Support AG Bell Today

LEAP: Developing and Understanding Your Sense of Self

Earlier this year, AG Bell launched a free virtual program for teens who are deaf and hard of hearing. The Learning Experience and Adventure Program (LEAP) is a two-day virtual gathering of teens across the country where they can learn, grow, and develop together.

Lea en Español

Written By: Melody Bertrand

Earlier this year, AG Bell launched a free virtual program for teens who are deaf and hard of hearing. The Learning Experience and Adventure Program (LEAP) is a two-day virtual gathering of teens across the country where they can learn, grow, and develop together.

LEAP is unique because the program uses the CliftonStrengths to help teens identify and leverage their strengths. Ceil Weatherman is a professional leadership development coach who works with individuals, teams, and organizations. She helps LEAP participants access the CliftonStrengths assessment and navigate their results. “CliftonStrengths is a quick way of discovering what your innate talents are,” Weatherman explains. “The assessment provides a framework for understanding what those talents mean as well as how [the participants] can share with others around them the ways in which each of the strengths shows up in them.”

On the surface, an assessment like this is often used by large corporations or businesses looking to take a strengths-centered approach to their employees’ professional development. When translating it to youth, it is surprising how few differences exist. “Regardless of age, there is still room to grow and develop your innate talents and develop them into strengths,” Weatherman remarks. “This is another way to help teens develop self-awareness so that they can advocate for themselves in a way that’s easy and natural for them.”

Prior to attending LEAP, teens are asked to complete the online CliftonStrengths assessment where questions help them identify key areas of strengths. During LEAP, the teens learn how to understand their strengths, how their strengths translate to real life, and how they can be used to better interact with others. Weatherman also helps the teens by giving them a strategy for including their strengths into their daily lives. “I ask them to memorize their top five strengths, share them with others, and invite others to share how they see those strengths showing up in them. I also provide personalized reports and tools that guide and deepen understanding and application for each participant.”

LEAP uses this approach as a starting point because it opens the door to conversations around inclusion and advocacy, two areas of high importance to teens who are deaf and hard of hearing. “Understanding your strengths is one of the best, most effective ways to enhance inclusion because the reality is that every single person brings talent to the table. Understanding, recognizing, appreciating, celebrating, and leveraging those talents is a way for everybody to feel included,” Weatherman says.

Through the generous support of The Johnson Scholarship Foundation, AG Bell is able to offer LEAP free to teens who qualify for the program. Teens attending the first three sessions have  wholeheartedly enjoyed the LEAP format and knowledge gained from the program.

The feedback from participants is enthusiastic:

“The most significant things that I learned from LEAP were all the tips on how to [deal with] difficult communication situations and on how to use my strengths to their full potential.”

“I learned that I am not alone in my hearing loss journey and that to get the best experiences I apply my values and strengths in everything I do in life.”

“I learned how important it is to be a self advocate.”

“I was surprised to learn how many people around the world share many similarities [to my] life.”

Equally, parents have noticed changes in their children after the LEAP experience:

“LEAP was a great experience for my daughter. What a wonderful platform to meet other dynamic teens like her and learn skills that can be applied in real life.”

“My teen had a great beneficial experience learning about new areas of accommodations, traits, and disability laws.”

“My daughter… was particularly captivated by the strengths inventory and how it pertained to her future goals.”

“My [daughter’s] confidence has increased after the program and she also now understands the importance of self-advocacy.”

Visit www.agbellleap.com to stay up to date on 2022 program dates and application deadlines. To support programs like LEAP, visit our website today and make your gift.

For more information, please visit AG Bell here.

LEAP: Desarrollo y comprensión del sentido de sí mismo

A principios de este año, AG Bell presentó un programa virtual gratuito para adolescentes con sordera e hipoacusia.

El programa de experiencias de aprendizaje y aventuras (LEAP, por sus siglas en inglés) es una reunión virtual de dos días en la que se congregan adolescentes de todo el país para aprender, crecer y desarrollarse.

LEAP es singular porque en el programa se utiliza la evaluación CliftonStrengths para ayudar a los adolescentes a identificar y sacar partido de sus fortalezas. Ceil Weatherman es coach de desarrollo de liderazgo profesional y trabaja con personas, equipos y organizaciones. Ayuda a los participantes de LEAP a que accedan a la evaluación CliftonStrengths y conozcan sus resultados. «CliftonStrengths es una manera rápida de descubrir cuáles son tus talentos innatos», explica la Sra. Weatherman. «La evaluación facilita un marco para comprender lo que significan estos talentos y cómo [los participantes] pueden compartir con las personas que les rodean las maneras en que cada fortaleza se manifiesta en ellas».

A primera vista, una evaluación de este tipo la suelen utilizar las grandes corporaciones o empresas que desean adoptar un enfoque centrado en las fortalezas para el desarrollo profesional de sus empleados. Cuando se aplica a los jóvenes, sorprende las pocas diferencias que existen. «Independientemente de la edad, es posible crecer y desarrollar los talentos innatos propios, convirtiéndolos en fortalezas», comenta la Sra. Weatherman. «Es otra forma de ayudar a los adolescentes a que desarrollen la conciencia de sí mismos y puedan defender sus intereses de una manera fácil y natural».

Antes de participar en LEAP, se les pide a los adolescentes que cumplimenten la evaluación CliftonStrengths en línea, dado que las preguntas les ayudarán a identificar las áreas clave de fortalezas. En el programa LEAP, los adolescentes aprenden a conocer sus fortalezas, la manera de aplicarlas a la vida real y cómo se pueden emplear para interactuar mejor con otras personas. La Sra. Weatherman ayuda también a los adolescentes facilitándoles una estrategia para que incluyan sus fortalezas en la vida cotidiana. «Les pido que memoricen sus cinco fortalezas principales y que las compartan. Por otra parte, invito a otras personas a que compartan cómo perciben la manifestación de estas fortalezas. Además, les facilito informes y herramientas personalizados que sirven para orientar y profundizar la comprensión y la aplicación para cada participante».

En LEAP se utiliza este enfoque como punto de partida porque permite que surjan conversaciones sobre la inclusión y la defensa de los propios intereses, dos áreas de gran importancia para los adolescentes con sordera e hipoacusia. «La comprensión de las propias fortalezas es una de las maneras más importantes y eficaces de mejorar la inclusión porque la realidad es que cada persona aporta sus talentos. Comprender, reconocer, apreciar, celebrar y aprovechar estos talentos es una manera de que todas las personas se sientan incluidas», afirma la Sra. Weatherman.

A través del generoso apoyo de The Johnson Scholarship Foundation, AG Bell puede ofrecer gratuitamente el programa LEAP a los adolescentes que cumplan los requisitos. A los adolescentes que asistieron a las tres primeras sesiones les encantaron el formato LEAP y los conocimientos adquiridos en el programa.

En los comentarios de los participantes se aprecia su entusiasmo:

«Lo más importante de LEAP fueron todos los consejos sobre cómo abordar situaciones de comunicación difíciles y la manera de emplear mis fortalezas en todo su potencial».

«Aprendí que no estoy solo en mi itinerario de pérdida auditiva y que para mejorar las experiencias debo aplicar mis valores y fortalezas en todo lo que haga en la vida».

«Aprendí la importancia de defender los propios intereses».

«Me sorprendió conocer cuántas personas de todo el mundo comparten muchas similitudes con mi vida».

Del mismo modo, los padres notaron cambios en sus hijos después de la experiencia LEAP:

«LEAP fue una gran experiencia para mi hija. Es una plataforma extraordinaria para conocer a otros adolescentes dinámicos como ella y aprender habilidades que se pueden aplicar en la vida real».

«En el caso de mi hijo, la experiencia fue enormemente beneficiosa porque pudo aprender nuevas áreas de adaptaciones, características y leyes de discapacidad».

«A mí hija… le encantó especialmente el inventario de fortalezas y cómo se relacionaba con sus metas futuras».

«La seguridad personal de mi hija ha aumentado después del programa y ahora comprende también la importancia que tiene la defensa de los propios intereses».

Visite www.agbellleap.com para conocer las fechas del programa de 2022 y los plazos de envío de solicitudes. Para apoyar programas como LEAP, visite nuestro sitio web y realice una donación.

Para mas infomación, visite a AG Bell International aquí.

AG Bell membership for families is always free!

Family membership benefits:

  • Financial Support

    Scholarships for technology, therapy, and education

  • Professional Guidance

    Speak to a parent who's been there or search for a certified therapist.

  • State Chapters

    Connect with and get support from local families like yours!

  • Resource Library

    Get answers with access to our information library

  • Volta Voices

    A bilingual magazine with in-depth stories about growing up with hearing loss

  • Loft & Leap

    Access to unique leadership & educational programs for teens

Seeking an AG Bell professional membership?

Get listed on our searchable professional directory, find educational and research resources, scholarships and mentorship.

Professional Membership Has Its Benefits

Join today to connect with fellow members, exchange insights, get listed in our global directory, and celebrate the journey of listening & spoken language.

Professional benefits include:

  • Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

    Earn CEUs through the AG Bell Academy, at our yearly Symposium, or through events held throughout the year for members

  • $100 off Exam Fees

    Take your Listening and Spoken Language Specialist (LSLS®) certification exam for less!

  • Event Discounts

    Discounted registration to AG Bell’s symposium and other events, plus special discounts on travel, restaurants, retail shops and more

  • LSL Professional Directory

    Get listed and found by families that need your services and students that want your mentorship

  • LSL Leading Edge

    An exclusive e-newsletter for AG Bell professional members packed with the latest news and developments in hearing health and the listening & spoken language field

  • Volta Voices 

    AG Bell’s award-winning, quarterly digital magazine in English and Spanish

  • Access to AG Bell’s Network

    Connect with 40+ state chapters located throughout the United States and Puerto Rico

  • Professional Opportunities

    Get involved in AG Bell through committees, task forces, councils and other venues for members to interact and contribute meaningfully

  • The Volta Review 

    Stay current with the latest research through our peer-reviewed, online professional research journal

Seeking membership as a friend or family member?

Membership is always free for family & friends of people who are deaf or hard of hearing and helps connect individuals to our professional community!