Is Hands & Voices Really Unbiased and Neutral?

I have been approached and encouraged to join Hands & Voices,,  but some have warned me that Hands & Voices is not really unbiased and neutral despite of their mission statement:

Hands & Voices is dedicated to supporting families with children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing without a bias around communication modes or methodology. We’re a parent-driven, non-profit organization providing families with the resources, networks, and information they need to improve communication access and educational outcomes for their children. Our outreach activities, parent/professional collaboration, and advocacy efforts are focused on enabling Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing children to reach their highest potential.

Here is my question about Hands & Voices after reading the mission statement above:   “Shouldn’t Hands & Voices’ chapters also be unbiased and neutral?  Does the national board at Hands &Voices make sure that their state chapters follow the Hands & Voices’ mission statement?

Here is my concern about Hands & Voice chapters, especially Indiana Hands & Voice chapter,

Kelly DiBenedetto, Executive Director and Lisa Kovacs, both of Indiana Hands & Voices chapter are working directly with Hear Indiana and their lobbyists everyday and are  involved in meetings with the author, Representative Noe, of the controversial HB 1367.  They are actively lobbying in their role as Hands & Voices in support of this bill the House and Senate of Indiana.

Lisa Kovacs is a parent of an oral child and advocates for speaking and listening.   She is the National Guide By Your Side Trainer and spokesperson (GBYS) for Hands & Voices and she is a paid staff by Hands & Voices.  She is the first point of contact to parents in Indiana’s GBYS program working with Indiana’s EHDI program.   She trains and assigns Parent Guides to families.  There are hearing and Deaf parent guides but rarely is a Deaf Parent guide contacted by her.

Doesn’t this show that she is biased and NOT neutral.

Lisa now is ACTIVELY working aside Hear Indiana’s lobbyists and in the meetings with the author of HB 1367 and also have already testified in support of the bill, HB 1367.

Isn’t this obviously a BIG CONFLICT OF INTEREST!

What does this say about the National Hands & Voices and its mission statement.

John F. Egbert


American Society for Deaf Children

800 Florida Avenue NE, #2047
Washington, DC 20002-2732
Date: 1/20/2012

The Honorable Robert Behning, Chair

House Education Committee
200 West Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN   46204

Dear Representative Behning,

We are the American Society for Deaf Children, a proud national organization of parents of deaf and hard of hearing children along with professionals supporting them. The ASDC mission is to support and educate families of deaf and hard of hearing children and advocates for high quality programs and services. This includes a primary core value that these children are entitled to ‘full communication access in their home, school, and community’, including that this parent organization respects and values American Sign Language. In addition, ASDC believes in a supportive system that is seamless, transparent, inclusive, and cohesive.

Our Hoosier families have brought HB 1367 to the attention of the American Society for Deaf Children and after investigating the bill and the situation of its drafting, we have decided to support our Indiana membership by writing this letter in opposition to HB 1367. ASDC has viewed that this piece of legislation has been designed to dismantle the excellent existing source of professional outreach for Indiana parents of deaf and hard of hearing children. This bill would misguidedly re- invent the wheel by creating a new outreach system and placing its critical importance and service in the hands of unknown & potentially unproven players.

The current Outreach Services, which is housed at the Indiana School for the Deaf, is both up-to-date and top caliber when it comes to professional support for families of deaf and hard of hearing children. ISD has a long history of being one of the nation’s top schools in evidence-based deaf education, of which it is a privilege for ASDC to be a part of. It would be an asset to continue supporting and growing even further this Outreach Services at ISD.

ASDC shares this concern that the bill was drafted without comprehensive input from all of the stakeholders – from the Hoosier parents who were served by the current center, from the ISD School Board at large, from the Indiana Deaf Community, and from other Hoosier stakeholders. Transparency and inclusion of dialogues would have resulted in all parties supporting each other and be united with having a comprehensive center.

As the HB 1367 is currently written, it is vague and lacks fiscal safeguard, including lack of detail in how much it will cost and be funded. It does not protect, in a financial parameter, that the families would be provided resources and support, in addition and beyond what is already offered at the ISD’s Outreach Services.

Given the nature of our ASDC organization as inclusive to the families, and because of the current intent of the HB 1367, ASDC is uncomfortable supporting it. Perhaps an opportunity can arise for all stakeholders to share a table and dialogue further on the differences and work towards a common and united agreement.

Thank you for reading this letter and recognizing the concerns of the American Society for Deaf Children in this HB 1367 and our rationale for opposing it.

If I can be of any assistance to you please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Cheri Dowling

Director of Advocacy with full support of the ASDC Board

See this news release:


My comment:

I wondered why Plumadore did not kill Aliahna’s two other sisters?

Since Aliahna is Deaf, did she know how to talk speech normally or she uses American Sign Language?

Aliahna was a mainstreamed student at Holland Elementary School and wondered if the school uses bilingual method, American Sign Language and English?

My question should be this, was Plumadore frustrated with communicating with Aliahna which could have lead to this gross murder?

My friend asked me if this is an audism issue and if this should be investigated because, if this was a racism issue, media would surly want to know.  But the sad fact is that Deaf people like Aliahna are not significant enough to be throughly investigated.

I think National Association of the Deaf (NAD) should demand a through investigation as much I think that NAACP would do the same.

Yes, true that I was trained to have good skills with speech but I was actually trained to speak good speech…just for the hearing society, not the other way around.

And in fact that majority of the Deaf that were trained to learn how to use speech actually do not have normal speech.  Yes, it’s true that AGBell and its associates demonstrate many of the young Deaf children’s “child”s” speech but reality, they only demonstrate a very few Deaf teenagers because majority refuse to use their speech after experiencing ridicule responds from the society.

Really, AGBell gave false hope to many oral Deaf children and they became part of the large solitary, isolated member of the hearing society. The few successful oral Deaf adult became part of AGBell’s advocate promoting speech and support the parent’s naive rights to make the misguided informed decision not to have their Deaf babies and children to learn American Sign Language and English bilingually.

Regardless how well I learned to have good speech, I will always be “handicap” or “disabled” because of the difficulty to receive “talking” data from the hearing people.

It is not how well your speech is,  it is how well you are able to interact with other person, whether it is speaking/writing/reading with English Language or signing with American Sign Language bilingually.

AGBell’s slogan and advocation…. “Independence Through Speech and Listening” is the main reason why most Deaf people have 4th grade level reading and writing skills. 90% of the Deaf babies and children started with oralism philosophy.

Maryland School for the Deaf do not have 4th grade level reading and writing among High School Graduates and they have better reading and writing skills than the hearing high schools in the area.

See the Deaf DR. Joseph Valente’s captioned YouTube  about Maryland School for the Deaf

Deaf Bilingualism is the Solution.

I gotta tell’ya

Visualizing Lip Reading is harder than Visualized ASL.

I have been visualizing lips for years and actually assumed that reading lips was normal until I finally brave enough to throughly learned to be fluency in American Sign Language.
I actually did learned sign language but not at the level to be a normal to have a communication modality skill as a normal person.
Knowing American Sign Language communication modality level is far different from just knowing sign language using English structure language.
i finally understood when someone told me that you need to know American Sign Language to understand American Sign Language.
So i kept on trying to learn more about ASL(American Sign Language) to be able to communicate like a normal person.  Another words, I was never normal until I learned fully about American Sign Language to be able to have a normal communication modality skill having a normal interaction conversation with another normal human being.
Now I understand why we have two different deaf “community” using American Sign Language and using “English” sign language. It really takes one to know ASL to understand ASL and those that assume that they know but can’t achieve the level of ASL communication modality skill are really frustrated trying to live as a normal reality life.
Really, it took me patience to realize that the fact of what is being said, “you need to know ASL to understand ASL.
How true!
Now I am proud to say that I am truly a bilingual Deaf person.

A Truly Bilingual Deaf Person,
John F. Egbert

HEARING & SPEECH CENTER “Biased” Parking sign…

This sign is posted on Gallaudet University Campus
Do we have this sign on Gallaudet University Campus?
No, definitely not.  Deaf people are not biased, but why Gallaudet administration posted this SIGN on campus?


I suggest equalized biased signs on campus or just delete all biased signs together.

What you say?……Let’s be  Fair and Balance?



John F. Egbert

Should we stop these stupid terminologies of the Political Correctness Identity?

Should we be proud of ourselves as one identity?

If not, then we have a problem.

Instead of being identified Deaf,

Should be we identified politically corrected as hard of hearing or (d)eaf as being colonized?

Or instead of being identified Black,

Should be we identified politically corrected as hard of white or (b)lack as being colonized?

Oh, what about Gays and Lesbian? Hard of straight?

Is it about time we stop this stupidity of being hard of common senses?

What more we need to categorize ourselves into being itself to be politically correctly identified in the society?

I wonder if we need to stop this reality as part of the stupid political correctness-ization culture?

In my opinion, whom ever invented the terminology word “hard of hearing”(….AGBell?) did it to divide the Deaf community and wanted to promote speak and hear(monolingual) as being more superior than those that are bilingual: American Sign Language and English.

Yeah, I “hear” you…….., you say….,  Enough is Enough.

I am Deaf and Proud,
John F. Egbert

“I may speak well but I am never hearing”