We have two programs:  Guide By Your Side, and ASTra


We have two programs:  Guide By Your Side, and ASTra

Guide By Your Side (GBYS) Program

Guide By Your Side (GBYS) is a program from Hands & Voices (H&V)™ that provides emotional support, technical assistance, coaching, networking, and unbiased information from trained Parent and/or Deaf or Hard of Hearing (D/HH) Guides to other families and to the systems that serve them.

GBYS provides unbiased support to families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing.  GBYS does this through specially trained parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. These parents work as “Guides” directly with families who have just learned of their child’s hearing condition, or who have older children and are in need of the unique support that comes from someone else who has walked this path him/herself and can share from direct experience and wisdom. 

The Arkansas GBYS program also has Deaf/Hard of Hearing Guides (D/HH Guides) who are Deaf or hard of hearing adults who are specially trained to provide support to families.

Purpose of Arkansas H&V GBYS Parent Guides:

GBYS Parent Guides want to support families wherever they are in their journey. Guides are willing to meet with families face-to-face, virtually, through text, email, phone, and during family events. Our goal is to provide a unique parent-to-parent support system so that families know they are not alone in a journey that may be new to them. We want to bring them into the larger Arkansas Hands & Voices organization as well so that they can continue to receive – and eventually share their own – support to families throughout our state.

Our GBYS Parent guides:

  • Have children of various ages whom are deaf or hard of hearing
  • Have been trained to provide unbiased support and information
  • Will keep all information about your child and family private
  • Are located in all different regions of the State

Purpose of Arkansas H&V GBYS D/HH Guides:

D/HH Guides are a diverse group of D/HH adults who compliment the work of Parent Guides by working alongside them. D/HH Guides share with children and families their unique life experiences, use of technology, how they navigate social situations, how they developed their personal identity, etc. D/HH Guides undergo the similar training as Hands & Voices Parent Guides and all Guides are under the supervision of a local GBYS Coordinator as well as provided opportunities for ongoing training and networking through Hands & Voices Headquarters.

Specialized Knowledge and Skills of the GBYS D/HH Guides:

  • Experiential knowledge of joys and challenges of the DHH experience
  • Sensitivity to the range of emotional responses that families experience
  • Unbiased information and presentation of languages, modes or methods of communication with sensitivity to the parent journey
  • Local, state, national resources specific to children who are deaf or hard of hearing
  • Knowledge of the systems that serve children who are DHH (EHDI, Part C, Part B)
  • Formalized GBYS training and an ongoing affiliation with Hands & Voices 
  • D/HH Guides participate as part of the trainings with the parent guides, as well as additional, specific training as a DHH guide

Advocacy, Support, & Training (ASTra) Program

ASTra is a replicable Deaf and Hard of Hearing Educational Advocacy Program designed to provide support to parents and professionals with resources that focus specifically on D/HH issues in the Hands & Voices context: a commitment to unbiased support of families regardless of language and communication approaches used by their children and across the full continuum of educational placement options, so that every child who is D/HH has the opportunity to achieve his/her full potential. 

ASTra content is derived from years of direct advocacy experience working with families in schools, attending advocacy trainings from legal experts, providing trainings, and the Hands & Voices Educational Advocacy Guidebook (©2013).


To create an understanding of the basic components of educational advocacy for children who are deaf or hard of hearing so that parents/guardians are better equipped to advocate for their children.



We offer educational advocacy trainings for parents and professionals that is specific to children who are deaf/hard of hearing

Learn more about IEPs, 504 Plans, Special Considerations for Children who are D/HH, transition from Part C to Part B and other topics.

Information about trainings will be posted on the AR Hands & Voices Facebook page and our website



ASTra Advocates have been trained through the Hands & Voices ASTra Educational Advocacy Program as lay advocates. ASTra Advocates provide advocacy resources, support, and IEP preparation to parents who have requested educational advocacy support.  

ASTra Advocates do not provide legal advice.

To contact an ASTra Advocate, email or call  (401) 236-7218 


Advocacy tools, articles about advocacy, and information about purchasing the Hands & Voices Educational Advocacy Guidebook can be found on the Hands and Voices HQ ASTra page.


PO Box 512
Conway, AR 72033
© 2024 Arkansas Hands & Voices