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Hands & Voices  
Delaware Families for Hands & Voices
October Newsletter



Hello and happy Halloween! Many of you readers are teachers and other professionals working with deaf and hard of hearing children. I want to put a plea out there to you for sanity in the middle of all the upcoming parties. Halloween, whatever it once was, is now a festival devoted to candy. Did you know that trick or treating is an American invention and not practiced in most countries? If you are a teacher, therapist, or other professional working with kids, it would not be so terrible to either skip Halloween celebrations entirely with your students, or to find a way to celebrate (GASP!) without candy or food. These days when our country seems plagued with unhealthy eating habits, there is no reason for our children to receive some little candy token from every teacher, therapist, choir director, scout leader, bus driver, audiologist, and crossing guard they encounter in October. One grandly greedy night of door to door demanding is sufficient. 

Why am I so grumpy over your good will? Food allergies. According to the CDC, “Allergic conditions are among the most common medical conditions affecting children in the United States. (…) A severe allergic reaction with rapid onset, anaphylaxis, can be life threatening. Foods represent the most common cause of anaphylaxis among children and adolescents.” The CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, Office of Analysis and Epidemiology released their report on allergies in children last May, stating that “among children aged 0–17 years, the prevalence of food allergies increased from 3.4% in 1997–1999 to 5.1% in 2009–2011.” If that trend has held since 2011, we could reasonably expect about 7 out of every 100 kids you see this year to have a food allergy. Do you know which 7 and what their allergies are? (View the CDC article here:

Let me open a window into our kitchen at the end of Halloween night. While most parents are nervously examining their children’s treats for tampering by evil-doers, we are examining for labels, which on mini treats packaged for handing out as opposed to sale, are often woefully inadequate. Many of the candies and pretzels that my peanut allergic kid can usually eat are unsafe at holidays when factories switch over to seasonal sizes and packaging because this often means they are manufacturing those candies in shared facilities or equipment with unsafe ingredients. I have learned to buy our own bags of safe treats for my kids to swap out whatever they have collected so that they do not have to sit home Halloween night. There are usually arguments, and my kids are never happy to see the pile of sweets they cannot have. All of that we have learned to live with, and we manage fairly well. 

However, what really terrifies me are the times when well-meaning and trusted adults hand unsafe treats to my kids while I am not there. Horrible as it sounds, I have had to teach my children that people other than Mom and Dad, even adults that they usually are asked to trust and obey, may try to give them poison and tell them it is fine to eat it. I am sure it is confusing for them, but safety has to come first when one mini candy bar can mean serious illness or even death. I am sure I have at least a few readers that think I am paranoid and ludicrously worrying over a problem that probably never even happens, but it has happened to us. Please think hard about what is really important when you are deciding how to celebrate the holidays with your students. You do not want to be the loved and trusted adult that hands out the poison.

For more information on food allergies, check out

A Little Halloween ASL

headless horsemanLooking for some super cool Super Hero name signs for this Halloween’s popular costumes? 

Another state’s H&V chapter shared a link to “Master ASL!” on Facebook with some great ones: 

“Master ASL!” is a curriculum set for teaching ASL to hearing students. They use their Facebook page to post short instructional videos on ASL topics. For Halloween they also have an awesome example of ASL story telling with a spooky ASL version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: 

Share it with your young signers today, if you dare! Bwa ha ha ha! Travis’s image of the horse breathing will haunt my dreams, for sure.

Great Coffee for a Great Cause

The Good Java Company
The Good Java Company in Lancaster, PA sells USDA Certified Organic Fair Trade Coffee.  It is a great product, and one you can feel good about.  


Delaware Families for Hands & Voices will receive $0.50 per 8 ounce bag our friends purchase.  In order for us to receive the donation, you must enter “Hands and Voices” in the sales code box at checkout.  


Thank you!

In This Issue:
  • Upcoming Events
  • Summer Camp Scholarships from CODHHE
  • A Happy-ish Halloween Message
  • A Little Halloween ASL
  • Great Coffee

Our next chapter meeting will be October 29 at 6PM at TLK Academy in Peoples Plaza, Glasgow.  Child care can be provided on request

Sweet_Frog vertical
Nov. 6 3:30 - 8:30, Fundraiser to support the Delaware Deaf-Blind Program's Family Learning Institute. SweetFrog is offering 15% of the night's sales. Just mention the Delaware Deaf-Blind Program when checking out at the register. SweetFrog is at 1225 Quintilio Dr., Bear, DE 19701. 

Nov. 9, 9:30-11:30am. CHOP CCC Meeting: Growing up with hearing in only one ear –What helped then, what helps now, and what could have been done differently. At the Colket Research Building. To RSVP please call Jaime Ramanauskas, Family Resource Coordinator at 267-426-0780, or E-mail her at 

Nov. 9, 10-11:30am, CHOP Parent Panel Discussion: Children with Cochlear Implants at the Colket Research Building, first floor. All parents of children with hearing loss who are considering a cochlear implant for their child or parents of children who have been recently implanted are invited. To RSVP please call Jaime Ramanauskas at 267-426-0780, or E-mail her at 

Delaware Family Voices
Nov. 11, 9-1 Part 1 and Nov. 13 9-12 Part 2: Parent to Parent Workshop to become a Support Parent. Both trainings will be held at Easter Seals in Georgetown: 22317 DuPont Boulevard, Georgetown, DE 19947 Please park towards the outside perimeter of the building. We kindly ask you to RSVP by November 4th, as a light lunch will be provided. Please call with any questions, Erica Schetter- (877) 235-3588 or 

Chapter meeting November 26, 6PM at TLK in Peoples Plaza in Glasgow. Childcare is available on request.

Summer Camp Scholarships

sunCODHHE Summer Camp Scholarships are available for the summer of 2014. Applications are due by February 28, 2014. Scholarship recipients will be deaf or hard of hearing Delaware residents between the ages of 8 and 18. Don't miss this great opportunity! Get your application here!
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