Introducing Heather Dirks, The new Family Engagement Coordinator to the Iowa Deafblind Project.

Hello Families!

My name is Heather Dirks, and I am the new Family Engagement Coordinator for the Iowa Deafblind Project. I would like to introduce myself and provide my contact information so I can support your family and child.

I have four children, my oldest daughter, Lani, is 11 and is deafblind. She has two extremely rare genetic mutations, one on the TUBB3 gene and the other on the HUWE1 gene, these mutations have caused many physical, and cognitive disabilities as well as being deafblind. Lani uses ASL as her main form of communication. When she was born and newly diagnosed, we struggled with how best to support her and what resources were available for a child who is deafblind.  Over the years our family has attended many trainings, worked together with different organizations, and collaborated with many different providers to figure out how to best support our daughter. I have always found the most helpful thing to us was connecting to other families with shared experiences.  I understand as a parent of a child who is deafblind that things can be challenging at times. My hopes are that I can provide you with resources and connections to help your family in your journey as well.

I look forward to getting to know your family and wanted to let you know more information about the Iowa Deafblind Project. The purpose of the project is to provide training to families, assist families and their teams with transition, increase your ability to participate in the education of your child, and support for families. We also have a Technical Assistance Team to provide support and resources to your child and their team if needed. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or to let me know how I can best support you.

Sincerely,

Heather Dirks

Family Engagement Coordinator

Iowa Deafblind Project

heather.dirks@iaedb.org

515-380-1782