MARCH 2-5, 2021

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


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Valerie Abbott

Valerie has worked at the Center for Family Involvement at the Partnership for People with Disabilities for the last four years as a 1-3-6 Family Educator and as a Coordinator for the Learning Communities. When her daughter, Bridie was diagnosed with late onset hearing loss at age 2, she left her position at a women-owned painting business in Central Virginia to become a stay at home and to return to her passion for writing. Valerie joined the CFI a few years later.

She has served on the board of Virginia Hands & Voices, is the first parent co-chair of the Virginia EHDI Advisory Committee and has received the Governor's Award for Civilian Excellence for Virginia Fire Safety, Valerie has helped to promulgate the regulations for Virginia's Administrative Code for congenital Cytomegalovirus (CMV) screening for those infants who fail their newborn hearing screening. Valerie is a guest blogger for the Center for Family Involvement and has published several articles online and in print about raising a child with a disability. Valerie has worked with EHDI to help establish EHDI Learning communities within six regions. The focus of these meetings would be to identify parents within each region who were ready to explore and enhance their leadership skills to serve in a co-facilitator role for LC in their area, with the goal that eventually each group would become independent and locally run. Recently, Valerie completed a fotonovela brochure for Spanish families explaining the importance of doing the follow-ups as suggested by the guidelines set by EHDI. In May of 2021, Valerie's book, Padapillo, will be published. It is based on the story of how Valerie's family discovered and came to terms with their daughter's mysterious and unexpected hearing loss diagnosis. Padapillo offers a glimpse behind the emotional journey and emphasizes the ultimate truth that all children, including those with disabilities, are children first. In addition, Valerie's primary focus is to work with families who recently found out their child has a hearing loss. She is truly dedicated and with her passion she reaches out to these families with unbiased information and with the much-needed support. Valerie would be an excellent choice for the 2021 Family Leadership in EHDI Program Award. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. Thank you for your consideration.