Registration closes March 31, 2021

Friday, April 16, 2021

Start time: 8:15 a.m.

End time: 4:30 p.m.

(Zoom meeting opens at 8 a.m.)


$50 for school personnel registering by January 18, 2021

$75 for school personnel registering after January 18, 2021

$37.50 for college students studying DHH-related professions and adult family members of students who are DHH


MDE-LIO is pleased to host a virtual spring conference for parents and school personnel working with students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH). This one-day conference will kick off with a thought-provoking keynote address on navigating the gray areas of interactions between individuals who are DHH and individuals who are hearing, including finding commonalities that unite us. The keynote presenters will also offer a special breakout session for parents. Plenary panel discussions and presentations will be offered in the afternoon. Attendees will also have opportunities to network with others and learn about agencies and organizations supporting children and students in Michigan who are DHH.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn and network with your colleagues from all over Michigan!

Participants will:

  • Identify evidence-based strategies for use with students who are DHH
  • Explore collaborative methods and resources for supporting families with children/students who are DHH
  • Discover options for networking with colleagues statewide

This event has been approved for 6.5 SCECHs and .65 RID-CEUs for Professional Studies. Michigan Interpreter CEUs are pending.


School personnel who provide educational support for children and students who are DHH, including teachers and teacher consultants, educational audiologists, educational interpreters, speech language pathologists, early intervention providers, administrators, school psychologists, DHH specialists, and college students studying DHH-related fields. Parents of children who are DHH are also encouraged to attend.

Keynote Presenters

Leala Holcomb, PhD, graduated from California School for the Deaf in Fremont. Holcomb went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in International Education and Development from Gallaudet University, a master’s degree in Special Education from National University, and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Tennessee. Holcomb was previously a family educator working with families of children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH) and has taught in K-12 settings. Holcomb enjoys teaching Deaf education courses to college students aspiring to be teachers of the Deaf. Currently, Holcomb is a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Tennessee, conducting research on writing instruction. Holcomb is a co-founder of Hands Land, a company that produces rhyming and rhythmic videos in ASL and provides professional development to educators. Holcomb enjoys exploring hearing-DHH dynamics with their hearing partner, Damon Timm, and their children who are DHH and hearing.

Damon Timm began learning American Sign Language in high school and continued his studies at Northeastern University. Timm has lived with Deaf people and within the Deaf community for more than twenty years and continues to learn how to be a better hearing person from his partner, Leala Holcomb, and their children who are DHH and hearing.

Additional Presenters

Michella Maiorana-Basas, PhD, is an associate professor and director of the Deaf Education Program at Flagler College in Florida. Basas also serves as a co-editor for Raising and Educating Deaf Children, Foundations for Policy, Practice, and Outcomes, and has dedicated her study and service to strengthening the research-to-practice pipeline while building philosophical and collaborative bridges in deaf education.

JoAnn Benfield, BA, MA, is director of the Gallaudet University Regional Center – South in Texas. Benfield serves 13 states/territories in the South region and collaborates often with schools, programs, service providers, and organizations to promote their connection with Gallaudet University and the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center.

Tara J. Miles, BA, MSW, is a manager of Family Education programs at the Laurent Clerc Center. Miles oversees family involvement programs, develops and implements diverse programs that cater to families, and oversees long-standing programs such as the Shared Reading Project and family American Sign Language (ASL) classes. She is also a lead teacher for the Curriculum Enhancement/Physical Education department and serves as a trainer for the Laurent Clerc Center.

Required Technology

This workshop will be conducted online via Zoom; participants do not need to have Zoom, but they must have internet access and a computer with a camera. Instructions will be provided beforehand on how to access the workshop.


Attendees must be able to log into and participate in this workshop individually. This workshop is not conducive to group participation.


It is important for participants to request accommodations at least three weeks prior to the event. Outside agencies MDE-LIO contracts with to provide accommodations cannot guarantee services if requests are made in less than three weeks.

Available Credits


Cancellation Policy

Please contact Stacy Guthrie at as soon as possible if you need to cancel your registration. Please note: For events that require payment, MDE-LIO will issue refunds only for cancellations received no less than three business days prior to the event.​

Contact Information

Stacy Guthrie