Author Matthew Ludwick, left, visits with longtime friend Rich Wortman Saturday during a book signing at Memorial Library. Daily Leader photo/Robert Pierce
By ROBERT PIERCE
• Daily Leader
Most children are blessed with normal functioning bodies and can grow up experiencing many of the fun things kids do. At the age of 6, Matthew Ludwick discovered he was not so blessed.
A 1993 graduate of Liberal High School, Ludwick was diagnosed with a hearing loss early in life, and now, he is sharing his story in the book, “Can You Hear What I Hear?”
Now residing in Colby, Ludwick was in Liberal Saturday at Memorial Library to sign copies of the book, and he said the book is written about exactly what the main character hears prior to receiving hearing aids. He said the character also has visual problems, so he must get glasses and braces.
“It led to multiple disabilities,” Ludwick said. “The story is about me and how I grew up with hearing aids, glasses and braces and the things I dealt with as far as bullies and teachers in the school systems and even throughout college as a young adult.”
Ludwick said in addition to explaining what he heard and saw growing up, “Can You Hear What I Hear?” also details what it is like to deal with bullies.
“Hopefully, some day, someone will read it, and it will open their eyes about what goes on in the classroom when kids have disabilities and try to find a way to keep the bullies from picking on them and find ways that they can educate these children without giving special attention to that student in the classroom,” Ludwick said.
The writer said he does have other books in the works.
“Depending on what circumstances are, I do have another title that I’m working on that the publishing company has already accepted,” he said. “I have other stories that I’ve been working on. There may be another agent or publishing company that has an interest in it.”
Ludwick said one of the benefits of growing up in Liberal was its multi-cultural society.
“Other towns that I’ve lived in may not have that luxury of a multi-cultural society,” he said. “It’s nice to have that, especially when dealing with disabilities.”
Ludwick said in many communities, young people from other countries are ridiculed because of language and other issues. Liberal, he said, is different.
“Here, a lot of people seem to accept those kids who are different,” he said. “That was kind of nice for me here. Of course, we had a very successful sports season here. That I owe a lot to as well.”