Family Deaf Coaching

Deaf Coaches support families on their journey by sharing resources and life experiences. 

Research shows children working with a Family Deaf Coach (Deaf Mentor)

(Watkins, S., Pittman, P., & Walden, B. (1998). The Deaf Mentor Experimental Project for young children who are deaf and their families. American Annals Of The Deaf, 143(1), 29-34.

Family Deaf Coaching 

Deaf Coaching services are for families of Deaf and Hard of Hearing infants or young children under the age of 5.   Your local Deaf Coach Agency contracts with school districts to provide Deaf Coach services to families with Deaf and Hard of Hearing children. A Deaf Coach works with the family in conjunction with the certified Teacher of the Deaf to support the language goals of the child and the family.  

Contact your Local Deaf Coach Coordinator!

NorCal Deaf Coaches
Alice McGill
NorCal Services for Deaf
and Hard of Hearing 

(916) 349-7500

Sacramento Deaf Coaches
Katherine Isbell
CCHAT Center
(916) 361-7290
Bay Area Deaf Coaches
Susan GonzalezDeaf Counseling, Advocacy and Referral Agency (DCARA)
510-343-6663 VP/Voice

Bay Area Deaf Coaches
Davana Jackson
Center For Early Intervention On Deafness (CEID)

Orange County Deaf Coaches
Wendy Merritt 
Orange County Deaf Equal Access Foundation

Central California Deaf Coaching

Shelley Stout

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Center

559-408-5245- VP

Inland Empire Deaf Coaches
Carmen Croasmun
Center On Deafness Inland Empire

Voice: (951) 275-5000

Vp: (951) 824-8086

Los Angeles Deaf Coaches
Michelle Pliego

Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness (GLAD) 

(323) 892- 2225

The Family Deaf Coach can...

  • Work in a school setting
  • Teach how to request interpreters
  •  Provide strategies for communication
  • Meet with the family (including extended family) weekly
  • Model the use of visual cues when interacting with the child 
  • Help the child and the family develop positive attitudes about being Deaf or Hard of Hearing
  • Teach sign vocabulary and engage the family in sign language communication as requested 
  • Share his/her experiences of growing up Deaf/HH and life as a Deaf or Hard of Hearing Person
  • Introduce the family to Deaf Culture
  • Introduce families to events in the Deaf Community

Qualifications of the Family Deaf Coach

Deaf Coaches are screened for their ability to communicate and develop rapport with families, and their comfort in interacting with young children. They are supportive of each family’s choice of communication and respectful of each family’s values.

Deaf Coaches, in addition to passing background checks, have completed a college education and/or have professional experience providing sign language instruction and working with children and families. 

Benefits of Deaf Coach Services

  • Increase family communication at home

  • Support the child’s language development

  • Increase the family’s ability to support their child academically and emotionally

  • Be a resource to answer questions and consult on concerns


When parents interact with Deaf adults, it is “not because they are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, but because they have a significant service and expertise to provide the family”

Yoshinaga-Itano, 2015

JCIH –Goal 11: 
The Joint Committee on Infant Hearing Principles and Guidelines for Early Hearing Detection and Intervention states…

All Children Who Are D/HH and Their Families Have Access to Support, Mentorship, and Guidance From Individuals Who Are Deaf/Hard of Hearing

Families who have many contacts with Deaf adults exhibit a strong sense of competence with regard to raising their D/HH child

Both adults and children in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community can enrich the family's experience by serving as mentors and role models. Such mentors have experience in negotiating their way in a hearing world, raising infants or children who are deaf or hard of hearing, and providing families with a full range of information about communication options, assistive technology, and resources that are available in the community.”

Parents identify deaf individuals as one of the most important sources of support