PEARS Program

PEARS Logo

Tennessee PEARS (Parents. Empowerment. Access. Resources. Support) Parent Guide Program is for families of children who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have hearing issues. We support families who have an infant or toddler that has been recently diagnosed as well as families who have known for some time that their child is deaf, hard of hearing, or has hearing related issues.

We offer families the opportunity to connect with, talk to, or meet face to face with a Parent Guide.   

What are Parent Guides?

Parent Guides are parents of children who are deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind, deaf plus, or who have other hearing related issues, who have received specialized training that prepares them to function in this important capacity. Our goal is to meet families where they are with regard to their journey.  We provide unbiased information, resources, and emotional support for families.  Our goal is to provide parents with all the information they need to make the best choices for their child and family.  
Parent Guides are able to bring their direct experience, knowledge, and personal compassion to their role while making the family’s needs their primary focus.  The Parent Guides can provide:

  • Timely emotional support following the diagnosis of hearing loss
  • Direct parent/peer support and networking
  • Information and resource sharing specific to hearing loss, including insights on navigating the systems from a parent perspective
  • Support to families throughout the Infant/Toddler Early Intervention years by combining an experienced parent’s insight with knowledge of Early Intervention and educational systems
  • Information about other parent support opportunities
  • Valuable tips to help you through the appointments and evaluations
  • Phone calls or visits with Parent Guides should:
  • Provide families with the opportunity to establish a supportive relationship with another parent of a child who has a hearing loss.
  • Provide parents with unbiased information regarding communication options and considerations for their child
  • Provide parents with an understanding of the unique needs of infants and toddlers who are deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind, deaf plus, or who have other hearing related issues 
  • Link parents to resources locally, regionally, statewide and nationally
  • We recognize that each child and family are unique and require individualized support.  
  • All forms of communication are supported including:
  • amplification
  • cochlear implantation
  • signing
  • cueing
  • spoken language

We believe that parents know what is best for their child and family but need enough information to make good, informed choices and we pride ourselves in keeping abreast of all the experts, resources, and people that might be able to help you.  

For More Information or if you have questions, please contact:
Melanie Bacon, Project Coordinator 
615-905-1955 phone
615-457-8069 fax 
Email: mbacon@tndisability.org 

In 2010, we created a 3-ring binder of materials to help parents of children with hearing loss keep track of vital information. It provides a single place to keep information about emergency contacts, health care providers, audiological information, including amplification notes, and much more. We also developed an accompanying YouTube video that provides a thorough overview of the notebook contents. Since that time, there have been changes to the program and the staff person in the video is no longer with us. 
Follow this link to watch a youtube video on the notebook: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtTMtifOxw8

To request a Newborn Hearing Parent Notebook write to: familyvoices@tndisability.org

H.E.A.R TN - Newborn Hearing Email list
Helping Children with Hearing Loss
Encouraging Parents
Accepting All Choices
Relating with Other Families
To Join the Newborn Hearing Listserve send an email to: tonya_b@tndisability.org

Tennessee PEARS Program is a Family Voices of Tennessee program funded by the State of Tennessee Department of Health Newborn Hearing Program.  
In-state toll-free number for families: 1-888-643-7811
familyvoices@tndisability.org

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Tennessee Disability Coalition

The Coalition is an alliance of organizations and individuals who have joined to promote the full and equal participation of men, women and children with disabilities in all aspects of life. We work together to advocate for public policy that ensures self-determination, independence, empowerment, and inclusion for people with disabilities in areas such as accessibility, education, healthcare, housing, and voting rights.

Contact us

Office Address
Tennessee Disability Coalition
955 Woodland Street
Nashville, TN 37206

Nashville: (615) 383-9442Toll-free: (888) 643-7811Email: coalition@tndisability.org