We all have one or two best friends from our childhood. Perhaps you are still close to them today, perhaps you call them monthly, or perhaps you never see them. Regardless, you have great memories of times gone by. Sadly, many deaf and hh children who are born into hearing families don't have many friends, let alone best friends.
Our motto at Communication Connections, Inc. is "The key to connections is communication and the key to communication is language." Children who sign and have few to no signing peers run a risk of few to no friends. Children who are oral also can have trouble interacting with peers, because they may not hear well with background noise. I have witnessed that many of my deaf and hh students are friendless.
This weighs heavily on my heart. This brings me to Dexter. No, I am not talking about Dexter the serial killer from the TV show. Dexter, the most loyal, loving guy anyone could ask for. He is my shih tzu. I was thinking hard one day how to help my students and an image of Dexter flashed through my mind. I sat at the computer and wrote a children's picture book, Dexter. It is about a deaf boy and Dexter! I don't want to give too much info away as I still need a publisher and illustrator who can draw people, shih tzus, and sign language.
Point of my book… There is a friend for everyone out there. You just need to keep on searching!
Allison Schley has been in the field of deaf and hard of hearing education for 20 years. She founded a nonprofit for families with hearing loss. She most recently wrote a children's book, entitled Forever Friends. This book shows the how a deaf dog and deaf boy teach the world that all kids are good and being deaf is okay.