The Seattle Humane animal shelter is helping deaf children feel more comfortable in a hearing world by offering up their cats as reading buddies.
Kitty Literature is a unique program that gives deaf children 5-10 years old an opportunity to practice their speech and language by reading aloud to cute and cuddly cats housed at the shelter in Bellevue, Washington.
Recently, KING 5 News visited one of the sessions during which students from Northwest School for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children in nearby Shoreline showed off their reading skills.
“They do surprise me all the time with what they know. And they’re teachers also,” Northwest School teacher Danise Ito told the station. “They have to teach other people who don’t know about hearing loss.”
The Kitty Literature program benefits both the students and the cats. Students get the chance to practice their speech without judgment (and play with cats!), while the interaction helps to socialize the cats.
“I think it’s great,” Jennifer Whitworth of Seattle Humane told KING 5. “I think anytime kids can have some positive interactions with animals is a great benefit to them and the animals because the animals are seeing that humans, kids, adults aren’t that scary.”