NCHAM WEBINAR: Fostering Joy: Scientific, Professional, & Parental Perspectives

Event Date
Contact Name
Mandy Jay
Email Address
Event Type
Accessible Programs,
Health & Wellness,
Parent Programs,
Professional Development,

Presented by:  Amy Szarkowski, Beth Jones and Jennifer Clark.


Fostering Joy brings together family members and professionals with the shared aim of finding, promoting, and celebrating “the joy in the journey” among families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH), including children who are deaf with disabilities (DWD). This presentation, conducted jointly by a parent leader and two professionals, will address why it can be difficult for service providers to broach the topic of “joy” with families and some strategies for doing so. It will highlight some of the science of joy and associated states, such as gratitude and mindfulness, as well as discuss why a “focus on joy” is beneficial for families and the professionals who work with them. Further, the presentation will provide suggestions for supporting families in finding and cultivating joy in their everyday experiences, even – or perhaps especially - during challenging times.

As we strive to further grow an inclusive and inviting movement for all who are privileged to work with and know children who are DHH or DWD and their families, we invite you to join the Fostering Joy movement. All it takes is desire to ‘be mindful of being joyful’ and to ‘spread the word’ about the importance of fostering joy in whatever way works for you. Additional information will be provided for any family member or professional who wishes to delve deeper into this topic and engage more directly.

Learning Objectives:

· List at least two science-based benefits of focusing on and experiencing joy.

· Identify two strategies for discussing joy with families, whether as a professional or a parent leader.

· Describe two or more “implementable actions” to engage more fully with the Fostering Joy movement.


Amy Szarkowski is a psychologist who is passionate about working with and supporting children who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families. She obtained two bachelor’s degrees - in Psychology and a Health Promotion/Fitness Management - from Southern Oregon University. At Eastern Kentucky University, Szarkowski earned a master’s degrees in Clinical Psychology along with a Post-Graduate certificate in Providing Mental Health Services to Deaf/Hard of Hearing Persons. She earned master’s degrees in both Developmental Psychology and Administration & Supervision at Gallaudet University, as well as a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Dr. Szarkowski is a Director of The Institute and The Clinic at the Children’s Center for Communication/Beverly School for the Deaf (CCCBSD), LEND faculty at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Beth Jones is Executive Director for Nevada Hands & Voices, as well as serving as the Guide By Your Side Coordinator and an Educational Advocate for the ASTra Program. Prior to beginning a family, Beth earned her Master's degree in Special Education and worked as an Autism Teacher and Behavior Mentor Teacher. Beth became involved with Hands & Voices when two of her three children were identified as being deaf/hard of hearing, and has been a part of Nevada Hands & Voices since 2012. She serves on many state-wide and national committees, teams, and advisory boards as a parent leader to help advocate and support children who are deaf/hard of hearing.

Jennifer Clark, Early Childhood Deaf and Hard of Hearing Specialist, Hawaii Jennifer Clark received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Disorders and Deaf Studies: Sign Language Interpreting, from California State University, Fresno and her Master’s Degree from Gallaudet University in Deaf Education: Family Centered Early Education. Jennifer worked with D/HH/DB children (birth-3) as the Early Intervention Deaf and Hard of Hearing Specialist for the Hawaii Department of Health from 2010-2021.

Amy, Beth, and Jennifer are proud members of Core Team of Fostering Joy.

Webinar start times (by time zone)

· 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm PT

· 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm MT

· 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm CT

This webinar platform will be via a Zoom link. Once you have registered for the webinar, a Zoom link will be emailed to you. Please make sure the Zoom account you will be using is up to date. More information on how to update your account can be found here: Updating Zoom

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.

This webinar is being provided by the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention, National Technical Resource Center (EHDI NTRC) housed within the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management at Utah State University. The work of the NTRC is funded in part by a cooperative agreement (U52MC04391) from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) at the United States Department of Health and Human Services.