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BW SLP grad publishes book aimed at children with disabilities

Michelle Trotta's "Rusty the Raccoon is Scared of the Dark" will resonate with all children but emphasizes the importance of friendship, courage and overcoming obstacles.

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Michelle (MacBride) Trotta '20

Baldwin Wallace University alumna Michelle (MacBride) Trotta '20 recently published "Rusty the Raccoon is Scared of the Dark." However, this is not your typical children's book.

Trotta, who earned her master's degree in speech-language pathology (SLP) at BW, began working in private practice and hospital work, all while writing her first book with the help of her close friend, Alisha Uguccini, who did all of the bright illustrations.

The biggest difference between Rusty and many other typical children's books is that it caters to children with disabilities or seeking speech therapy.

Although the story is universal, Trotta used the tools she learned studying communication science disorders and offers a variety of resources in the back of the book for readers with speech disabilities.

Fulfilling a dream

Trotta said the idea for the story actually came to her in a dream.

"It took about two full years to publish the book. There are a lot of things about wanting to be an author that no one tells you initially. How to pick the right publishing firm, how long everything can take to get approved, and so on."

Trotta ultimately decided to publish her work through Amazon. "It just made the most sense. I made a better profit, and Amazon made the whole process easy," she explains.

Offering resources, raising awareness

Trotta has also developed a "Rusty the Raccoon is Scared of the Dark" website, which includes free resources, such as coloring sheets and mazes, crafts, word searches and more that parents, teachers or other SLPs can use with kids.

Trotta believes that raising awareness for those with speech disabilities is extremely important.

"I think people are doing more to make others aware. Netflix's series 'Love on the Spectrum' and other shows that mention speech therapy are educating our society on the importance of it all."

To find out more and access the free resources, visit Rusty the Raccoon.

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