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DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING COMMUNITY COUNSELING SERVICES

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community Counseling Services (DHHCCS) began with the concept of providing comprehensive outpatient emotional health services, accessible to persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind, and their families. The licensed program has been administered since 1981 by Challenge Discovery Projects. Professionals are trained in the psychosocial aspects of deafness and are fluent in sign language. Counseling services offered in sign language allows deaf individuals to express their needs and concerns comfortably and privately, without an interpreter. Special listening assistive devices are utilized upon request to facilitate clear communication with persons who are hard of hearing.

Seven years ago, we developed the Parent Child Advocate Program (PCA). The PCA program addresses the multiple needs of families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing by providing psychosocial education, offering sign language skill development and facilitating access to available resources. The PCA program acknowledges the lack of social connections that children with hearing impairments experience due to the nature of their disability and the inherent limitations they experience while communicating with their peers and family.

Currently in the Richmond area, nine workshops are offered through the PCA program. The workshops focus on sign language training with multiple skill levels depending upon the fluency of the parents and children. They explore the psychosocial aspects of deafness and help parents relate to the isolation their children feel. Case Managers provide referrals for services. The training programs also promote healthy, strong relationships among those living with deafness in the family.

Challenge Discovery Projects expanded the PCA program across the state by producing a video series that presents 12 sign language lessons to teach parents functional communication within the family/home environment. Topics include getting dressed, story time, foods and getting along-family survival signs. A second series is also in development and is designed to educate parents on various topics related to hearing loss. These videos will be available on-line and free by visiting the Challenge Discovery Projects' website at http://www.challengediscoveryprojects.org or through a link on the Virginia Department of Education's website.

Services include:

  • Comprehensive outpatient mental health/substance abuse counseling including individual, marriage, and family counseling
  • Counseling for persons or families experiencing physical, emotional, or sexual abuse or neglect
  • Support groups
  • Coping strategies for hard of hearing and late deafened individuals and their families
  • Parent Child Advocate (PCA) Program
  • Collaborative/consultation services for other disciplines and agencies serving persons with hearing loss
  • Educational programs, workshops and presentations focusing on mental health issues, needs, and prevention services for persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind
  • Advocacy

Additionally, referral services for educational, psychological, psychiatric, and outdoor experiential programs are available. To learn more about these programs, please contact us at (804) 282-1943 (voice), (804) 282-1944 (TTY).