Affordable Technology Access for Lower Income Families – May 27th

National Hearing Assessment & Management Webinar.

On Thursday, May 27th, NCHAM will be hosting the webinar: “Discovering Affordable Technology Access for Families” Presented by: Tawny Holmes and Zainab Alkebsi.


An increasing number of EHDI resources are becoming “green” (paperless) or virtual, but that means families with limited access to internet may be left in the dust. This presentation will share immediately usable information about free or affordable technology access that is available to families with lower socio-economic status. This technology access is required/funded by the federal government, and often is not common knowledge among early intervention professionals. Did you know that families may be qualified for free or $10 a month wireless internet? Did you know that parents may qualify for a $10 a month cell phone bill? Free iPads? This company-neutral presentation by a national advocacy organization is strictly focused on providing information on all major telecommunications companies’ offers as mandated/provided by federal law. Come and learn more so you can support your families with teleintervention (including virtual learning, apps, webinars) and more wonderful electronic resources out there!

Learning Objectives:

· Parents and professionals will be able to list various avenues to receive affordable technology access.

· Participants will develop strategies for families to apply for technology access.

· Participants will locate relevant websites and companies where they can proceed with applications.


Tawny Holmes Hlibok is the Education Policy Counsel at the National Association of the Deaf along with being Assistant Professor in the Department of ASL and Deaf Studies at Gallaudet University. She graduated from University of Baltimore School of Law. In addition to her law degree with a family mediation & law certification, she has a Master of Arts in Family Centered Early Education. Ms. Holmes has worked three years in teaching deaf and hard of hearing students, mainly in the early childhood education field. As part of her position, she focuses on improving/establishing federal and state policy related to early intervention and education of deaf and hard of hearing children. Ms. Holmes strongly believes in the power of collaboration and has contributed a significant amount of her work towards this endeavor, in varying ways, from promoting parent resources to inclusion of deaf and hard of hearing adult professionals.

Zainab Alkebsi, Esq. is the Policy Counsel at the National Association of the Deaf (NAD). She is responsible for providing analysis, recommendations, and counsel to the NAD on policy issues affecting people who are deaf and hard of hearing. Prior to joining the NAD, she served as Deputy Director at the Maryland Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing where she coordinated the office’s legislative and policy efforts. Licensed to practice law in Maryland, she is also a member of the American Bar Association and the Maryland State Bar Association. She received her J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law. She also has a B.A. in Political Science from University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).

Webinar date: May 27, 2021

Webinar start times (by time zone)

· 11:00 am – 12:00 pm PT

· 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm MT

· 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CT

· 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET

Where: Adobe Connect- to register click

Download the adobeconnect app.

For Windows:

For Mac:

More download information is found at:

Note: If your institution does not permit you to add the above link, you may go to the above URL directly, however, we have been advised that optimal performance is achieved via the app.

Live captioning will also be provided.

This webinar will be recorded and posted online at about a week after the webinar. There are no CEU’s offered for the webinar.

If you have questions about this webinar, please contact Mandy Jay . For technical assistance during the webinar, please contact Daniel Ladner.

Delaware Early Education & Child Care Stabilization Fund Hearing

CCDF Public Hearing Announcement 5.3.21

GACEC Executive Director Retiring


The Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens (GACEC) would like to inform all stakeholders in the Delaware disability community of the retirement of Executive Director Wendy S. Strauss as of April 31, 2021.

Wendy’s role as Executive Director started twenty-three years ago. Running a state agency is not always easy, but the GACEC has grown under her guidance and direction. Wendy worked on numerous pieces of legislation with the Council and other disability advocates that positively impacted the lives of individuals with disabilities. She was instrumental in working with key stakeholders to get the Speech-Language Program in Delaware. Wendy and the Council led the team on the Seclusion and Restraint guidelines for the Department of Education and facilities. Another of her life-changing works was establishing School Resource Officer legislation requiring guidelines and training for school resource officers working with students in special education.

Ann Fisher, the Chairperson of the GACEC Council, shared,” The GACEC wishes Wendy well on her retirement. We thank her for her many years of dedicated service and unwavering support for individuals with disabilities and their families. Her knowledge, experience, and guidance through the years have been invaluable. She will truly be missed.”

Wendy worked on creating disability awareness at the public school level, in childcare and preschools by focusing on disability history and the disability rights movement. The initiative resulted in House Bill 123 proclaiming October as Disability History and Awareness Month in Delaware and HCR 33 to present Disability History and Awareness Month in childcare settings.  The GACEC instituted a Disability History and Awareness Month Poster Contest. Students from across the state created works of art depicting specific topics people with disabilities face. The GACEC worked with many partners and schools across the state to have a book and coloring book developed and printed to share statewide. A curriculum was designed around the book and coloring book for preschool teachers and childcare providers to introduce friends with various abilities to their students as part of Disability History and Awareness Month. 

Brian Hartman, a colleague for 33 years, said, “Wendy was an inspiring advocate for kids throughout her career. She earned respect for her diplomacy and “people” skills – she could professionally promote a cause without alienating others. I’ll never forget the many days (and sometimes nights!) spent together in Legislative Hall advancing a myriad of bills and initiatives. When we faced roadblocks, she could always be relied upon to offer practical, level-headed advice on a path forward. Wendy should take pride in her long tenure with the GACEC and her overall legacy as someone who improved the lives of countless Delawareans.” 

A State Transition Task Force for Emerging Adults with Disabilities and Special Health Care needs was established by SCR 34 in 2012. The Task Force, Co-chaired by Teri Hancharick, then Council Chair and Wendy Strauss, addressed the need to review transition using a holistic approach. From the Task Force work and support from agency stakeholders, GACEC created the transition website Delaware Disability Hub ( 

Terri Hancharick, past Chair said, “I met Wendy many years ago when I was invited to the GACEC retreat as a panelist to talk about how inclusion is not always the best practice. Boy, was I wrong!  Wendy was one of the people who taught me about inclusion, the importance of friendships, and the importance of belonging to the community. Wendy has a very gentle way of getting her point across. She puts everyone ahead of herself. So I hope she will use this time to selfishly do what she wants to do. After a lifetime of advocating for families and kids with disabilities and caring for her family members along the way, it’s time for Wendy. She always had time to take my phone calls, give advice and find resources for people that needed help.”

Wendy was instrumental in bringing together a team to create the Boundless theatrical production, which documented a march from Wilmington, DE to Washington D.C. of people with disabilities and supporters. The show was a massive success due to the professional talent working behind the scenes and people with disabilities who acted in the play.

An Oral Health Program called Brushing for Brighter Smiles, made possible by a grant from Public Health, was created under Strauss’s direction to teach children about oral hygiene. The interactive program was presented to hundreds of elementary students and preschool children ages three to five.

For a decade, the GACEC organized the Heart-2-Heart Hugs campaign, which provided warm winter clothes to Delaware’s homeless children. Donations of sleeping bags, coats, hats, gloves, blankets, socks, scarves, snow pants, afghans, buntings, hoodies, and mittens were distributed to schools and foster care programs.

A series of videos were also created with Strauss’s direction to help parents of children with disabilities, teachers, caseworkers, transition coordinators, and students.

Looking back, Mrs. Strauss reflects, “Knowing I and my dedicated staff made a difference in the lives of people with disabilities and their families have made my career so rewarding. Having met so many parents, advocates, and professionals that have taught me along the way was always a blessing that I am thankful for.”

Stepping into the GACEC Executive Director position is Pamela Weir.  Pam has served in the Department of Health and Social Services/Division of Public Health as the Assistant Part C Coordinator for the Birth to Three Early Intervention Program for six years.   In that position, she provided oversight and support for the Part C of IDEA Interagency Coordination Council and representation on statewide committees and councils to ensure program initiatives. She has ten years of program management and implementation and over eighteen years of human services experience. Pam has extensive experience aligning processes with federal and state regulations and monitoring the effectiveness of programs.  She has worked with individuals with disabilities for over eighteen years.

The purpose of the GACEC is to serve as a review board for policies, procedures, practices, and advocacy related to the delivery of services to people with disabilities from birth to death. They act in an advisory capacity for the Department of Education and the Department of Corrections.

For additional information, call 302-739-4553 or visit the website