Family Engagement and Services
Meet Our Family Engagement Coordinator
Meet our Family Engagement Coordinator, Edgenie Bellah. Edgenie has been with our Project since 2002. Her professional training and experience run the lifespan; from early childhood to senior citizens, public school and university services to vocational services. Edgenie is very active in statewide and national family organizations. Through it all, her best teachers have been her family and friends who share the journey of living life with a disability. They keep her passionate about community and following family leaders in system change efforts.
Want to connect with Edgenie? You may email her at email@example.com or phone her at 512-206-9423.
Texas SenseAbilities – 2023 Special Issue on Family Engagement: Lessons Learned From Our Families
The TX SenseAbilities team is excited to bring you a Special Edition that focuses on an important new initiative, “The Value of Family Engagement: Identifying Unique Needs and Priorities of Families with Children Who Are Deaf-Blind” (Family Engagement Report – link in article). We believe this is a “call to action” and an opportunity to stake a marker in the ground to measure our collective progress.
Edgenie is available to work with individual families on family life as well as matters related to education, accessing medical and state agency services. This includes connecting with other families with children who are deafblind. Edgenie frequently partners with our education consultants when they meet to develop programming at a local level.
Our program believes that parents are the experts on their child. Participating in relevant training -including learning more about deafblind matters- and gathering information from various sources helps families build their confidence and advocacy skills. Edgenie helps family members access training on a variety of topics and provides training to groups on family engagement. She was instrumental in the development of our successful Family Engagement and Leadership trainings that have created new and enthusiastic leaders advocating for deafblind services in schools and in the community.
Family Recharge Zone
What is Family Recharge Zone? A blend of family-picked and family-focused training followed by a conversation exclusively for adult family members with children and adults who are blind, low vision, or deafblind (combined vision loss and Deaf/Hard of Hearing).
Join us in chatting about the three ways families can get a strong start to the school year.
- What you can do to build collaborative relationships with everyone on your child’s school team, including the transportation and cafeteria team.
- How you can proactively and quickly share your child’s story and tips to help new staff feel more confident in interacting with them.
- Tips for organizing all your information, including the evaluations, IEP, and your child’s portfolio.
Need help registering or signing up? Watch our How to Create an ESCWorks Accountlink opens in a new window video. Feel free to reply to this email if you are in need of further assistance.
Need foreign language or sign language interpreting? Texas families, you must register by the Monday before each month’s Family Recharge Zone gatherings to allow us time to provide foreign language and/or sign language services.
Can families who live outside of Texas participate? We would love for you to join us. Please know that the training and conversations may slightly differ from your own state guidelines and regulations. We are unable to provide foreign language and sign language interpreting.
ASL Interpreting for the 11:30-1:00 Gathering!
Spanish Interpreting for the 6:30-8:00 Gathering!
Edgenie collaborates with a variety of family organizations at the state and national levels. At the state-level her collaboration includes such organizations as the Deaf-Blind Multi-handicappped Association of Texas, Texas Chargers, Texas Hands and Voices, Deaf-Blind Camp of Texas, and Texas Parent to Parent. She contributes to the Outreach Programs newsletter, Texas SenseAbilities, especially on articles about and for family members.
At the national level Edgenie is on the board of the National Family Association for Deafblind serving on the Affiliate Network Committee and Policy, Information, and Education Committee. She had the pleasure of being the local host for the 2012 and 2016 NFADB Family Leadership Symposium. Edgenie was Product Manager for the video on deafblind awareness, Moments of Joy. She has also worked with the National Center on Deaf-Blindness on such projects and their Family Engagement Initiatives, Open Hands, Open Access Intervener Learning Modules.
To check out family resources and organizations, visit our topical resources page.
Current Family Engagement Initiatives
The Value of Family Engagement: Definition and Priorities
This report emerged in response to a growing need to elevate the family voice as a driving force in the decision-making and collaborative efforts of the deaf-blind technical assistance network. This report summarizes a five-month visioning process facilitated by the National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) to illuminate state-level priorities and national-level supports for families of children who are deaf-blind. Contributors to this work included state deaf-blind projects, deaf-blind specific family-based organizations, and other national partner organizations who support families with children who have unique needs. To read more and visit the microsite, visit https://www.nationaldb.org/products/families-engagement-priorities/.
Family-to-Family Communities Project (F2FC)
F2FC brings families together to connect, share information and resources, and offer support to one another in the journey of supporting their family member with deaf-blindness.
Each F2FC is comprised of 8-10 family members; is guided by trained Facilitators; meets once per month for 90 minutes via video-conference or phone; topics are chosen by the group and include structured conversation and open sharing. Your regular participation is vital to the group!
Registration is now closed for this school year. Please reach out to Edgenie at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if it is possible to join a specific group.