Lifetrack's Deaf Mentor Family Program focuses on the communication needs of families with children who are deaf and hard of hearing from birth to age 6. The Deaf Mentor Family program assists these families by providing instruction in American Sign Language, early visual communication methods, and Deaf Culture, through a trained Deaf Mentor.
- Upon receipt of the Interest Form, an initial assessment is completed by Deaf Mentor Family Coordinator.
- If the family is an appropriate fit for the program and a Deaf mentor and program funds are also available, the Deaf Mentor Family Coordinator will work with the family to plan mentor services.
- Once services are in place, a mentor can begin to work with a family. The mentor will typically spend two hours per week with a family, utilizing lessons from the SKI-HI Deaf Mentor Curriculum.
Deaf Mentor Qualifications
Deaf mentors referred by Deaf Mentor Family Coordinator have completed training using the SKI-HI Deaf Mentor Training Curriculum, offered by the SKI-HI Institute in Utah. Deaf mentors have been chosen based on their fluency in American Sign Language, their ability to communicate easily with hearing families, their comfort with young children, and their ability to support family decisions. The deaf mentors also have agreed to on-going training by Deaf Mentor Family Coordinator and to provide services in accordance with “A Plan for Mentorship of Minnesota Families with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children.”
Funding for the Program
Most often, mentor services are paid for with state grant funding through the Minnesota Department of Human Services Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division (DHHS), the Minnesota Department of Health (DHS) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Other possible sources of payment include school districts, special education, Medical Assistance waiver programs, or the parents themselves. Grant funding for the DHHS Deaf Mentor Program is limited. Families applying to the program may have to be placed on a waiting list if other sources of funding cannot be found.
Danelle Gournaris, MA, MS, Coordinator
Deaf Mentor Family Program
709 University Avenue West
St. Paul, MN 55104