18th ANNUAL EARLY HEARING DETECTION & INTERVENTION MEETING
March 3-5, 2019 • Chicago, IL

EHDI FAMILY LEADERSHIP AWARD

Nominations are invited for the Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence to be presented at the 2019 National EHDI Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. This award honors the life and work of Dr. Antonia Brancia Maxon to promote effective Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) programs for all newborns, infants, and young children. Dr. Maxon was a pioneer in EHDI programs, beginning with her leadership in the Rhode Island Hearing Assessment Project in the late 1980's. She was one of the first to recognize the feasibility and value of universal newborn hearing screening and was a tireless advocate for connecting screening programs with timely and appropriate diagnosis and early intervention.

Her extensive contributions to creating excellent EHDI programs were abruptly ended by a tragic automobile accident in May of 2007. In memory of her contributions, an Award for EHDI Excellence is presented each year at the National EHDI Meeting to honor an individual who has made outstanding contributions to achieving excellence in EHDI programs nationally or in a particular state or region.

Nominations for the Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence should be emailed to Karl White at karl.white@usu.edu, or mailed to:

National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management
Utah State University
2615 Old Main Hill
Logan, Utah 84322-2615
Attention: Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence

Nominations must be received by Friday, December 21, 2018 and MUST BE LIMITED to 500 words. The nomination should describe:
  • The outstanding accomplishment(s) that contributed to improvement of EHDI programs.
  • How the accomplishment(s) demonstrate(s) significant creativity or initiative.
  • The specific ways in which the nominee has contributed to EHDI excellence.

Presentation of the 2019 Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence will be made on Monday March 4, 2019 at the National EHDI Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. More about the National EHDI Meeting, including past nominees and recipients can be found below.

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Rachel Coleman

I have been an Educator of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for 30 years. I have been an Early Intervention Teacher of the Deaf in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the last 10 years. I am nominating Rachel Coleman for the 2018 Family Leadership in EHDI Programs Award for providing "Sign It: ASL Made Easy", a sign language course she created, and she delivers free of charge (through www.mydeafchild.org) to any and all families receiving state early intervention services related to hearing loss.

I have never had so many families motivated to learn sign language and use it with their babies. It has been a priceless gift to so many of them! I have 15 out of 24 families signing with their children! That's the most I have ever had. I have never been able to give my families such an effective resource to help them learn to communicate with their children. They are using "Sign It", they are loving it, and most importantly they are learning more ASL than they ever would have otherwise. Rachel Coleman has made it possible for me to help more families than ever before.

Many of these families do not have hours to spend trying to figure out a new language. They are single moms, working moms and dads, and busy families. Many of them don't have the time, money, or resources to attend a sign language class. If they do attend classes, there is no guarantee that the instructor is experienced in ASL. With "Sign It", they can take classes on their own time, on their own terms, and without judgement.

Many of these moms have expressed love for Rachel, because she is a mother of a deaf child. They feel connected and encouraged because she has walked in their shoes. They know Rachel can relate to their struggles, their experiences, and their ups and downs. They have seen Rachel's deaf daughter, Leah, grow up and navigate both the hearing and deaf worlds with grace. Leah is a wonderful example of a bilingual and bicultural young woman who is confident in both worlds. Leah gives these parents hope that their children will also grow up and become successful adjusted adults.

I want to say thank you to Rachel for being a role model. Thank you for showing so many parents that it is possible to learn ASL, and thank you most of all for providing a way for my families and for all families in early intervention across the country, to learn, use, and embrace signing and ASL, so that they are better equipped to communicate with and teach their own children.

Please consider all of the exceptional ways that Rachel has touched so many lives throughout the years and especially now by providing easy access for families to begin communicating and connecting with their children at such a young age. I cannot think of a better person for this award.