by Marissa Siegel
Have you ever gotten a big idea and thought ‘Wowzers! This is such a good idea!’, then shortly after realized that you were not the first one to think of it? Well, I got to that point and realized nobody had thought of my idea yet. To my knowledge, there are no widely-known books about and for children who receive speech and language services.
I’ve been in awe of the world of communication since high school when I signed up for my first sign language class. As a shy kid growing up, you could say I was already acutely aware of the importance of communication and the advantages people who are good, confident communicators enjoyed.
Dissatisfied by the typical language courses my classmates signed up for and an earlier unpleasant foray into Latin, I decided on sign language. From the very first class, I knew it was for me. Sign language is an expressive and beautiful language, born from necessity and innovation. My teacher at the time was a person who identified as being part of the Deaf community. He was a brilliant teacher. He sparked a curiosity and appreciation of language that from then on grew and blossomed into a career as a speech-language pathologist, or as I like to call it, a speechie.
Along the way, I worked with hundreds of families who had children diagnosed as having a communication disorder. I experienced firsthand the joy of hearing a child’s first word, first sign, and even first ‘I love mommy’. I also experienced the heartache and the confusion, but also the relief parents felt upon first receiving their child’s diagnosis. I might even go so far as to say the mix of emotions experienced in a speech therapist’s office is unparalleled.
I knew I had something in me, something I needed to create, that could help those families and professionals.
I originally started my writing journey with other topics for my own gardening blog and through copywriting, then the idea suddenly clicked into place to combine my passions to write a children’s book.
Books are effective tools, both in speech therapy and in everyday life, to boost awareness and learning. As part of my research for Sammy Goes to Speech, I ventured over to my local Barnes and Noble to look at other children’s books on the topic of speech therapy. I believe I already knew that I wouldn’t find much, but to my dismay, there was not even a single children’s book either about speech therapy or that included a child who was diagnosed as having a communication disorder as a character. That particular trip added fuel to my fire and I wrote most of the book that very same day.