AG Bell Announces 2012 Recipient of the Volta Award

WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 1 – The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) named BEGINNINGS for Parents of Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in North Carolina as the 2012 recipient of AG Bell’s prestigious Volta Award.

The Volta Award is given to individuals and/or organizations that have made a significant contribution to increasing public awareness of the challenges and potential of people with hearing loss. BEGINNINGS provides an impartial approach to meeting the diverse needs of families who have children who are deaf or hard of hearing and the professionals who serve them, and has collected widely cited data demonstrating changes in parental communication choice over the last decade.

“This award recognizes BEGINNINGS for its efforts to provide information and support to families of children with hearing loss, and educational opportunities to the professionals that serve them,” said AG Bell President Kathleen Treni. “By providing these valuable services, BEGINNINGS has ensured that each child with hearing loss born in North Carolina has the opportunity to receive appropriate intervention services immediately, ensuring that both the child and his/her family receive support throughout the child’s educational journey.”

Past recipients of the Volta Award include world-renowned audiologist Marion Downs of the Marion Downs Hearing Center; Hearing Loss Association of America’s Rocky Stone; the Oberkotter Foundation; Joanna Nichols and the Children’s Hearing Foundation in Taiwan; and Karl R. White, Ph.D., founder and director of the National Center for Hearing and Assessment Management at Utah State University; among others.

BEGINNINGS was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1987 to provide emotional support and access to information as a central resource for families who have children who are deaf or hard of hearing children, ages birth through 21. These services are also available to parents who are deaf and who have children with typical hearing.

BEGINNINGS was founded on the premise that parents, given accurate, objective information about hearing loss, could make sound decisions for their child. These decisions involve placement, communication methodology and related service needs. Staff is committed to providing services in a family centered atmosphere to facilitate active involvement of parents in their child's social, emotional and educational growth. Most recently, the organization worked to pass a statewide hearing aid insurance mandate in North Carolina, which took effect in 2011.

The Volta Award will be presented to BEGINNINGS at its Anniversary Gala at The Umstead Hotel in Cary, NC on April 26, 2012.

About the AG Bell Association

The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) helps families, health care providers and education professionals understand childhood hearing loss and the importance of early diagnosis and intervention. Through advocacy, education and financial aid, AG Bell helps to ensure that every child and adult with hearing loss has the opportunity to listen, talk and thrive. With chapters located in the United States and a network of international affiliates, AG Bell supports its mission: Advocating Independence through Listening and Talking! Visit www.listeningandspokenlanguage.org.