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$1,515 pledged of $15,000 goal
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By Lisa Stenzel
$1,515 pledged of $15,000 goal
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About

UPDATE!!!!!

Rough sketch of some illustrations and sign language sketches!

MY sketch

NAME sketch

THE INSPIRATION

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.

THE PROJECT

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!

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    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    SHOWING SUPPORT Package: Every dollar counts and your support means everything! We will send you a thank you card for your contribution to our project! Thanks!

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    SENDING LOVE Package: You want to help and we are SO grateful! You will receive a bookmark and a thank you card for "Sending Love!" Thank you! Thank you!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    PLAY Package: You want your own copy of "Apples and Alligators ... In the Backyard" so you got it! You will receive an originally signed, hardbound copy of the book, a name or organization of your choice listed in the book as a member of the "Backyard Gang", a bookmark and a thank you card! Many thanks! We couldn't do it without you!

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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    GROW Package: You want a book for each of the kids you say? Alrighty then! You will receive 3 originally signed, hardbound copies of "Apples and Alligators ... In the Backyard", 3 names or organizations of your choice listed in the book as members of the "Backyard Gang", 3 bookmarks and a thank you card! Your support means so much!

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    DREAM Package: The whole family wants one! With this package, you will receive 5 originally signed, hardbound copies of "Apples and Alligators ... In the Backyard", 5 names or organizations of your choice listed in the book as members of the "Backyard Gang", 5 bookmarks and a thank you card! We can't thank you enough!

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    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    BELIEVE Package: You have a crowd to please! You will receive 8 originally signed, hardbound copies of "Apples and Alligators ... In the Backyard", 8 names or organizations of your choice listed in the book as members of the "Backyard Gang", 8 bookmarks and a thank you card! Words can not express our gratitude!

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    IN THE BACKYARD Package: A bunch of you have pooled your money! I am so grateful! You will receive 10 originally signed, hardbound copies of "Apples and Alligators ... In the Backyard", 10 names or organizations of your choice listed in the book as members of the "Backyard Gang", 10 bookmarks and a thank you card! Your support is priceless!

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Want to know more of the story? I would love to share it with you. This Reward includes everything in Reward #7, but also includes my coming to speak to your organization about how we are all more alike than different because we are all differently abled in some way! I can't wait to share our story with you! Limited to within 100 miles of Timnath, CO

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Funding period

- (30 days)