Andrea Marwah


Andrea Marwah received her BA degree in Psychology from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. Since her daughter was diagnosed with hearing loss in 2002, she has taken a special interest in educating parents and professionals on matters concerning ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act), IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) - special education rights, and advocacy for students who are deaf or hard of hearing.  Andrea presents both locally and nationally on matters pertaining to advocacy and IDEA; deafness/hearing loss when combined with other disabilities; the impact of deafness/hearing loss; and many topics surrounding parenting and working with children who are deaf and hard of hearing.  She works for the Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois School for the Deaf as an outreach trainer and consultant for families and professionals who work with children who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired or deaf-blind.  Andrea began her Presidency at Illinois Hands & Voices in 2010, began as the IDEA liaison for the Guide By Your Side Program in 2012 where she provides unbiased information and one-on-one advocacy and IDEA support to families who have children with hearing loss and is a national trainer for the Hands & Voices ASTra Training Program and a member of the Hands & Voices speakers bureau.  She works closely with Designated Service Coordinators providing group training and individual consulting.  These are trained individuals who work directly with infants and toddlers in Illinois birth to three who have a diagnosis involving vision, hearing or a combination of both in her state early intervention program.  Andrea works as a liaison with the Early Intervention Training Program on issues surrounding deafness and hearing loss.  She sits on numerous committees both locally and nationally.  Andrea also served for six years on the Advisory Commission on Disabilities in her home town of Naperville, where she lives with her husband Ajay and 3 children Samantha, Julia and Andrew.

Andrea Stambaugh


My name is Andrea Stambaugh, I have one son named Axel.  Axel was born in 2016 with congenital CMV or Cytomegalovirus. He has multiple subsequent disabilities including a bilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss. He was fitted with hearing aides at two months old. Axel now has bilateral cochlear implants. He received his first implant in January 2017 and his second implant in May 2017.  Due to his extensive list of medical conditions communication has been a challenge. Currently, Axel attends school in a deaf or hard of hearing total communication program. Receptively, he is great with oral communication and sign language. Expressive language is a little more challenging due to the cerebral palsy and motor delay. Axel currently is non verbal but communicating with assistive technology (AAC) involving two switch scanning and he is also able to use some sign language with one hand. Since Axel was born I have become extremely involved with the National CMV Foundation. I also present nationally on topics revolving CMV. Our family runs a blog on Facebook called "Axel's Journey With CMV."

Jeanne Carlisle


My name is Jeanne Carlisle and I am the mother of two girls, Kaitlyn and Olivia. Olivia was born profoundly deaf in her left ear, and developed a progressive loss in her right ear at age 1.  After consulting with different doctors, and turning to the internet for help we found IL Hands & Voices and the Guide By Your Side Program. The help and support we found in this group helped us navigate our journey with more confidence. In time I wanted to try and share some of the help and friendship we had received with other families in IL. I have been in banking for my entire professional career, and enjoying sharing those skills as I serve as the Treasurer for IL Hands & Voices.

Alison Rollins


Alison Rollins has been married to her husband, who is deaf, for 21 years.  They have 2 teenage boys who are deaf & hard of hearing.  Alison has been a Teacher of the Deaf for over 20 years.  She is also a Developmental Therapist-Hearing.  Alison was a Parent Guide with IL Guide By Your Side for 7 years.  She feels blessed to have been able to listen to and support other families who have children that are deaf/hard of hearing.  In her free time, Alison enjoys reading and listening to music. She especially enjoys family vacations, family game night and playing with her dogs Pirate and Jack. 

Carrie Balian

Guide By Your Side Coordinator

​Carrie Balian is the mother of five children. Her oldest, Jack, was born deaf. Carrie and her family reside in Island Lake, IL. She is the Coordinator of the Guide By Your Side program in Illinois. Carrie has presented to groups nationwide and co-authored several publications including the NCHAM e-book. Carrie has served or is currently serving as a board member for the Illinois Genetic & Metabolic Diseases Advisory Council, , an editor for the JEHDI publication and participated on the Illinois Universal Newborn Hearing & Screening Advisory Board and Illinois Deaf Task Force. She also participated as a parent professional on the NICHQ national and statewide learning collaborative teams. Carrie has been recognized and awarded both nationally and locally for her support, commitment and leadership in the field. Her educational background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Management.

Christen Nolfi

Christen Nolfi lives with her family in Prospect Heights, IL.  She is the mother to a six year old son who was born deaf.  In addition to serving on the Illinois Hands & Voices Board, she has also been a parent guide with Guide By Your Side for the last five years.  Christen is a special education teacher in District 23.  

Alejandra Ullauri

Spanish Infusion

Alejandra has practiced audiology since 2002.  She holds a doctorate degree in audiology and master degree in public health.  She is certified in Cochlear Implants by the American Board of Audiology. Currently she participates in the team of experts reviewing the WHO Ear and Hearing Survey Protocol, a collaboration between the World Health Organization and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. This protocol aims to study the prevalence of ear and hearing disorders in developing countries.

Alejandra is the Director of Chicago Hearing Care. Prior to starting Chicago Hearing Care, Alejandra was the Manager of Audiology at the University of Chicago Medicine. Alejandra is bilingual (Spanish and English).  She currently chairs our Spanish committee, and also serves at the H&V Head Quarters Spanish forum.

Jaclyn Urbanski

Hi! My name is Jaclyn Urbanski. I live in Libertyville with my husband Steve and 3 children Ali, Ethan and Ella. I am also a Parent Guide with Illinois Guide by Your Side.  Ethan is 19 years old and was diagnosed with a moderate, bi-lateral sensory-neural hearing loss when he was 10 months old. We were very fortunate to have a Pediatrician who listened to our concerns at Ethan’s 9 month checkup. Back in 1999, there was no Newborn Hearing Screening. Ethan was fitted with his 1st pair of hearing aids before his 1st birthday. Ethan attended Child’s Voice School from age 3 until he mainstreamed into our public school district for 1st grade. At age 5, Ethan was struggling to hear, due to a progressive loss, primarily in his right ear. He received his 1st cochlear implant in February, 2004. In April 2012, Ethan made the decision to receive a 2nd cochlear implant because, again, he was struggling to hear with his hearing aid. He knew entering high school would present a new, more challenging curriculum. Ethan has been successfully mainstreamed with minimal services and graduated from high school in 2016. He is now attending Butler University in Indianapolis and is studying Business and Health Care.  He enjoys playing club lacrosse, Greek life, music and socializing with friends.  My journey with Ethan has taught me so many amazing things and I’ve meet so many wonderful people. I enjoy having the opportunity to share my experience and to help others who are now traveling the path of raising a child with a hearing loss. Parents should always feel comfortable, safe and supported in the decisions and choices they make for their families.

Dan Roche

My name is Dan Roche.  I have had a wonderful life.  I am hearing, and I was raised by my parents Mike and Wilma Roche, two wonderful people, who are profoundly Deaf (my father passed in 1999, my other will be 87 in April of 2020).  Both attended residential schools for the Deaf (my father attended Ephphatha School in Chicago before attending St. Rita School for the Deaf in Cincinnati, Ohio; my mother attended St. Rita's from the time she was 3 1/2 years old until she graduated from high school.).  Both my parents were born with typical hearing, but around the age of 1, they both lost their hearing due to illness {my mother had contracted Spinal Meningitis; my father's illness was never clearly identified}.  As time went along, they fell in love, married, and I was the first of their 8 children.  All of us are hearing, and yet raised by culturally Deaf parents (I thus identify myself as a Child of Deaf Adults, a Coda).  I taught high school special education for 34 years (hearing students, with various learning and emotional/behavioral issues), before retiring from the classroom in May of 2016.  I started working in the Early Intervention system of Illinois in the year 2000, working with families as a Developmental Therapist--Deaf/Hard of Hearing, and continue that work until the present. I have been married to my wife Mary Lou since August of 1986, and we have four sons:  two live and work in Colorado, and the other two live and work in Chicago.  Currently we have one granddaughter, which gives us plenty of reason to visit Colorado.

Tina Grieco-Calub

Tina Grieco-Calub, PhD, CCC-A, is an assistant professor in the Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Northwestern University. She is a certified audiologist who has work in the field of audiology for over 20 years. In her current position, she teaches in the audiology graduate program and is the director of a research lab that aims to understand the effects of hearing loss on language processing and cognition. Tina lives in Highland Park with her husband, two children, and dog.

Crystal Johnson

My name is Crystal Johnson my son is Brantley. Brantley has Down Syndrome. He was placed in our foster home when he was 3.5 months old and we officially adopted him in March 2019. When he came to live with us he needed open heart surgery as he was in heart failure and was failure to thrive so too small to have it. This was our priority. At 6 months he had open heart surgery after that is when I was able to start looking into the hearing loss I thought was there. He has also received a diagnosis of Epilepsy, hypothyroidism, and Asthma. He was officially diagnosed with moderate hearing loss in his right ear and severe hearing loss in his left ear at 11 months old. He began wearing conventional behind the ear hearing aids for a year which after a few months we realized were not enough for him he was still presenting in the mild to moderate hearing loss range. At the age of 2 he received his bilateral BAHA’s. He has been in hearing impaired therapy since he was 1 years old where he started use ASL to communicate. It took him a month to learn a sign at that age. At 2.5 years old he had 20 approximate signs due to poor fine motor skills, as a special ed teacher, I fought to get him an AAC device he got approved for it at 3 years of age. Now he is 3.5 years old he attends preschool in a self-contained classroom. He uses over 75 ASL signs and seems to prefer to sign. However, he is also using his AAC device more but does not seem to gravitate towards it. He does not have any vocal words at this time. My husband and I are so blessed to have Brantley as our son and love learning from and with him every day.

Lydia Hernandez

My name is Lydia Hernandez.  I live in Chicago with my husband Wilson and 4 daughters Angela (17), Lynette (14), Isabella (10), and Skylar (4).  Lynette has unilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss.  Between the ages of 2-5 she was not only identified with hearing loss, but also diagnosed with Celiac Disease and a rare genetic disorder (less than 1,000 cases worldwide) called Tumor-Necrosis Factor Receptor-Associated Periodic Syndrome or TRAPS.  We have had quite a journey with her health but grateful that everything has been under control and that we’ve had support from amazing organizations such as IL Hands & Voices/Guide By Your Side.  Lynette currently uses hearing aids and has become very interested in ASL.  I was introduced to IL Hands & Voices/Guide By Your Side when Lynette was first identified at the age of 4.  In 2013, after 3 years of having the support of their program, I became one of the Spanish speaking guides for Guide By Your Side.  I am excited to be part of the IL Hands & Voices Board and look forward to assisting where I am needed.  Coming from a first-generation immigrant family, I see this as a way of paying it forward.  I understand how difficult it can be having a language barrier, and happy to help the community.   We can all continue to grow, embrace the moments, and learn new things along the way knowing we are not alone.

Laura Wolf

Hi! My name is Laura Wolf and I am a first year graduate student at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago pursuing my doctorate in Audiology. I am very excited to work with this board over the course of the next two years and plan great events that bring families together. I really love the motto Illinois Hands and Voices projects and I look forward to helping families make the right choice for them by providing resources and options! 

Bess Wolff

My name is Bess Wolff and I’m the parent of a very wild 3 year old, named Marshall. Marshall was diagnosed with mild to moderate bilateral hearing loss just shy of his second birthday after passing his newborn screening test. We became concerned about a language delay at 16 months and it took the next 6 months to get a diagnosis. I am very much a doer, a planner, and a researcher. So, when we got the news, we didn’t waste any time asking our ENT and audiologist what now. A slew of appointments, worry, research and generally feeling unprepared is what came next. Marshall is now bilaterally aided. In our home we use spoken language, very limited sign language, an augmentative and alternative communication device (AAC), social stories, an FM system, and a whole lot of pointing to communicate. Marshall is attending Carle Auditory Oral School here in Champaign-Urbana, but we also heavily considered our local public school. He continues to work with deaf educators, speech language pathologists, and an occupational therapist. Marshall doesn’t communicate much verbally yet, but he sure is loud. Aside from his hearing loss, Marshall is also globally developmentally delayed and is being monitored by a developmental pediatrician for possible other diagnoses.  Our little family lives in Champaign, IL (aka Central IL) where I work in finance and my husband works in electrical fuse research and development. We can both bore your ears off in our respective fields, but only I know when to stop.  Aside from working, we love to spend our free time enjoying the many offerings of our community. There are wonderful parks, festivals, farms and orchards, restaurants and night life in Champaign-Urbana.  There are also wonderful resources for deaf and hard of hearing children in the area; we consider ourselves very fortunate to be in this community for our son.  Our family is still new in our journey and still trying new things and retrying things that didn’t work for us six months ago, like sign language. We rely heavily on our experts consisting of his medical team, therapists, teachers, established and respected organizations, and fellow parents to share their experiences and expertise with us so we can make the most informed decisions for our family and make sure we are giving Marshall full access to communication and language.  This is how I ended up finding Illinois Hands & Voices and Guide By Your Side. When everything was still so new and I couldn’t speak about it without crying, my parent guide from Guide By Your Side helped me learn that it was ok to cry, but that also someday I wouldn’t. It finally happened, yesterday. We still have so many unknowns and we may always, but thanks to Illinois Hands & Voices I have great resources to tackle the unknowns. I’m no expert by any means, but I am happy to share my knowledge and our experiences with anyone that’s feeling overwhelmed. I joined Illinois Hands & Voices to help my family get answers and I joined Illinois Hands & Voices Board to help other families feel connected, informed, engaged, and heard.    

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