the six is for the child to be enrolled in early intervention services by six months of age.

Carrie: And these are national benchmarks of all EHDI programs and best practices outlined by the J-C-H, which is the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing. However, in 2019, uh, the position statement of J-C-H added in parent to parent support should be offered by six months. So that six has dual purpose now. Um, and so that’s kind of how we arrived to this agreement and becoming an opt-out program.

Carrie: We kicked off in July, 2020 and we’ve been soaring since then. In that first full year of our partnership, we had [00:11:00] 175 families enroll in our program, giving us a 228% increase in enrollment from our previous year, which is, phenomenal, all those families that we were able to touch and point in the right direction.

Haley: That is such a jump, and I think that’s such a great jump and I love that it’s an opt out instead of an opt in because I think parents probably are so, I mean, not probably, I know they’re so overwhelmed after they get that this diagnosis and they might not realize it in that moment of how important it is to get this parent to parent support.

Haley: So I love that it makes it so much more accessible to everybody. You don’t have to look for it. It’s given to you. So, ok. Off of that, why do you think parent to parent support is so important in this process?

Carrie: Oh man. Uh, I often say we don’t know what we don’t know. Early on in our journey with Jack, I quickly realized that I couldn’t go to my sister or my best friend, or even my mom for [00:12:00] advice.

Carrie: They didn’t have experience raising a child with hearing loss. They couldn’t provide the tips on how to keep him from pulling out the hearing aids. Uh, they couldn’t relate to our emotions and the decisions that we were navigating. Um, and honestly, there’s just so much relief from just being able to talk to someone else where you don’t have to explain.

Carrie: What kind of test is going to be done, and what decisions do you have to make to just have somebody listen and offer insight to what is happening, what the next steps are. Offer ideas and suggestions. Sometimes, you know, something they’ve tried or thinking outside of the box. Essentially, you kinda have that crystal ball as to what the road ahead looks like.

Carrie: And I can’t tell you how many times parents have commented to me that you’re the phone call. I didn’t know I need it. Yeah, absolutely. 

Wendy: Yeah. Took off what, um, Haley was saying before we’ve. You know, in early intervention notice, just a huge benefit to Guide by Your Side and having that one, that [00:13:00] one simple step of the parent having to make a phone call to someone, calling them without having to do anything.

Wendy: Cuz even us saying, oh, this is such a wonderful program, would you like us to make the referral for you? I can’t tell you how many times parents would say like, oh, I’m not quite ready yet. But like you said, they may not even know that they’re ready until they hear that, you know, friendly voice on, on the other end of the line.

Wendy: So yeah, it’s been, it’s been absolutely great. You know, when we talk about parent to parent support and, and what we can do, um, What parents can do to support each other in this really challenging time. We talk a lot about these cycles of grief and need for support at different times. Not only, you know, right after diagnosis, but everything might be fine for a while, and then your child turns three and you have to figure out where they’re going to preschool.

Wendy: So what does, what does that look like for you as a parent and, and what have you heard from your guides supporting 

Carrie: [00:14:00] Yeah. You know, there are so many emotions and, and cycles. It’s a constant rollercoaster. You’re right, you, you finally get everything squared away. You’re in early dimension things, sort of like clockwork.

Carrie: And then whoop, they turn three and your, your providers change, your routine changes and it’s a lot to manage. Um, and so, There are, um, a number of emotions, you know, grief and the guilt, kind of, I think parents experience. I know when, um, Jack was diagnosed, immediately thought back to my, through my pregnancy and what did I do or how did this happen?

Carrie: How could I have prevented this? Um, you know, I mentioned before that I’m a mom of five. Jack is our oldest. There happens to be a nine year gap between him and our next kiddo. Um, that’s why I said I was married for 25 years, no change in parents. But unfortunately in [00:15:00] 2013, our fourth child, Lily was still born at 38 weeks and it really was a difficult time, um, for us trying to figure out how we were gonna navigate our.

Carrie: Manage our emotions and still parent our other three children. How do we still keep moving? And grief is tricky. It kind of comes outta nowhere. We have guilt in the moments when we’re not grieving, when we actually find joy. Um, and then you get to friends and family who don’t really know how to respond and support you.

Carrie: Some of them overdo it. Some of them totally back away and they’re, they’re lost. And honestly, it was because of my role in Guide by Your Side and knowing how important support was for us. That’s how we moved forward and navigated that new normal. We connected with a baby loss group and had a safe place to openly share our feelings and gain experience and knowledge from those who lost before us.

Carrie: We can’t predict what way our paths are gonna go, but [00:16:00] we can learn from the experiences of others and decide where to go from there. And that’s, to me, that’s what parent to parent support is. It’s just helping you find your way, not telling you what to do. Just helping you find your footing so that you can do it.

Haley: That was a beautiful, beautiful way to say it. I going back to, I think you said we, I don’t know exactly what it was, but you know, you can’t go through it together or you’re going through it together no matter what it is like that is such a good way to go about this because there’s so many avenues, especially in any sort of child life.

Haley: Like there’s different expectations or there’s different struggles or challenges, but especially in the world of hearing loss, there’s so many directions. There’s so many ways to go. You have so many people telling you what to do or they don’t know what to do, and so that parent to parent support is this personal.

Haley: Story that’s like, I’m not here to tell you this is just what we did. And I think that is so important, um, in, in any sense of the word with any [00:17:00] child, but especially with hearing loss.

Carrie: Yeah, for sure. 

Wendy: Terry, how are the guides, the parent guides trained? Because it is so hard not to just even in everyday conversation, just to relate everything back to your own story, but I’m sure you do that training where you’re teaching that unbiased support.

Wendy: So what. training do the guides go through and how do you counsel, I’m sure you do a lot of 

Haley: support 

Wendy: to the guides, 

Carrie: so how does that work? Yeah, there is a lot of training because our program, we strive for unbiased support. Again, we’re not telling parents what they should or shouldn’t do. We’re gonna let them make the decisions that work for best for them.

Carrie: So when a parent guide is hired, They do go through a series of trainings to help them understand our mission, our resources, and how to manage emotions because they can be all over the place. Um, dad can be angry, mom can be crying, and you don’t know what you’re gonna [00:18:00] get. So after a series of 12 initial trainings and mentoring experiences, um, when those are complete, then they’re able to work one-on-one with families.

Carrie: So they. Quite a bit under their belt. They have some role playing as well, just so that they can feel prepared and comfortable to manage whatever comes their way. And of course, um, we always say that if you don’t have the answer, don’t make up an answer. You know, there’s no shame in saying, I don’t know.

Carrie: Let me get back to you on that because we don’t need to know it all. So after all that training is done, the parent guides continue to receive. Uh, the whole team continues to receive monthly ongoing training they have, and they also have opportunities to participate in state and national conferences, which really help expand their global knowledge of resources and research, which is really important as things are constantly changing.

Haley: That’s amazing. I like that. It’s an unbiased approach to it. Um, cuz [00:19:00] again, going back to there were just so many avenues and so having somebody just listen. To what you’re going through. Especially, I like that you mentioned sometimes parents aren’t even on the same page with their own emotions or their own decisions in terms of their child with hearing loss.

Haley: So I love that that’s an unbiased, and there’s continued training, you know, . Yeah. It’s like, uh, it’s something in, you know, the, the world of early intervention in teaching. We’re always learning. We’re always growing, and so I think that that’s amazing that you provide that for your guides. So they also are learning and moving forward in that.

Haley: Yeah. 

Wendy: How many guides do we have right now 

Carrie: in Illinois? So currently we’re at nine guides. Um, we will be, um, increasing that, uh, soon. We really like to have a wide, uh, array of experiences. You know, having some that have experience raising children that have additional needs aside from hearing loss, the understanding of the different areas of our state, the whole state is [00:20:00] not created equally, and unfortunately there’s nothing we can do about that.

Carrie: Um, so having parents in those rural areas that understand the challenges there, um, that’s helpful as well. Uh, different languages. It really, you know, whatever ways that we can serve the families. 

Haley: Well, that is amazing. Again, , I know I keep saying that, I feel like I’ve said it a thousand times, but we have students that come to our program that are from rural areas, and I actually had a student this past couple years where they’re in this situation.

Haley: Where do they stay? Longer than they anticipated because they don’t have the resources out in that rural area. So the fact that you guys are even working in those areas and talking to those families, that’s an amazing resource because I know firsthand, um, from a parent that decision of how do we go about it if we don’t have these resources?

Haley: I think there’s like one itinerant teacher in the entire area, and that’s for everything from preschool [00:21:00] through high school. And so having that resource is amazing. So what are your predictions about what families will need and how the field of working with these families of children with hearing loss will change?

Haley: So how do you anticipate the changes that are to come and, and the Deaf Ed world, um, and how do you do your trainings and all of that? 

Carrie: Yeah, that is a great question because obviously I’ve been on this journey for a while, so I have seen how things such as technology have changed over the past 20. Um, and I really think we just need to grow with these advancements, meet families where they’re at.

Carrie: And I know this might seem like, okay, tell me something I didn’t already know. Um, however, with earlier access to services and technology, the needs of these kids are changing and the drive for having kids kindergarten ready, it is possible and it is happening. We gotta remember that families are using that.

Carrie: They have technology at their fingertips. [00:22:00] Right. So we need to make sure that the information out there is helpful and it’s relevant and accessible to all families. You know, remembering that yes, technology and they have information at their fingertips, but then don’t forget those. That may not have that capability as well.

Carrie: Um, so what you have out there, make sure it’s up to date, make sure it is understandable for parents. Sometimes I think as professionals we kind of get wrapped up in our lingo, um, and. Hey, it’s our job. We, yes, we get it. But don’t forget to spell that out for families too, so 

Wendy: that, that’s really good advice.

Wendy: I’m, I’m glad you included what professionals can do. What else can we do? What would you, what do you want professionals to know both early interventionists and teachers? Audiologists, I’m sure. Probably have written, you know, many articles about this, but you know, tell us [00:23:00] you know, what your wish is, is for us.

Wendy: What? What do you want us to know? 

Carrie: Honestly, even though we’re receiving referrals directly, I would still say offer parents support, because not all families when I contact them are ready for support. They might be feeling overwhelmed or maybe their children, their child is still in the hospital. And it’s just not right timing.

Carrie: And I could say, well, here’s my name and number. I’m gonna text you with it. You know, let me know if you need help, but, Honestly, there’s so much that they’re managing at that time. Rarely do. Then they follow back up and it’s not because they don’t want it, it’s just because it’s, it fell off their radar and they’re, you know, it’s like mail on the countertop, right?

Carrie: It keeps piling up. So offer parent to parent support to all, don’t determine which family needs. Um, honestly, as a parent myself, I would smile and nod at all of our appointments because I did not want to [00:24:00] give that impression that I couldn’t parent, or I wasn’t a good enough parent for our son. Then I would go home and look up all the things that were discussed so I could decipher what was just shared.

Carrie: Um, and as a team of providers, we gotta look at us offering a full circle of support to families. Kind of like, think of it like parenting a teenager, right? We ask the teen to put on their coat because it’s going to be chilly, and the teen’s like, ah, no, I’m fine. Um, however, that teen gets with their friends and maybe their friend’s wearing a coat, or the friend says something about wearing a coat and then suddenly it’s not such a bad idea, , we really don’t know who is going to connect with that parent.

Carrie: But we all have the same goals. We want the family to be successful and happy, so let’s just work together and offer all families an opportunity to find their way. 

Haley: I really appreciate the fact that you mentioned that, to come back to it, because we’ve talked about those cycles of grief. You know when you first get that [00:25:00] diagnosis and then you go to your first audiologist appointment, or you have your first speech pathologist appointment,

Haley: and then they start back over when they go to preschool, and then it starts back over. When you know, it’s that constant, you finally get your feet, you know, everything you feel like your feet is on, are on the ground. They’re on the ground, you’re ready to go, and then something changes.

Haley: And so then having this Guide by Your Side is such an amazing program because that’s when you reach out to your guide and say, you know, I have my kids starting preschool and I don’t know what to do or where to go and help me process these emotions. Don’t tell me what to do, but just help me process this.

Haley: And so I really appreciate you said that even if they’re not ready for it, it’s just always 

Carrie: having that door open. Yeah. And, uh, you know, I tell families all the time, we are not a one and done. They can come back to us through the years because, you know, we don’t know what we’re gonna be up against down there down the line.

Carrie: And so, you know, just knowing that they don’t have to have all their questions figured out right away. [00:26:00] That they can utilize support over the years as things pop up is really just freeing. Um, and a lot of times I think families think, oh, I need to have a lot of needs, or I need to have a lot of questions in order to utilize this support.

Carrie: And my response to them is, you know what? Let’s just get you connected to someone so that when things pop. You have somebody to go to, you don’t have to figure that part out. And there might be something through your conversation with the parent guide that they might mention that will spark an idea or, uh, a possibility for something for you to consider too.

Haley: Well, you, like you said earlier, you don’t know what you don’t know, and so having those conversations might teach you something that you didn’t know, that you didn’t know you needed support 

Carrie: for. for sure. Yeah. 

Wendy: Carrie, what can, so we’ve talked a a lot about Illinois. What about nationally? I know you said Guide by Side Works and Hands and Voices is a little bit different in every state, but what can families in [00:27:00] other states do?

Wendy: Do you have a good resource that they can go to to see if they have a Guide by Your Sideprogram 

Carrie: in their state? Yes. So on the Hands and Voices headquarters page, um, so it’s just Hands and Voices.org, I believe is their email or their website address. But if you go there, there is a link (under Services) called, um, F-L-3 and uh, that’s the Family Leadership and Language and Learning, and they are responsible for kind.

Carrie: Helping all the family-based organizations, um, and all the states kind of come together, receive training and support, um, whether they are a guide by your side program or not. So I would really look to them to look up your state to see, um, it what your parent-to-parent support program looks like. Um, but also there’s some great tip sheets and information on there.

Carrie: You don’t have to be a coordinator or professional to utilize [00:28:00] that. Got it. Okay, 

Wendy: great. And we will make sure to put those resources and any others that you share with us in our show notes so listeners can access those at a, at a later time when they’re ready. 

Carrie: Well, 

Haley: thank you for sharing that resource, because I know some of our listeners are.

Haley: Not in the state of Illinois. And having those conversations and that open communication with these guides is so important. So to kind of go off of that, how are the conversations about communication handled? You know, you want an unbiased, you wanna be open to all families. How do you have those conversations about communication?

Carrie: Yeah, absolutely. Our Hands and Voices motto is actually what works for your child is what makes the choice, right? So from the very beginning, our guides are trained to recognize bias versus personal belief system, how to share their stories without influencing others. They’re also trained and provided with resources from the various modes of communication so they [00:29:00] can effectively share with families what they look like and what they entail and, and links to resources for those.

Carrie: Um, and we encourage just parents in their decision making process and let them know that nothing has to be set in stone. That sometimes that wrong choice points us in the right direction. 

Haley: That’s a really great way to put it, because things change constantly. You know, we even see kids sometimes enter our program.

Haley: We’re like, all right. Like maybe we, we look at it a different way or, and it’s nice to have that person to go to, to talk about, okay, well maybe this isn’t working. What’s another, another way we can go about it. And I love the fact that you have everybody check their bias because everybody has a bias and it’s important to have training when you’re dealing with different types of family, different types of communication modes.

Haley: You have this unbiased, I’m just gonna help you, I’m just gonna listen. 

Wendy: So you’ve given us such wonderful advice throughout this whole episode, but what, can you kind of wrap us up with one. [00:30:00] Last piece of advice that you have, either for parents or professionals, 

Carrie: or both? I would say find your tribe. Mm-hmm.

Carrie: And I think this can go both ways, right? As professionals, we need to find others that lift us up, that keep us moving. Help us on those down days, those difficult days. And then celebrate our accomplishments as well. Right? And same thing for families. Um, what I didn’t have were connections to other parents early on.

Carrie: And honestly talking to other parents has helped shape our decisions. It’s helped us create those pro and con lists, uh, when it came to making those decisions. But it also taught us that we can change our mind. And that sometimes what once worked maybe no longer does, and that’s okay. Trust your gut, try again.

Carrie: You know? And eventually our son was able to get in on it decision making, often telling us [00:31:00] how he felt in certain situations and what worked best for him. And you know, sometimes as a parent it was really hard to be like, all right. We’re gonna give that a shot. I don’t see that working, but we’re gonna give it a go.

Carrie: Um, so with that, just give them the opportunity to share and don’t be afraid to try those new things. And above all, there are no limits for our children. I’ve seen some pretty amazing things and no matter which way you go about it, things will work out, things will settle down, the dust will settle, um, and just enjoy the moment.

Haley: I love that. I think that’s a beautiful way to end this episode is our kids are capable of anything, and it’s okay if things change because it’s meant to work out that way. Right. 

Carrie: Thank you. 

Haley: Absolutely, so much, Carrie, for all of your wisdom and information about the Guide by Your Side program, I think this is such a valuable program to have in the state of Illinois and across the.

Haley: The entire [00:32:00] country. So thank you very much, and thank you for joining us on another episode of All Ears of Child’s Voice. Be sure to join us on our next episode. We release episodes once monthly. You can follow us in this podcast on Instagram with the handle at Child’s Voice. 

Haley: We’d love to hear from you.

Haley: Please send us an email podcast at childsvoice.org and you can find episodes, show notes, and archive episodes at our website, childsvoice.org. 

Wendy: And if you’re interested in learning more about child’s voice, we’re on Facebook as well as Twitter with the handle at child’s voice. 

Haley: Thanks for listening.

Carrie: Bye bye bye. 

Haley: And that’s all. Be sure to subscribe to the show wherever you listen to. Don’t miss any episodes. If you are interested in supporting child’s voice in the programs like this one, please visit us@childsvoice.org and click on the donate now button. Thanks for listening. Bye.[00:33:00] 

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Special thanks to John McCortney for his work recording All Ears at Child’s Voice episodes. Episodes of All Ears at Child’s Voice are graciously edited by John McCortney.