Starting in 2005, I worked with an agency from the Washington DC area (Camera Ready Kids) to enlist some great kids for my Signing Families sign language videos and print educational materials. These kids ranged in ages and knowledge of sign language. Each one were very special and simply charming!
Many of our models have grown to become professional actors and I have been awestruck by their accomplishments. Also, they have each become amazing young adults and I am proud and privileged to have known them all for more than a decade. Without further adieu – meet some of our Signing Families models – all “grown up”!
Victoria and I at the San Pedro Film Festival 2017
Victoria Grace knew from a very young age that she wanted to be an actor. A Hollywood actor. I remember our first photo session. She was so serious! But, she was (and still is) beautiful and talented.
Since working with me she has moved on to work on music videos with Kelly Clarkson, several TV shows and numerous movies. Victoria Grace has been nominated for her acting ability (The Young Artist Award), too!
Last night I was watching a recorded episode of the new medical drama, NEW AMSTERDAM. There in a pivotal scene popped up Zephyr! I remember Zephyr as a tough subject to photograph until she warmed up to you. But, always so “spot on” with her emotion and skills!
Madelyn has had a successful career, especially with commercials and now is a freshman at college!
(We will keep her current college a secret to protect her privacy!)
I couldn’t be more thrilled for these young ladies’ for having so much success as students, actors, and simply kind young people. I feel privileged for having known them “then” and being able to follow the careers – now! Victoria, Zephyr and Madelyn – go grab the “golden ring” with gusto! You ladies rock!
Side note: If you were a Signing Families model – we would love to know where you are and what you are doing now. Feel free to CONTACT us!
“Welcome to Signing Families”. I first wrote those words “officially” in 2006, the year that Signing Families became an educational / instructional company focused on teaching novice learners how to communicate with sign language.
Since then, hundreds of classes and sign language trainings have been conducted and thousands of DVDs and sign language communication charts have been sold or donated to people across the globe. My goal is simple – to build communication bridges one sign at a time.
How did it all begin? Well… one day while I was a School Psychologist working at an elementary school I was asked to attend a special education IEP meeting with a parent who had a child with moderate – severe Autism. Our school based team had just recommended that to help try to facilitate spoken speech or any communication, she may want to consider taking sign language classes. With tears in her eyes she looked at us and asked one simple question, ” Who will watch the child you just told me needs 1 on 1 assistance in his special education self-contained classroom due to his severe needs while I leave for hours to learn sign language?”
My heart stopped. As a mom of two children, I knew exactly what she meant. I had a child who was born with conditions that meant he needed specialized babysitting when he was a baby. I could relate to the challenges that this parent was facing. There was no way she would be able to leave her child with a “regular” babysitter. She was a single parent. She had limited financial resources. She was frustrated. But, most of all – she was upset because she couldn’t provide the one thing she yearned most for her child – an ability to learn to communicate.
That night, I couldn’t sleep. I kept tossing and turning because I continued to hear her voice… “Who will watch the child you just told me needs 1 on 1 assistance..?” The next day I decided I needed to help this mom. It just wasn’t fair. She was dealt a tough situation and we just made it worse. That was unacceptable. So, after a while I created a temporary “fix”, I would make a sign language video with a few dozen basic words and put it on a basic DVD.
Word got out and before I knew I was in the DVD business – making dozens of copies for teachers, friends and even for relatives of people I didn’t know. The phone kept ringing. Email requests flooded my inbox.
That is when “Hubby” said… “I think you have something here.” So, we enlisted some talented people to help create the first DVD from Signing Families: Baby, Toddler and Preschool Sign Language with Louise Masin Sattler and Friends. The differentiator between my DVD and many others was that the audience was “language role models” and not kids. There were no dancing bears or signing birds. Moreover, I open captioned the DVD and added a Spanish – English – Sign Language component. I did this because there was virtually very little sign language instruction available for parents of children with communication needs who were from Spanish speaking homes but living in the United States or Canada.
Emergency Sign Language DVD
DVD sales started off slowly but then the momentum kicked in when Borders and Barnes and Noble started to order. Before long sales were in the hundreds, then thousands. I then created ancillary components to the DVD. A sign language chart to help with expressing WANTS and FEELINGS. This was followed by a website with a plethora of free learning opportunities. And, a very full nationwide training schedule for special needs groups, schools, preschool programs, Head Start and much more.
In 2010 my second DVD series and training program launched. The Sign Language For Emergency Situations was born out of necessity. Simply, we as a nation were not offering equal access communication opportunities to those who were Deaf or had limitations with functional needs. I have written about my journey in the field of emergency management on this blog before. Please feel free to ask me about resources in the comment section below.
Now it is 2019 and the world is a different place than 2006. Instead of DVD sales we have ‘streaming”. So, that means that I have to make a shift in the way I reach an audience. I have uploaded many free YouTube videos for people to either start learning sign language or continue honing their basic skills.
I must confess, a year ago I nearly closed Signing Families. I had lost my “WHY”. I wasn’t selling huge lots of product or traveling as much for trainings. I was the “lost entrepreneur”. But, then I started to look over boxes of materials I saved. Letters from families. Drawings from children. Emails from teachers. Commendations from First Responder groups. I was humbled and knew that I couldn’t stop. I just needed to reinvent. So, I started to teach ASL at a high school, I began to think of new ways to reach an audience yearning to learn to sign and clicked the keys of my laptop once more to inspire parents and teachers via media articles not to give up. At last, I remembered my WHY.
So… dear readers – thank You for allowing me to tell my story. You are groovy, indeed!
Now that you have learned a few simple words. Let’s learn some simple action words!
Many times we need words to for every day activities.
Starting with words appropriate for all ages:
GO TO THE BATHROOM (POTTY)
SHAKE your WRIST with the “T” handshape
SLEEP (Young Child Sign)
For Older Students:
To WANT (pull hands towards you)
PRACTICE: Now that you can spell finish these signed sentences
1- I (point to self) EAT ________
2- I (point to self) DRINK______
I (am) GOING to ____________
Also, fingerspell these places :
EXTENDED LEARNING: This sign has an X handshake but none of the words it can convey in ASL start with the letter X. Which words (there are at least 5) can you make with this handshake? (Hint: One word this can communicate is TO NEED)
1- TO NEED
Recommended viewing for older students and adults: (note mature themes)
Children of a Lesser God
Beyond Silence – German / English subtitles/ German Sign Language
How to approach the topic of Deafness? Preliminary assignments for students.
1- Ask your students if they have any experience within the Deaf community. You may be surprised to find out that some have quite a bit of knowledge.
2- Do any of your students have previous exposure to sign language. Perhaps they know signs such as MOMMY and DADDY or the alphabet / numbers?
3- Some students may benefit by being given the assignment of watching television with no sound or captions for 30 minutes. Can they follow the storyline? (Older kids should be encouraged to watch a variety of shows, such as the news. Discussion points can include what was easier to follow?)
Second portion of this assignment can include asking students to watch television or videos WITH captions! Another discussion can be the value of closed captioning and the laws that enable closed captioning for equal access.
**FIRST SIGNS to TEACH:
Preschool students: (These signs are ready for download on our GALLERY PAGE)
SIGNING FAMILIES EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION MINI-CHART
This pocket-sized emergency communication chart has FOUR different languages represented. Photos for a dozen important informational signs are in sign language, English, Spanish and Chinese!
There is a space for writing with a washable marker allows for efficient communication during challenging situations, such as medical emergencies or disasters. Also, numbers, common symbols (such as for email) and the alphabet is included. This card has a special coating for easy cleaning.
This emergency mini – chart has been used by thousands of First Responders and Community Emergency Responder Teams (CERT). Also, valuable for those who work in schools, are involved with service related industries (such as bus drivers, flight attendants, etc.). Restauranteurs and hospitality workers are also using this chart to help customers who are in need of assistance.
We offer this chart for those who reside in the United States.
Price includes shipping within the USA. Don't want to order via PayPal or don't see a button to order? EMAIL US at the LINK BELOW!
Bulk orders needed? EMAIL US!
Shipping included, but note: we only ship within the United States. For outside the USA orders – please send an email. Thank you.
The same signs found in the downloadable document also are included in these open captioned sign language videos from my YouTube Channel (Please go check out my channel and many other sign language videos!).
Happy December! I know every year has 12 months, yet this year seemed to have gone by in a flash! I use to keep better track of the seasons, and time in general, during those “parenting years”. Back then I knew what month it was by which PTA project I volunteered to do. October was the Halloween parade, December was buying teacher holiday gifts, and so on. Now that my kids are grown and my status is that of having a “low occupancy home”, I realize that I must resort to keeping track of time the old fashioned way- by using the Calendar app on my ipad! Which explains why the alarm went off yesterday with a reminder that read: “WRITE ANNUAL YEAR IN REVIEW BLOG TODAY”.
I know myself too well, so I set another alarm and it went off today with a bit of attitude as the reminder message read – “YOU FORGOT TO WRITE YOUR ANNUAL YEAR IN REVIEW BLOG – DO IT NOW!!”
So here it goes… Nearly 4800 people have found our SIGNING FAMILIES Facebook page. I have used this social media page to help people to learn about sign language (ASL) and the deaf community. I also focused during the year on issues regarding Autism, Down Syndrome and education. Then I sprinkled a hefty dose of humor, inspiration and giveaways! We grew and grew with more than a thousand new friends joining us!
Surprisingly, one of the most popular posts was that of Daniel Radcliffe, aka Harry Potter. In an effort to improve awareness about sign language usage in the United Kingdom, Daniel was asked to pose with a simple sign that asked readers to learn how to sign GOOD MORNING. I found this article interesting and posted it, too. WOW – what a response! In fact, worldwide this campaign went “viral”. I was glad our little “hamlet” could participate.
As with every good company, we were busy adding products and also revamping our website to reflect the change in how people do business online. Our SIGNING FAMILIES website now offers online downloads for workshop attendees, more interactive elements and our newest product, the SIGN LANGUAGE EMERGENCY CHART in American Sign Language with captions in English, Spanish and Mandarin (simplified). Why did we create a quadra-lingual product? Simply, First Responders asked us to do so to help those with access and functional needs (AFN). Plain and simple.
This card has found its’ way in to thousands of emergency vehicles, uniforms and disaster response shelters nationwide. We were the most proud to have been able to donate many to our friends in Oklahoma, where I visited following the awful the series of tornadoes they experienced last May. I invite people who work as emergency personnel to email me if you wish to learn more and to receive a complimentary copy: Louise<at>Signing Families <dot> com.
It would be remiss of me to forget to mention that, it has been an honor to have met via workshops and conferences scores of our First Responders, including CERT / NERT members. These people bravely go towards disasters when most of us would flee. I hope that my disaster preparedness and response workshops gave food for thought to all who attended as I know you all taught me so much, too!
MeeoMiia came to us during 2013 to let us know that they were so inspired by our logo and wanted to use it as a basis for their newest LOVE necklace. We were thrilled! And, to celebrate we gave one as a giveaway to one of our subscribers!
It seems that wherever life takes me, including to events viaOmgInsider or411 VOICES, I find people who are willing to take a few moments and give some love – ASL style. I posted some of my favorites photos below for you to enjoy!
It is no secret that social media overload can happen to anyone. I am humbled that you found your way to this little ‘ol blog and read it to the end. Feel free to add your blog url below or to comment. Thank you and…
But, because we want to entice you to listen and participate in our #giveaway we will give you an early peek in to our secret…
HUGE thanks to Sherri Pellegren, owner of Meeo Miia – for designing a beautiful necklace based on the SIGNING FAMILIES logo and embellished with loads of I LOVE YOU – art . The logo which was created many years ago for SIGNING FAMILIES by artist, Pat Roby, will be available for purchase on the MeeoMiia website. .
AND ONE PERSON WILL WIN THIS NECKLACE FOR FREE as PART OF A
GIVEAWAY HAPPENING THIS EVENING!
HOW CAN YOU PARTICIPATE TO BE ELIGIBLE TO WIN?
CONTEST RULES for a prize provided by Meeo Miia and worth $85 (with a portion of the proceeds going to a deaf school / association which supports deaf children and families)
Must enter on the day of the LIVE radio show- August 4, 2013
Must reside in the United States and not affiliated with 411 VOICES or Meeo Miia
One winner will be chosen who complies to the following criteria….
TO ENTER TO BE ELIGIBLE TO WIN YOU MUST DO ONE OR BOTH OF THE FOLLOWING (which enhances your chances to win, if you do both)