This topic got me to really think about WHY I created Forever Friends and why I chose to use a boy named Matt and a dog named Dexter. Well, by now, you all know my love for Dexter,so that was a no brainer. I really wanted to write a series about a child who was deaf so that my students could connect with a fun character. I wanted them to see the bullying, the hatred,the misunderstanding that Matt goes through,because many of them have gone through it. I wanted the hearing kids to see how great and "normal" kids with hearing loss are. I really worked hard on picking the right language for the book. It was important to me that we label vocabulary and action words for the deaf/hh kids,because so often, deaf and hard of hearing kids are taught one general word.
Often, I see them call all 4 legged animals a dog or a cow.REALLY? There is a world of differences out there. It is not that they don't see the differences,but noone has taken time to explain the differences. Communication often breaks down when a child with hearing loss does not communicate back to the hearing parent in the "expected" manner. I chose words like "licked", "leash",, "smelled", "kennel worker", "pitbull" and so much more so that these kids could have that incidental learning vocabulary that hearing kids get naturally. I am so proud of my students who have come so far from feeling self conscious, alone and had no identity to changing schools, joining the deaf or hh community and going off to college.
Kudos. You have taught me tons during this process and this has made me self reflect! What did you notice about Forever Friends' that stood out special to you?