An interview with Author Gretchen Hanna M.A., CCC-SLP
I recently had the chance to sit down and interview Gretchen Hanna, speech language pathologist and author of the children’s book “Mo, Pip, & Gabby and the Broken Ears.” The book follows the story of Mo, a Great Pyrenees dog who believes he has broken ears because of his hypersensitivity to loud noises. His friend Pip, a dachshund, compassionately helps Mo by taking him to their friend, Gabby, who uses headphones to help her with her own noise sensitivities.
Mo gets his own headphones to use at school and in other places with loud noises. Gretchen states in her bio that she wrote the book for her students, “to celebrate that every child is made perfectly; they simply need to be met where they are.”
Gretchen wrote the book in the fall of 2020, while in the height of the pandemic, and self-published the book in 2021. She started her career in the medical field, helping adults in recovery from traumatic brain disorders, strokes, those with ALS, and other challenging medical situations. When she had to go on bed rest with her first child, she took a break from the field.
During those years, Gretchen was able to use her training and skills to help her own children, who both had sensory needs (often called sensory processing disorder). She told me in our conversation that the book is a veiled love story to her children as well. It was a lonely road as a parent, having a child with a sensory processing disorder and autism. At the time, there was very little understanding or tools available or used within the public school system, so they searched in other areas, such as private school and home school for inclusion. The overall experience was one of being left out.
When Gretchen returned to the field, she chose the public school system, so she could help families that didn’t have the funds to access outside help. She has been working with 3-12 year old children for the past six years.
We talked about what celebrating neurodiversity means. Gretchen replied that, for her, it is “Not just being kind and tolerating, but finding out how they tick, what makes them special. Looking past the rough edges that society would deem as harsh or unlovable.”
Gretchen feels privileged that God put the story on her heart and commented that even if only 100 people read the book, that is 100 people that know they are perfect just how they are.
The book is for sale on Amazon and would be a great addition to every school and child’s library.
-Carla Speer for the
Mobility Support Solutions Team