Connected: Celebrating Families!

A retreat for families with deaf and hard-of-hearing children.

Hosted by


* * * ONLY $25 FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR! * * *

Join us in celebrating the joys of raising a child who is deaf or hard of hearing!  Our first-ever, full-day retreat will offer fun and informative workshops and activities for the entire family, including: 

A Special Presentation BY DADS, FOR DADS: The Importance of Fathers in the Lives of DHH Kids.

A Chance for Moms to Meet other Moms!

Preparing for a Successful IEP Meeting.

The Importance of Sibling Relationships.

Celebrating Multi-Lingual Households.

Fun Family Team Building.


Online registration via the "Get Tickets" link is preferred. However, mail-in registration (for check payments) is also available.

Families: MAIL-IN paper registration in English.

Familias: Forma de registro POR CORREO en Español.

Individual Tickets/ Professionals MAIL-IN registration.

*Click Here To Download An Event Flier*


The Deaf Education And Families Project (DEAF Project) supports and empowers families with deaf and hard-of-hearing children.  DEAF Project aims to help parents realize the positive lifetime journey of bonding with and raising a deaf or hard-of-hearing child, rather than struggling with how to “fix” a “disabled” child. 

DEAF Project uses parent mentors, who themselves are raising deaf or hard-of-hearing children, to offer invaluable first-hand experience and emotional support to fellow parents and families.  DEAF Project celebrates a multi-lingual approach to raising deaf and hard-of-hearing kids, and offers free, family-focused American Sign Language classes (in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley and San Diego), as well as monthly Family Fun Days aimed at connecting families to help build a network of support.  Learn more about DEAF Project at


Use of these school premises has been granted pursuant to the provisions of Sections 17400, et seq., of the Education Code of the State of California to Licensee from the Board of Education of the Los Angeles Unified School District. The Board of Education does not sponsor or take responsibility, nor does it necessarily endorse any of the activities, statements, or opinions which may be expressed at this meeting or activity.

Marlton School
4000 Santo Tomas Drive
Date TBD
Ticket Sales Are Closed
Special thanks to
Dr. Tomas Garcia

Dr. Tomas Garcia is a professor of American Sign Language at East Los Angeles College, and author of "Conocimiento," a popular bilingual blog designed to unite the deaf, hard of hearing and hearing Latin American and mainstream communities.  His experience growing up deaf and raising a child who is deaf, coupled with being trilingual (American Sign Language, spoken Spanish and spoken English), makes him an excellent role model and resource for fathers and families.

Mark Splittstoesser

Mark Splittstoesser has been an adjunct professor of American Sign Language at California Baptist University and Mt. San Jacinto College since 2007. He previously taught Life Science at California School for the Deaf in Riverside, and spent three years with the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness as a Community Health Educator and Train-the-Trainer partner in the statewide effort to curb teen pregnancy and encourage father involvement.
Lori Steed Sortino

Lori Steed Sortino is a group facilitator and mother of two adult children, one deaf and one hearing.  She writes a blog, "Deaf Son, Hearing Mother," and works for Parent Links and DEAF Project, conducting parent meetings and trainings that promote communication, awareness and decision-making.  She is a past board member for IMPACT (Independently Merging Parent Associations of California, Together), where she served on the planning team for the annual CAL-Ed/IMPACT conference serving parents of D/HH children.

Apryl Chauhan

Apryl Chauhan is the hearing mother of a deaf daughter and two hearing children. Like many hearing parents, having a deaf child was an unexpected turn in her family's life. Having absolutely no knowledge of deafness or American Sign Language, she turned to other parents and the Deaf community for guidance and support. In an effort to share the wealth of knowledge and empowerment she has gained on this journey, Apryl has worked closely with Parent Links, DEAF Project, IMPACT, the California Department of Education, and Hands & Voices to help support fellow families with deaf and hard-of-hearing children. The Chauhan family can be seen in the "Through Your Child's Eyes" video, and their story is featured in the New York Times Best Seller, "Far From the Tree," by Andrew Solomon.

Stephanie Johnson

Stephanie Johnson is a preschool and kindergarten teacher at Marlton School for the Deaf, where she also serves as an ASL/English Bilingual Professional Development Program mentor. She has taught at Marlton School since 1999, and became a mentor in 2005.  Aside from working at Marlton, Stephanie has served as chairperson for the California Educators of the Deaf conference in 2013, and continues her service as an active board member for Area 5.  She is a part-time faculty member in deaf education at California State University, Northridge, and San Fernando Valley families will recognize her as the instructor for DEAF Project’s Family ASL Class at Mayall Elementary.  She has planned an exciting day of activities for children of all ages who will join their families at the Connected retreat!

Richard Hall

Richard Hall is a teacher at Marlton School, teaching American Sign Language and filmmaking to middle- and high school students.  In 2008, his students wrote and produced a short film called, “Second Chance,” which examines the relationship between a Mexican hearing family and their Deaf daughter.  The film was screened internationally at film festivals and has won several awards.  Hall is a proud member of a multigenerational Deaf family, for which he credits the development of his strong Deaf identity.  He is the father of two KODA daughters and a graduate of Gallaudet University.

Carmen Varela

Disability Rights California

Carmen Varela has has been a disability rights advocate for 20 years, and currently works as a legal advocate with Disability Rights California.   She successfully advocates for the legal rights of children with disabilities, specializing in immigrant and underserved populations.  She frequently trains parents on issues related to special education law and accessing assistive technology.  She sits on numerous boards and advisory committees throughout Los Angeles County, and is a trilingual sign language interpreter for the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking in Los Angeles.  She is the mother of two adult children with disabilities.

Jamila Guerrero-Cantor

Jamila Guerrero-Cantor, MA, NCC is a counselor for deaf and hard-of-hearing students at Los Angeles Trade Technical College.  She has also worked as a counselor at Marlton School, Cerritos College, and El Camino College.  She is a National Certified Counselor, and graduated with a M.A. in School Counseling and Guidance from Gallaudet University.  She is a member of the California Mental Health Services Act  Multi-Cultural Coalition, a statewide project that aims to make recommendations and take action to genuinely serve the mental health needs of underserved communities.  Jamila serves on the coalition representing DHH and Chicano/Latino communities in school settings.

Irma Sanchez

DEAF Project

Irma Sanchez is a parent mentor with DEAF Project and Parent Links, where she shares the valuable first-hand experience and insight that comes from raising three sons who are deaf.  She and her family host DEAF Project's Los Angeles Family ASL Class in their home, which has also been the backdrop for several of DEAF Project's Los Angeles Family Fun Days.  She recently founded Deaf Latinos, a nonprofit organization dedicated to integrating family and cultural history into the lives of children who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Edith Wysinger

DEAF Project

Edith is the proud mother of a nine-year-old deaf son. Since her son Tony was first identified, she has focused on learning about available resources and best practices to support his educational and social development.  She served on the board for Tri-County GLAD from 2010 -2013, and joined DEAF Project and Parent Links in 2012 as a parent mentor to share her experience and give back to the parents and professionals who have helped support she and her family.

Edith holds a bachelor’s degree in child development with an emphasis in child mental health from California State University, Northridge and a master’s degree in leadership and management from the University of La Verne. She has spent 20 years working in the field of developmental disabilities, including serving as an early interventionist, regional center services coordinator and regional center manager.  She currently works at Channel Islands Social Services as the family services manager.

Retreat Schedule

9:00AM - 9:30AM
Check-In and Socialization
9:30AM - 10:00AM
Welcome and Opening Comments
10:15AM - 12:15PM
"For Dads Only!" with Tomas Garcia (Spanish) and Mark Splittstoesser (English/ASL) OR; "Moms Supporting Moms" with Lori Sortino, Apryl Chauhan and Irma Sanchez AND; Kids Activities with Stephanie Johnson and Friends.
12:30PM - 1:45PM
LUNCH (Included) Catering provided by Jonathan Weiss and Big Mango Cafe.
2:00PM - 3:45PM
"For Dads Only! Part Two" OR; "Becoming an Empowered Advocate for Your DHH Child" AND; Kids Activities with Stephanie Johnson and Friends.
4:00PM - 5:00PM
Family Team Building and Closing Remarks.
"For Dads Only!" with Tomas Garcia (Spanish) and Mark Splittstoesser (English/ASL) OR; "Moms Supporting Moms" with Lori Sortino and Apryl Chauhan AND; Kids Activities with Stephanie Johnson and Friends.
Send Note
Sorry, ticket sales have closed.
Sort By: DateFirstLast