New Voices works to improve educational opportunities for children with severe communication and mobility disabilities.
Caitlin Burke is a speech language pathologist in private practice at Talk About It Speech and Language Therapy Services in Durham. She received her Masters of Science in Speech and Hearing Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill. Although Caitlin is relatively new to the field, she has impressed everyone with her determination to provide children with a way to communicate anywhere, any time, and with anyone. She has established herself as an expert in implementing the PODD communication system with children with complex communication needs. Her goal is to provide a system to allow the child to grow their communication skills past basic requests to allow them to become true communication partners with those around them. She was nominated by a grateful parent, Dionne Silvester, and by Dr. Debbie Reinhartsen of the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Kristin Burnette is a nationally board certified special education teacher at Hilburn Academy in Wake County Public Schools. She received her Masters of Arts in Special Education, Low Incidence Disabilities, from East Carolina University. Kristin has been accepted into the PhD program for special education at UNC-Greensboro. Kristin creates a culture of communication where her students’ voices, whether speech, gestures, or augmentative communication systems are integrated into the classroom. She promotes inclusive education for her students by providing opportunities for general education students to interact with her students. She also has served with organizations like Family Support Network and Wake Special Education Advisory Council advocating for the families of the children she teaches. Kristin was nominated by a previous Lara Jane Parker Award winner, Betsy Cordle, and Mary Lou Dodd, a physical therapist.
Kara VanHooser is a speech language pathologist working at McDougle Elementary School in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro City Schools district. Kara has over 20 years’ experience and serves as the Exceptional Children’s team lead. Kara is proactive in engaging a child’s whole team, including families, private therapists and physicians to meet the student’s communication and other needs. She invites local and state politicians to meet her students to understand their challenges and is in regular contact with them to discuss the issues that affect her students. She received her Masters of Science in Speech/Language Pathology from James Madison University. Kara was nominated by Delia Hudson, her peer speech language pathologist, working at McDougle Elementary School.
Angie Waitt, a speech language pathologist in the Orange County Schools, supports their tiniest learners – pre-K students with disabilities. She is also a member of the newly formed Orange County Alternative/Augmentative Communication/Assistive Technology team, who work to bring access to communication, curriculum and the total school experience to students. Additionally, Angie is working on a research project with the UNC Center for Literacy and Disability Studies, mentoring, modeling, and coaching the use of core vocabulary. Angie’s background includes a Masters of Science in Speech and Hearing Sciences and a Bachelor of Arts in Childhood Education from UNC-Chapel-Hill. Angie was nominated for this award by Connie Crimmins, Director of Exceptional Children Services in Orange County Schools.
The Lara Jane Parker Awards Program – was established to provide both reward and recognition to those outstanding teachers, therapists, parents, education and health professionals and leaders who work daily to improve the lives of New Voices children. These individuals help improve their schools and their communities in ways that will allow these children to be fully included in all aspects of their daily lives.
The award for excellence recognizes individuals from the Alamance/Burlington, Chatham, Durham, Johnston, Orange, Wake counties school districts and the Chapel Hill—Carrboro City Schools, who have direct instructional or therapeutic contact with a school-aged child (or children) with communication and physical challenges.
The award for advocacy recognizes individuals who advocate for a child (or children) with communication and physical challenges. These individuals promote inclusion by their interactions and support of children with significant communication and physical challenges.
Your support improves the lives of children who face challenges in speaking and walking.
Did you know – if you shop online at Amazon, they will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to the charitable organization selected by you (we hope you will choose New Voices Foundation!).
All you do is use http://smile.amazon.com/ instead of the regular Amazon site, choose New Voices Foundation, then shop as usual – same products and prices.
“Speechless” is a hit! Smashing stereotypes about children who struggle to walk and talk every Wednesday night. This show presents many real life issues faced by families like the DiMeo’s who just want their son included at school and in the community. The show’s creator, Scott Silveri, has personal experience with a nonverbal brother which brings authenticity to the show.
Let us know what you think of the show by commenting on our Facebook page or joining the conversation on Twitter.
The You Tube trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4u55WK6AbaM