GBYS Parent Guides
Taken from the Guide By Your Side Operations Manual

A GBYS Parent Guide must be the parent of a child who is deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind or deaf with additional special needs. Within the Parent Guide team, there should be a range of ages for these children. However, a parent of a newly identified child is probably not ideally suited to this role which draws heavily on life experience and the knowledge that comes from it. A parent whose children are in high school or college may be detached from the experience of families with newly identified babies. This is not to say that individuals with children too young or too old should not be considered. It is just that they should be considered within the context of their experience and relativity to the issues of any specific family. Most importantly is the potential Guides understanding and have experience with navigating the systems of care that families will need to be supported in and provided comprehensive information regarding. 

Parent Guides must be self-aware and be able to avoid allowing their personal belief systems to cross the line into bias. The GBYS training will provide a framework in which to explore this issue on a personal level, and apply unbiased strategies at the family support level. Parent Guides must be able to support families with diverse backgrounds regardless of the educational and/or communication option they select for their child. Applicants should be able to demonstrate their ability to work collaboratively and set any personal opinions of professionals or programs aside in order to support further referral to other sources. Programs should consider their unique demographic needs and hire “specialty” Parent Guides. These may include; Cultural Guides (Spanish or other languages), Unilateral, Deafplus, etc. Parent Guides should be provided with a clear idea of job expectations during the interview and hiring process. They should be informed of training, communication, travel and time commitment expectations. They should also be informed of what they can expect of the GBYS Program Coordinator and other administrative support such as amount and timeliness of compensation. (See Online Appendix Parent Guide Job Descriptions and Performance Expectations). 

GBYS PARENT GUIDE: Job Description 
A Parent Guide must be the parent of a child who is deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind, or deaf with additional disabilities who will undergo specialized training to provide support to families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing. 

SPECIALIZED KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS 
  • Keen self-awareness: A good parent guide will be able to distinguish between personal belief systems and bias, and will never manipulate or skew information or input shared with a family. 
  • Parent Guides must be able to describe options for families in an unbiased manner consistent with the philosophy and mission of Hands & Voices. 
  • Parent Guides must be able to support families with diverse backgrounds regardless of the educational and/or communication option they select. 
  • Parent Guides must have knowledge of local and regional resources. For parents of deafblind or deaf with additional disabilities children, Parent Guides must also have knowledge of the resources available to children with additional disabilities. 
  • Parent Guides must have an understanding of the unique needs of infants and youth who are deaf or hard of hearing. 
  • Parent Guides must have an understanding of the Birth to 3/Part C, early childhood systems, and Part B public education systems in their state/province and be willing to work collaboratively with the IFSP and IEP team members. 
  • Parent Guides will be able to demonstrate comfort in supporting parents through the emotions associated with learning of their child’s diagnosis. 
  • Bilingual Parent Guides will possess a strong understanding of the unique challenges faced by families where English is not the primary language and will assist the family in learning through communication in their native language. 
PERFORMANCE EXPECTATIONS 
  • Parent Guides are expected to meet identified protocols in a timely way. If the designated timelines cannot be met, Parent Guides are expected to contact the GBYS Program Coordinator and ask that the case be re-assigned. 
  • Parent Guides will provide their own transportation and must be willing to travel to meet with families. Mileage and other authorized expenses will be covered. 
  • Parent Guides will complete all necessary paperwork as outlined in the GBYS program protocol.
  • Parent Guides will maintain regular contact with the GBYS Program Coordinator, as outlined in the GBYS program protocol. 
  • Parent Guides will have access to the internet and/or a fax machine, and be willing to conduct business via email and internet technologies as necessary. 
  • Parent Guides will attend a mandatory initial training and on-going required trainings. 
  • Parent Guides will maintain standards of confidentiality, as outlined in the GBYS program protocol. 
  • Parent Guides will be members of and maintain good standing within the Hands & Voices organization. 
  • Designated Parent Guides will treat all families with kindness and respect regardless of race, religion, socioeconomic status, or life style choices even if they are inconsistent or in conflict with their own values. If a Parent Guide feels that they are unable to support a family, s/he must inform the GBYS Program Coordinator. Any unresolved or repeated occurrences of unprofessionalism of this nature may be grounds for termination. 
  • Parent Guides will be active within their communities and leaders throughout the state/province or territory in which they live and work.