Apples and Alligators...In the Backyard
Apples and Alligators...In the Backyard
Book 1 in a series about a little boy's backyard adventures that features Dyslexia, sign language and different abilities awareness
Book 1 in a series about a little boy's backyard adventures that features Dyslexia, sign language and different abilities awareness Read more
About this project
Rough sketch of some illustrations and sign language sketches!
My son, Ty, was born 6 weeks premature with a birth defect called Bilateral Choanal Atresia. He had a membrane blockage in his nose and couldn't breathe when he was born. In his first 6 months of life, Ty endured 9 surgeries to keep his nose open, the first of which was when he was only 2 days old. Following each surgery, he often had stents, or plastic tubes, placed in his nose to keep it from healing closed. He spent 2 months in the NICU after he was born, mainly because he had to learn to drink his milk while trying to breathe through the tubes in his nose. It was a very slow process for him, but he finally graduated and came home! Once he came home, we had to suction his nose out several times a day so that he could breathe. He hated it. We hated it. It felt like a form of torture, but it allowed him to breathe and got us one step closer to a healed nose.
Ty was also born with Down syndrome. In the beginning his Down syndrome was the least of our worries. Eating and breathing was our primary focus. Ty had no heart, digestive, hearing or vision issues, which are often affected because of Down syndrome, and we were fortunate that Ty was healthy in that regard. It was discovered a few months after Ty came home that he had an "abnormal cleft palate". He didn't have a uvula or the flap of skin to block off his nasal airway when he swallowed, so milk and food constantly went up his nose. He has had to learn to adapt to this condition and learn to eat despite it. He will need a surgery to have this repaired, and one more to remove his large tonsils, but he has another year or two before that takes place.
Once Ty was home, we started right away with his therapies. Today, he has Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Speech Therapy once a week in our home. He is thriving and we feel so blessed. His Speech Therapy includes sign language. We don't foresee any communication issues for Ty, but leaning sign with him has been an awesome way for him to communicate with us, as well as a family thing we all do together. His sisters love to work with him and teach him new signs, learning along the way. Its been a universal language for all of us and we use it all the time!
Our passion became wanting Ty to live a life like every other little boy and not limit his abilities. To allow him to grow up living life as we did. As his sisters do. And so I began to write his stories. Tales of a little boy and his adventures in his backyard. With his real family and friends, his stuffed animal friends, his imaginary friends. Because what little kid doesn't have all of those friends? And in his stories, he takes trips around the world and to the moon and back, learning lessons along the way. His adventures are only limited by his imagination, and he has a big one!
As I wrote Ty's stories, his sister was diagnosed with Dyslexia. At the time, she was in the 3rd grade and struggling with reading, among other things. A dear friend of mine happened to be a Dyslexia Specialist and was able to test her right away, and begin tutoring. One of our first signs was her struggle with learning her sight words. Had I known in 1st grade what might have been causing her difficulty, I would have had her tested sooner, but I didn't know much about Dyslexia. I've since learned that it is genetic and affects about 1 out of 5 people. Most don't realize they have it.
I wanted Ty's stories to serve a purpose beyond just being fun to read. I wanted to incorporate an emphasis not only on Dyslexia and sign language awareness, but an overall perspective that we all have different abilities. We all have had to adapt to life differently than others in some aspect. Not one of us is perfect and can do all things. Everyone has struggles but everyone also has unique abilities.
And so, the In The Backyard Series was born, with the first book, Apples and Alligators ... In the Backyard.
Apples and Alligators…In the Backyard is the first in a 26 book alphabet series featuring Ty's adventures, his friends and the alphabet. It encompasses the letter A, where he can’t decided where he would like to travel and after finally choosing to walk across America, he prepares for his trip. As he packs, he plans what to do should he come across any interesting strangers.
Each book in the series includes three unique “ingredients”:
1: Each book is printed in a font called OpenDyslexic, specifically created for those with Dyslexia.
2: Highlighted throughout the series are the first 220 sight words children learn by the 1st grade. As children follow along at first with the In the Backyard series, then begin to read them on their own, these words will stand out to them.
3: Each story features key sign language sketches to aid young learners in learning the American form of sign language.
This book is perfect for any home, classroom, school or public library!
Come along for the ride and share this journey with us. We can't wait to share this book with you and your children!
You never know who you're going to meet … In the Backyard.
Risks and challenges
The illustrations are not yet complete. Funding from the project will go towards illustration costs, publication and shipping fees. Every effort will be made to achieve the deadline date of September 2014. I do not currently foresee any reason why this date will not be achieved and will keep you posted as to the progress of the project as we go!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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