Teacher co-writes book focusing on deaf kids

Published 9:33 pm Saturday, June 10, 2017

A Suffolk native has co-written a book about how a deaf girl handles working in a mainstream classroom.

Brynn Parker signs copies of “My Friend Taylor,” a book she co-wrote with Eve Lawrence.

Brynn E. Parker is a teacher of deaf and hard of hearing children in Isle of Wight County Public Schools. She graduated from Lakeland High School in 2000.

Parker wrote the book, titled “My Friend Taylor,” in collaboration with Eve Pollard Lawrence, of Yorktown. Parker said the two know each other through work, having worked with the same student.

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Lawrence is writing a book series featuring every category of disability, Parker said.

“It was an awesome process,” Parker said. “It took us about a year from start to finish. Being both teachers, we really had to work on our schedules.”

Each of the teachers took her strong points and used it in the collaboration to write the book.

“We mapped out what we wanted to get across in this book and how we wanted to say it,” Parker said.

In her job, Parker works with about 10 students who are deaf or hard of hearing at their home schools in Isle of Wight. She supports each student in whatever way he or she needs, from translating for them in conversations with their core teachers to helping them get other support they need.

“Whatever their need is, is whatever I help them with,” she said. “It’s extra support.”

Parker said the book can help both deaf and hearing children understand each other.

The book gives helpful hints for hearing children about their friends’ devices, such as hearing aids and cochlear implants. It also tells them what they can do to help their deaf friends in certain situations, like if the fire alarm goes off.

“There’s so much that’s unknown, because there’s such stigmas out there that people don’t understand,” Parker said.

Parker first discovered her future career as a student at Lakeland, when she took a sign language class.

“I fell in love with it and found out I could do it as a career,” she said.

The book also has a couple of sign language scenes, Parker said.

“It’s very kid-friendly,” she said. “We want to put as much as we could in it and try not to leave anything out.”

Parker said both the book and her career have been a rewarding experience. She and Lawrence showed the book to one of their students and caught his reaction on video.

“When he realized it was a book about somebody like him, it’s one of those amazing experiences we hope happens one day,” she said.

Parker said her students are all strong individuals.

“It seems students excel when they don’t think they can,” she said. “They break that barrier with or without help.”

The book can be purchased at www.authorhouse.com, on Amazon or from the authors.