MARCH 2-5, 2021

(Virtually the same conference, without elevators, airplane tickets, or hotel room keys)


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Marge Edwards

It is an honor to nominate Marge Edwards for the Family Leadership Award as we believe her decade-long commitment to early invention telehealth services makes her a phenomenal candidate. Marge embodies the EHDI mission and works daily to empower parents to ensure that their children receive quality and integrated intervention services. She has been a pioneer in telehealth practice, and continues to promote the value and efficacy of telehealth. While everyone in the world was trying to figure out how to deliver services in 2020, Marge's rich research and telepractice experience provided comprehensive speech and EHDI related support services to scores of isolated families. Marge published "Expanding Use of Telepractice in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology" (Volta Review, 2012). While practicing in Utah and rural Idaho, Marge regularly uses telehealth to provide early intervention services to families in need. Marge has successfully prepared families and practitioners to receive and deliver early intervention services during the Covid closures. As a parent of two boys with hearing loss, Marge learned first-hand the importance of early detection, intervention, intentional therapies, advocacy, and support. When her sons were young, Marge went back to school and obtained her Master's degree in speech language pathology at Utah State. She also studied internationally at the Royal Institute of Deaf and Blind Children in Australia. Additionally, Marge obtained her AVT and LSL certifications. She is now one of only two certified LSL practitioners in Idaho. She has worked with individual families providing speech, AVT, and LSL therapies for years. She is a long-standing, effective advocate of telepractice, regularly connecting families in rural areas with online, EHDI-focused opportunities. Marge is a frequent speaker at national conferences and has presented at the national EHDI, ASHA, AG Bell and Cochlear Implant Alliance Conferences. In 2017, Marge joined Hearing First to coordinate a national parent and professional support platform. Hearing First, dedicated to listening and spoken language, empowers parents and professionals by providing education and outreach. As the Family Support Community and Programs Leader at Hearing First, she writes content, blogs, coordinates programs, and facilitates learning experiences for both the professional and family support communities. Among her many contributions, in 2020, she started the "Live Chat" program through Hearing First, an opportunity for parents around the world to connect virtually; a welcome solace for families struggling with a new diagnosis, virtual appointments, and the challenges of raising a child with hearing loss during a pandemic. Marge is empathetic, articulate, and fun. She not only connects with families, but she connects families to other families and to the resources they need to succeed. Marge is also an inspiration because her two boys (now 22 and 17) have become amazing role models, musicians, athletes, and students. Marge's passion is palpable. She wants all children with hearing loss to have the same opportunities and outcomes as her own children have had. She has dedicated both her professional and personal life to ensuring that children with hearing loss are identified early, fit with the proper technology, and that they receive outstanding early intervention services. Undoubtedly, Marge embodies the spirit of everything EHDI.