About Thriving Together

Thriving Together: Collaborating to Assure Bright Educational Opportunities for Deaf Children into the Future is the theme of the bicentennial celebration to be held on Friday, May 5 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the Inn at Longwood in Boston. This celebration aims to highlight the legacy of educating deaf children, as well as honor the accomplishments of Deaf people, validate evidence-based practices that promote achievement among learners who are deaf or hard of hearing, and challenge educators and policy makers as we envision bright futures for deaf and hard of hearing children.

Formal education was not available to deaf children in America until the first school for the deaf was founded 1817. Thriving Together will feature a dozen presentations welcoming regionally and nationally recognized leaders in the field, the roster anchored by the current Executive Director of the American School for the Deaf. Presentations during the event aim to reflect on how education has paved the way for communication access, expansion of employment opportunities, and empowerment of deaf and hard of hearing citizens. In 2017, the deaf and hard of hearing community continues to thrive and educational opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing students have never been greater.  


The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program of Boston Children’s Hospital has always been invested in children and their families. We are delighted to host this celebration and offer a rich program of presentations that should appeal to a varied audience. We invite professionals in the field of deaf education, researchers and academicians, college and graduate students, high school students, parents of deaf and hard of hearing children, and colleagues in medicine, audiology, child development, and communication sciences as allies and collaborators to attend this celebration. 

This bicentennial celebration seeks to promote and disseminate clinical and research insights, champion child advocacy, and continue to assure family-centered delivery of services that have marked the decades of dedication to children offered by the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program of the department of Otolaryngology and Communication Enhancement at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Educational Benefits for Students

Deaf and hard of hearing students in grades 9-12 are encouraged to attend Thriving Together: Collaborating to Assure Bright Educational Opportunities for Deaf Children into the Future. The students will be able to:

  • Observe historical narration regarding deaf education
  • Observe past and future evidence-based research findings related to deaf education
  • Engage in collaborative discussions among professionals and peers
  • Share individual goals and opportunities during post-secondary transition period
  • Learn about the power of advocacy
  • Meet deaf and hard of hearing professionals and allies

Helpful links:



“All the staff do great work and help create a positive outlook in the futures of deaf children.”

Mother of 3-year-old child 

Roster of Presenters

Michelle Eisan-Smith, PhD
Administrator at Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Stephen Nover, PhD
Gallaudet University faculty and author

Tawny Holmes, Esq.
Education Policy Counsel
National Association of the Deaf

Commissioner Heidi Reed
Commissioner of Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Sanjay Gulati, MD

Psychiatrist with Boston Children’s Hospital & Harvard Medical School

Beth S. Benedict, PhD
Gallaudet University faculty

Marie Coppola, PhD
Assistant Professor, University of Connecticut

Janet DesGeorges
Founder of Hands & Voices national organization

Marc Marschark, PhD
Rochester Institute of Technology faculty

Jeanne Reis, MEd

Boston University and Director of Research & Training at The Learning Center for the Deaf

Jeffrey Bravin
Executive Director at American School for the Deaf

West Resendes
JD Candidate, Yale Law School

About DHHP

The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program (DHHP) of the Boston Children’s Hospital primarily provides comprehensive evaluation and therapy services to more thanThriving Together BCH 2017 1,000 deaf or hard of hearing children per year. Our interdisciplinary team includes hearing and deaf professionals. Our team possesses a thorough knowledge of the communicative and educational options available for deaf and hard of hearing children.  Our clinicians are uniquely qualified to provide services tailored to appropriately work with children from infants through adolescents and knowledgeable about all types of communicative and educational preferences, possibilities, and options.

Since the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program began more than 35 years ago, our interdisciplinary staff continuously has strived to assure that deaf children succeed through robust language development and opportunities to access the educational curriculum through the language and communication modalities that best suit their individual needs and capabilities.  We respect all communication modalities and encourage language access and positive interaction for families with deaf and hard of hearing children.

There is much more our team can and does provide for the well-being of deaf or hard of hearing children and their families. Extension of services beyond the clinic is not, however and understandably, covered by insurance. Philanthropic giving and fees for service support staff members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program is endeavors such as:

  • serving as a resource center, providing referral for services, agencies and organizations
  • disseminating information regarding assistive devices, educational approaches and specialized materials
  • educating those in administrative roles to appreciate the varied needs and capabilities of deaf and hard of hearing children
  • planning and sponsoring family-centered events for children of all age
  • hosting and offering informational workshops for parents
  • providing continuing education training opportunities for professionals in the field

“We learned that he has a progressive form of hearing loss called Enlarged Vestibular Aqueducts which can result in complete Deafness.  To say the least we were concerned, worried, and frightened for our son. One day shortly after his diagnosis, we walked into the Boson Children’s Hospital, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program.  Everything changed.  We were exposed to Deaf and Hard of Hearing professionals living meaningful and purposeful lives.  We also met many people who understood our journey and began to help us lay the foundation of where he would go.  The team at the clinic was positive, reassuring, and non-judgmental.  They assisted us in getting the right evaluations which lead to the right placement in a proper educational setting.”  

-  Father of 9-year-old child who was diagnosed at age 3

How to Donate

With your help, we have set a goal of collecting 200 donations (to celebrate each year of education being available to deaf students since the founding of the first schools for the deaf in 1817) to directly support our endeavors beyond providing clinical services. Such endeavors extend care beyond the clinic to help assure each child’s well-being, promote access to opportunities that stimulate development, and offer workshops for parents and professionals, as well as family-focused outreach services which are not reimbursed through medical insurance.   

Your gift, at any level, will help us reach our goal and help assure continued provision of essential services and expansion of supports for the children and families we are privileged to meet. 

                                  Donate HERE 
                               Thriving Together 2017

"Every person that we have worked with has been kind and very comforting. This was extremely important when we were overwhelmed, new parents. Our daughter is thriving! We have found the social component of Children's Hospital's DHHP to be very, very valuable as she has grown up. She finds much comfort in attending events and gatherings with other children who have hearing loss." 

- Mother of 12-year-old child

Register for Thriving Together here.