Thursday, May 1, 2008

RA RA RACHELLLLLL and Elizabeth!!!!!


Breaking out my pom-poms for the second day in a row!!!!! Hurricane Rachel Strikes Again!-Along with her highly motivational co-blogging companion and friend, Elizabeth whose posts enlighten me every single time regarding the perspective of a sensitive, intuitive Auditory-Verbal Therapist.

*Rachel*

Eight months ago when the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Circle announced its desire to create tees and other products to promote Cochlear Implant Awareness, Rachel stepped up to the plate with creativity, integrity and a desire to satisfy all customers. Note: Her customers were a bunch of high maintenance moms (yours truly included).
*She hasn't stopped since*

Her next act of hurricaneness was to begin blogging...on deafread.com - Her "talk to the hand" I am who I am and proud of me blogging style pissed off many yet kept 'em coming back for more. The girl/woman has no fear and possesses a STRONG sense of self. Note: Behind every strong girl/woman is a kick-some-ass-get-out-of-my-face Mother. (Hats off to you, Melissa!)

Rachel is here to educate and inspire. She has a story to tell and MANY people who want and NEED to listen, including me, the mamma of an 11 year old deaf son who wears a cochlear implant trying to grow, learn and become independent and strong.

*NOW*

For one of the secrets I managed to miraculously keep for an unusual length of time:

*INTRODUCING IN HONOR OF BETTER HEARING AND SPEECH MONTH 2008*

NEW! Children’s Book Featuring a Character with Cochlear Implants!
Cochlear Implant Online is proud to announce the debut of Elizabeth Boschini’s (author) and Rachel Chaikof’s (illustrator and bilateral CI recipient) book, Ellie’s Ears.

PRESS RELEASE -

Today’s children with hearing loss may surprise you! With the help of cochlear implants, digital hearing aids, and specialized instruction in listening and spoken language, deaf children can learn to listen and speak, just like their hearing peers. According to the University of Michigan, over 100,000 people have received cochlear implants in the past 20 years. Children with hearing impairment, however, are rarely represented in children’s literature and cochlear implant technology is widely misunderstood.

To address these problems, Elizabeth Boschini, a student pursuing a degree in Speech-Language Pathology at Texas Christian University (TCU), and Rachel Chaikof, a bilateral cochlear implant user and student at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), created a new children’s book, Ellie’s Ears. Written by Boschini and illustrated by Chaikof, the story presents cochlear implants and deafness from the perspective of Ellie, a ten-year-old deaf girl with bilateral cochlear implants, as she explains her hearing loss to a new student in her mainstream 3rd grade class.

Ellie’s Ears was released to the public on May 1, 2008, in honor of ASHA’s Better Hearing and Speech Month. The book is available for purchase at http://stores.lulu.com/earbooks, and the author and illustrator can be contacted at elliesearsbook@gmail.com or via their website, cochlear implant online. Proceeds from book sales will benefit organizations that provides legal advocacy and financial assistance to people in need of cochlear implants and other assistive listening devices.

Hearing loss can have a profound affect on an individual’s relationships. For children, hearing loss can lead to issues with delayed speech development and stigma among peers and in educational settings. For adults, hearing loss makes everyday communication and interaction difficult, creating or reinforcing a sense of isolation among hearing loss sufferers. The good news is that most types of hearing loss, even severe or profound hearing loss, can be prevented, recovered or treated.” - excerpt from Raise Your Hand.
Elizabeth and Rachel are here to help give every person with hearing loss the opportunity to hear and to speak. They have activities lined up throughout the month of May to help reach out to those people… so stay tuned!

*As the adopted Aunt of the SuperHeroine Rachel, I reserve the right to say: I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!*

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm struggling with how to say this in the kindest, most sensitive manner possible. I'll do my best.

I have nothing but respect for you, Rachel, and Elizabeth, even though I disagree with so much of what you three believe.

But I cannot stomach the following excerpt:

Today’s children with hearing loss may surprise you! With the help of cochlear implants, digital hearing aids, and specialized instruction in listening and spoken language, deaf children can learn to listen and speak, just like their hearing peers. According to the University of Michigan, over 100,000 people have received cochlear implants in the past 20 years. Children with hearing impairment, however, are rarely represented in children’s literature and cochlear implant technology is widely misunderstood.

I fail to understand why people continue to deny the fact that not all children, including today's young children, will succeed. And why are some of you so afraid of sign language as well as AVT? Research has shown conclusively that sign is beneficial and ENHANCES spoken English. This book, I'm afraid, is going to mislead so many parents. I can't stand it. I'm very upset by this book.

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

Dear Anonymous,
Thank you for your comment and your eloquent way of disagreeing, I really appreciate it. I will say that emphasizing one approach is not to exclude another. There are children who do not use ASL and who need to be represented in literature. Was it okay that 99% of the books on Sharon's List of Books with Deaf Characters included Only deaf characters who signed? Is that fair?
These new books are not lauding one approach as to another, they are here to introduce our kids to other children without our kids ALWAYS having to do so. They are educational tools for a mainstream classroom which is where many of our children learn on a daily basis.
Literature serves to help children "find themselves" in a place other than their own heads. When I was little going through my parents' divorce, I Devoured Judy Blume books because her characters talked to me and helped me feel like the emotions I was experiencing were okay to feel.
Where is that type of validation for my son if not in a character with a cochlear implant?
This is not about war or who utilizes the "best" communication method. It's about our kids who need to know that they are not alone. Rachel and Elizabeth's book gives them a voice that they may sometimes need in all the shit they have to deal with on a daily basis.
So, again, thank you for your comment. Books educate, I hope you purchase Rachel's, it may give you an idea as to why it is so important and how it is SO not about the exclusion of ASL, but the inclusion of our kids in literature.
Jodi

Melissa said...

The fact is that there are plenty of children's books about deaf children who sign (see http://www.myshelf.com/deaf/children.htm ), but where are the books for deaf children with CIs who hear and speak? This book gives them an opportunity to read a book about deaf children like themselves, and it gives hearing children a chance to learn that there isn't only one way for a child to be deaf. There is room enough for all.

Val said...

I missed where they said ALL would succeed...? I think Elizabeth and Rachel are fully aware that kids w/out the right input, follow up care, and maintenance may not be concluded as "successful implantee". I'm sure they are aware that some kids have mulitple needs as well. They merely stated that these kids CAN learn to listen and speak. I agree w/Melissa, when I went to library to find a kid in a book like my son...who is deaf but speaks and uses a cochlear implant...there were none. I had them order Rally Caps for us. Just as many deaf children who sign only would not relate to these characters who are speaking deaf children, my kid wouldn't relate to the books noting how the parents speak to the child with their hands. I read them anyway, so he had that exposure but he didn't connect to the characters...I mean we are talking small kids here. Let's be happy for these two and don't disect this any farther than it needs to be. From one parent who this book was written for, I truly appreciate this book.

elizabeth said...

Thank you for the kind words, Jodi! We just wanted the pre-Rally Caps readers to have something to work up to!

Rachel said...

Hey Aunt Jodi! Thank you for helping us promote our book!

Jodi, my mom (Melissa), and Val responded well to anonymous, and so, there's no more need to be said. Thanks for your awesome support, Jodi, mom, and Val!