Atlanta —  A new children’s picture book, “Abby Gets a Cochlear Implant," released at the American Academy of Audiology’s “AudiologyNOW!” convention in April is now available in time for Better Speech and Hearing Month.  This illustrated children’s picture book details the process of how a young girl 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  option for their child who has hearing loss. 

The author, Atlanta-based Maureen Cassidy Riski, AuD, 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," said Deanna Watson, a parent of 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," she said. "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 1 and 4 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 implants1.  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 for 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 bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing from Purdue University, and a masters degree from the University of Virginia.  She earned her AuD 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.”

The book, selling for $11.95, can be ordered through the Web site or through

1National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

Source: Cassidy Publishing