New Childrens Book about Cochlear Implants Now Available

Abby Gets a Cochlear Implant Speaks to Children about CI Experience

May 22, 2008 (Atlanta, GA) A new children's picture book, Abby Gets a Cochlear Implant was released at the American Academy of Audiology's Audiology NOW! meeting and is available in time for Better Speech and Hearing Month. This beautifully illustrated children's picture book details the process of how Abby gets a cochlear implant.

The main character, Abby, wears purple hearing aids, has a progressive hearing loss and her family chooses a cochlear implant for her to help her hear even better. The story describes hearing testing, cochlear implants, and the steps a family would take to explore this habilitation option for their child who has hearing loss.

The author, Maureen Cassidy Riski, Au.D, is a Doctor of Audiology in Atlanta and has worked in the field of audiology for more than 22 years. She was inspired to write the book based on her real-life interaction with children and their families and the unmet need that she saw among families struggling to communicate this decision to their children.

"Maureen has taken a life-changing and often stressful event and explained it quite well in terms that a child can understand and identify with. As parents of not just one, but two children with cochlear implants, we would definitely have benefited from this book as we poured over information and tried to include and educate our children in the decision-making process," said Deanna Watson. "Looking back now, we are sure that we made the right decision."

Cochlear implants, coupled with intensive post-implantation therapy, can help young children to acquire speech, language, and social skills. Most children who receive implants are between one and four years old. Early implantation provides exposure to sounds that can be helpful during the critical period when children learn speech and language skills. An estimated 15,500 children in the United States have received cochlear implants. Cochlear implant manufacturer MED-EL and hearing aid manufacturer Phonak sponsored the production of this book.

"We are proud to support Maureen's efforts in helping parents communicate with young cochlear implant candidates using age-appropriate vocabulary and through beautiful illustrations," said Darla Franz, MA CCC-A, Director of Education and Corporate Communications, MED-EL. "As a clinician, I have found that children and their parents who were well-prepared before implant surgery seem to begin their use of the device with a high level of excitement and motivation, which can often support better outcomes."

Maureen has B.S in Speech and Hearing from Purdue University, a Masters degree from the University of Virginia. She earned her Au.D. in 2003. She sees both adults and children for hearing evaluations and care, but has a special place in her heart for the children who are hearing impaired and their families. She is the author of two other children's books, Patrick Gets Hearing Aids and Oliver Gets FM.

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