A new group starting up in Iowa offers support for families of deaf and hearing-impaired children. Michael Jorgenson, whose 10-year-old daughter is impaired and has cochlear implants to help her, says families deal with a lot. He and his family use sign language, one of a couple systems people may choose, and he says it’s an ongoing learning process and “not just something you pick up overnight.” One reason for forming the group is to make peace among factions that disagree about options for the hearing impaired and how children should be taught to deal with it. Jorgenson says it’ll offer compromise for factions among the deaf community that have long and sometimes intense differences. He says there are different methodologies for raising a deaf child — whether or not to use cochlear implants, which kind of sign language to use, and even deaf adults don’t agree. Jorgenson says if a school or community of deaf people uses computers and hi-tech hearing aids, or prefers to use only signing and lip-reading, others in that area may feel pressured to go with that set of alternatives. But Jorgenson says the new group, called “Hands and Voices,” will welcome people from all points of view.They also hope to team with professionals and get them at the same table with parents talking about shared concerns, to make a better network for parents in Iowa. The group’s already held a meeting in Iowa City and sponsored a Des Moines-area family picnic to get parents and kids together for relaxation as well as some networking and support. For more information surf to http://www.handsandvoices.org/temp/iowa1.htm