The Hands & Voices Advocacy, Support,
and Training (ASTra)Program

ASTra is a replicable Deaf and Hard of Hearing Educational Advocacy Program that embodies the mission and vision of Hands & Voices, which is to provide support to families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing (D/HH) without a bias around communication mode, method, and educational setting so that every child who is D/HH has the opportunity to achieve their full potential. ASTra content is derived from years of direct advocacy experience working with families in schools, attending advocacy trainings from legal experts, providing trainings, and the Hands & Voices Educational Advocacy Guidebook (©2013).

ASTra can be implemented by a Hands & Voices Chapter independently or in collaboration with an agency or program partner. An agency or program partner can instigate the start-up of an ASTra Program only through the local Hands & Voices Chapter in accordance with the  operational procedures of this program. .

On this page are links to lots of resources and information about ASTra, including materials that are available by password-only access to Hands & Voices chapters who have an ASTra program or are in the start-up process.

Questions? E-mail us at

A video introduction to the ASTra Program

An introduction to the ASTra program video-taped at a recent ASTra training event in Oregon. Thanks to Ana Brooks and Hands & Voices of Oregon for putting this video together.

Read ASTra Testimonials

Read what people are saying about the H&V ASTra Program

ASTra Operations Manual

* Download Manual in pdf format ASTra Personnel Only Manual

Appendix A of the Operations Manual

All the documents a Chapter will need to start and maintain an ASTra Program. **ASTra personnel only.


Hands & Voices Educational Advocacy Support to Families

Many families struggle in their attempts to improve educational programs for their children, and the support they find is usually not experienced with the unique issues facing deaf or hard of hearing kids. Hands & Voices is often asked to provide educational advocacy support to families (and professionals) who have questions about special education law and its applicability to students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
In our H&V chapters, it's not at all uncommon to find an H&V trained advocate supporting a family who is struggling with their child's educational services and communication access.   H&V chapters can provide families with advocacy resources, support, and in some cases, attend an IEP meeting with a family. If you would like to request support, complete the H&V Educational Advocacy Request Form.

View our chapter listings to see if this service is available in your area. While we're not attorneys, and we can't give legal advice, we do feel strongly that experienced parents can be great assets to other families new to educational advocacy.

Advocacy Webinars

Bill of Rights for Students Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing - Then and Now

Webinar 06-14-2022 - Presented at OCALICON 2022  (reshared with permission)

Presenter:   Janet DesGeorges, H&V Executive Director

The first Bill of Rights for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing was passed in South Dakota almost 20 years ago. Since then, nearly 20 other states have adopted similar bills. This webinar covers a brief history of their passage, their impact, and their current status.


Advocacy Tools and Products

The following documents and links are also referenced in the H&V Advocacy Guidebook and can be found here:

The Hands & Voices Guidebook

Educational Advocacy For Students
Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing: 



Advocacy Tools and Products in Spanish

  1. Asegurar que los estudiantes aprendices del inglés participen de forma significativa y equitativa en programas educativos.

    How to ensure that English Language Learning Students participate in a meaningful and equitable way in their Educational Programs.
  2. Información para padres y tutores con dominio limitado del idioma inglés (LEP) y para las escuelas y distritos escolares que se comunican con ellos

    Information for Parents and Guardians with limited use of English and for the School Districts to work together. 
  3. Estoy Determinado: ¿Cómo promover la Auto Determinación en sus hijos?

    I’m Determined: How to Promote Self Advocacy for Your Child
  4. Estoy Determinado: Mis derechos como estudiante en la Educación Especial

    I’m Determined: My Rights as a Student in SpecEd
  5. Estoy Determinado: Lista de Verificación de Autodeterminación para los Padres de Primaria.

    I’m Determined: Self Advocacy Checklist for Parents
  6. Estoy Determinado: ¿Porqué es importante participar en mi IEP? 

    I’m Determined: Why it is Important to Participate in my IEP
  7. Lista de acomodaciones y modificaciones para estudiantes que tienen pérdida auditive

    List of Accommodations and Modifications for DHH Students
  8. Gráfico para prepararse para su Conferencia de Caso con la Escuela de su hijo/a.

    Infographic for virtual Case Conference meetings
  9. Gráfico que ofrece una Agenda de muestra para su Conferencia de Caso con la Escuela de su hijo/a

    Sample Agenda to follow for virtual Case Conference meetings


Advocacy Links

60 Second Leadership & Advocacy Tips