Thursday, February 20, 2014

A book review by the author, Heather Zeissler- "hi, My nAMe is MiLes".

Hello! Today we have a very interesting book review to share with you.  The author is Heather Zeissler, and she graduated from the University of Minnesota-Duluth with a Bachelor’s of Arts-Sociology degree, as well as a Bachelor’s of Accounting Degree. Heather is actually the author of multiple children’s books that feature Childhood Apraxia of Speech.  Her most recent publication is “hi, My nAMe is MiLes,” which continues the story of Malcolm, from his siblings’ perspective. Knowing that she is an University of MN-Duluth graduate was all we had to hear to give this talented author a chance to explain her book to our blog audience.  One guess why and you may be right.  Yep, Manda also graduated from the University of MN-Duluth and there's no way she wouldn't want to support a fellow UMD Bulldog! 

Although we have not had the chance to read this book yet, we will soon find the time to read it and her other books because this book and Heather's whole series looks very informative and original.  Truthfully, I don't think that we have ever read a book before that features a child who has Apraxia of Speech (CAS) and what life is like for him and his family as he struggles to deal with the diagnosis on a daily basis!  Please read further to find out more details about this wonderful book and thank you for stopping by the blog today!
Manda & Shanda, SLPs
Twin Sisters Speech & Language Therapy

Book Description:
 “ hi, My nAMe is MiLes” Younger brother Miles shares a special connection with Malcolm who has Childhood Apraxia of Speech. Through his words, learn how their family integrates therapy into their daily routine. In addition to providing awareness of this condition, this delightful story reveals the intelligence of apraxic children, which is sometimes masked by their challenge to verbally communicate.
About the Book:
Targeted Audience is anyone who has or knows or works with a non-verbal child.
Publisher THEAQ LLC
Published Date July 7, 2013
6x9 Trade Paperback, 36 pages

Book Purpose:
hi, My nAMe is MiLes,” was written to continue the exploration of the role that siblings play in the recovery of a child with Childhood Apraxia of Speech.   The perspective of the book is from the younger brother’s vantage point.  The story also helps to normalize other children’s feelings within a family that has a non-verbal child.  The theme of sibling relationships and working together is valuable across families regardless of their make-up.
Laurie Kramer, professor of applied family studies in the department of human and community development at University of Illinois, found that “siblings play formative, influential role as agents of socialization.  ‘Parents are better at teaching the social niceties of more formal settings – how to act in public, … But siblings are better role models of the more informal behaviors – how to act at school, or on the street, or, most important how to act…around friends – that constitute the bulk of a child’s everyday experiences.  Siblings are closer to the social environments that children find themselves in during the majority of their day, which is why it is important not to overlook the contributions that they make on who we end up being.’ ” (
The “hi, My nAMe is …” series speaks to the role of the family as being the safe place, where no matter what you are loved.  In “hi, My nAMe is MiLes,” the narrator changes from older sister Milly, who we met in “hi, My nAMe is MiLLy,” to Miles.  Miles is Milly and Malcolm’s little brother.  Miles isn’t quite sure why Malcolm has to see a speech therapist, as Miles says, “I can understand Malcolm, so I don’t know why others can’t.  Mommy says that is because I am a familiar listener.  Of course I am familiar, he’s my brother.”  The book gives families a framework to start talking about having a non-verbal child within their own families.  The series also encourages families to use the correct verbiage when talking with their children.
hi, My nAMe is MiLes,”  demonstrates throughout the book how to encourage siblings to have targeted play together.  The author watched several hours of home movies for inspiration.  The majority of the illustrations are watercolor paintings based on actual family photographs, taken by the author’s family.  Malcolm’s dialog, for the most part, was transcribed from the author’s home movie collection.  One example of targeted play is when Miles is talking about one of his favorite toys, which happens to be a therapy toy for Malcom.
Excerpt from “hi, My nAMe is MiLes:” 

Image copyright Rebecca Michael Zeissler
“One of my favorite toys is a circus tent with holes on the top for animals to enter, and locked doors on the side.  Each door has its own key on a ring.
We pretend that the animals have escaped and need to be quickly put back in their cages.  This happened in a book that Milly was reading for her school about a naughty gorilla and a zookeeper.”
In the above example, Miles remembers the story that Milly shared from her school work with her younger brothers.  Then, as a team, all three engage in pretend play together, reinforcing the different skills that they are currently working on developing.  For Milly it was reading, for Malcolm it was targeted sounds, and for Miles, it was naming the animals.  Notice that Malcolm is having age appropriate thoughts; however, he is only able to express the targeted sounds.  Sibling play and interaction has the potential to help reinforce and practice therapy goals around the clock.  According to Kramer, “in order to maximize an older sibling’s positive influence, one of the most important things parents can do is to help foster a supportive relationship between the siblings from the very beginning.” (

Reading this series as a family, or one on one, is one way for parents to help their children maintain a positive relationship with their sibling.  It is not always easy to see ways in which therapy homework can be integrated into family routines and in a positive light. This series attempts to give ideas on how to do just that.  This is a fun story that showcases real life examples and the story can be read by a variety of ages.

Author Contact Information:
Facebook Page-Hi, My Name is Milly Author, Heather Zeissler

Illustrator Bio:
Rebecca Michael Zeissler studied art at Eastern Illinois University and has been an illustrator for more than 20 years, working primarily with pen and ink.  Zeissler’s work has been widely published in newspapers and magazines, most notably “Chicago Parent Magazine,” for which her artwork won the 1994 Best Cover Illustration award from Parenting Publications of America.  Zeissler illustrated the first book in this series, “hi, My nAMe is MiLLy.”

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