The Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association (TSHA — pronounced “tish-uh”) publishes a monthly newsletter, “The Communicologist”, and last month’s issue (August 2008) featured an article about EaR Books and Ellie’s Ears! Here is the article, reprinted in full, below:
Senior TCU Student Authors Book Entitled Ellie’s Ears
You never know what experiences will shape your future. For Elizabeth Boschini, a senior speech pathology major at Texas Christian University, it was knowing a fellow student in her fifth grade classroom who was deaf. The relationship with this student started Elizabeth toward her goal of becoming a speech-language pathologist who will work with children with cochlear implants. She also plans to become a Certified Auditory-Verbal Therapist® post graduation.
This focused student has already found a creative way to start helping the clients she is learning to work with. She has authored a book, Ellie’s Ears, about an 8-year-old deaf girl with bilateral cochlear implants. Elizabeth and the book’s illustrator, Rachel Chaikof, have been friends for years, having met through the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing group on Facebook. Initially, Elizabeth was going to write the book and try to illustrate it herself. Rachel, a bilateral cochlear implant user and a photography major at Savannah College of Art and Design, quickly joined her friend’s project by helping with the art. The result is a wonderful book in which Ellie discusses her journey to a cochlear implant (CI), including the use of hearing aids and discussions about the different modes of communication. Many of the scenarios are based on Rachel’s personal experiences as a CI user.
The illustrations showing Ellie with her implants fill a void for children with CIs who now have someone in a book who looks “just like them.” Readers will love seeing Ellie with her pigtails! The author hopes that the book will be used by parents, doctors, educators, and others to help demystify CIs and inform the public about the process. Elizabeth would love to see the book in pediatricians’ offices, hospitals, schools, and libraries all over the country.
What started out as a single idea continues to evolve. Elizabeth and Rachel are planning to write more books that will target children with hearing loss and with cochlear implants. Their next project is already underway. It is titled Happy Birthday to My Earswith a target audience of children birth to 5 years of age. This book will focus on the first year of hearing after a little boy receives his cochlear implants. Boschini and Chaikof are also among the creators of the website Deaf Village(www.deafvillage.com), an aggregator of hearing loss related blogs from around the world.
Elizabeth and Rachel are not profiting from their book sales. All proceeds are donated back to organizations that benefit children with hearing loss. The book, Ellie’s Ears, is available for purchase online at http://stores.lulu.com/earbooks. The author and illustrator also maintain a webpage and blog called Cochlear Implant Online (www.cochlearimplantonline.com).