Category: ASL

Hang’in with My Tweeps

I know that thousands of people use Twitter everyday.  And they “follow” people who have like interests, fun tweets or are “somebody famous”.  As a person who tends to follow more than be “followed” (what can I say I am friendly)… it was a pleasure to meet a number of tweeps on my recent trip to California.

I had a great time learning about (an organization to assist people who are caregivers to their aging family members) from @SmileyChica (Denise Graab).  What fun we had hang’in out in San Fransisco at a classic 50’s diner..

Then I got to meet my pals from (@JustAskEdu and Education_Com).  These two gals (Kat Eden and Alex Bickerly) have energy to spare! And the work they do on behalf of students, teachers and parents worldwide is exceptional.  We broke bread with a “fellow” JustAsk contributor, Annie Fox (@Annie_Fox).  I must admit we all had more then our share of belly laughs over platefuls of yummy food!! And we managed to get some serious idea exchange during dinner, too.  The best part of Twitter is that there seems to be a continuous ebb and flow of ideas and biz support among those who you learn to trust and respect.  (We all agreed that “brain suckers” are not worth the follow- these “what’s in it for me tweeps ” can stay away from my twitter stream.)

I was so amused by @BabyStayAsleep (Beth Gagne).  She is so full of festivity that I couldn’t help but feel that I met my San Fran twin! BTW- her product is brilliant.  As is the one that was demonstrated at MACWORLD- the Papershow.  @Assistivetek (Brian Friedlander) made a splash with his demos and videos! Bravo to all at Macworld… And thanks to @CoachBrilliance (Astrid Stomberg) for brightening a dreary rainy day by bringing her gorgeous daughter to meet and greet me!

After five wonderful days at MacWorld, I left San Fransisco and traveled a little south to meet the gang from the Chronicles of EMS (@ChronicalesofEMS).  These friends know how to make a non-EMS person very welcome, especially in the pouring rain!  Thanks to @SamBradley11 and @Setla (Ted) I was fortunate enough always to have a warm cup of java in my hand.  @TheHappyMedic (Justin Schorr) kept me laughing through the taping of the three segments of the Chronicles of EMS breakout show- A Seat at the Table. We loved chatting about communication including sign language and I even got to mention on the air some of my fave communicators including @CodaWann (CallVRS- Keith Wann) and #CansonPapershow.

My twitter road trip ended in Southern California where I got to switch from ASL to Spanish with @Momtomadre.   Connie Goldin is one dynamic lady and I must admit that I enjoyed playing “musical chairs” with her so she could have her shade and I my sunshine! I look forward to our continued brainstorming of future projects.  And it has been a blast shopping, dining and laughing with my favorite gal-pal,  mi hija, @NatashaSattler.  I am amazed how much she has accomplished in such a short time since she moved to LA.  Auditions, new headshots and filming!

I leave California in 12 hours and will be welcomed at LAX by #SWA (Southwest Airlines).

It sure has been nice tweeting all my new tweeps.  And if ever you doubted the power of Twitter or social media in general – well, I believe that I am one of many success stories as to why entrepreneurs need to network with others.  However, one must adhere to a few important rules- give more than you take, play nice, don’t stalk and be constructive – not negative.  These rules of course are #IMHO*

TTYL.  And thanks for the #FF**

*In my humble opinion.

** Either Friend Follow or Friday Follow….depends on who is using it and what day


I have written now a few blogs about women who I admire because of their fascinating, inspiring and amusing blogs. Today, I want to feature blogs that are dedicated to our friends within the special education community. As an educator, I admire the people who are in the trenches of special education beyond measure.  These are three of my favorite blogs….maybe they will become yours, too!

Tiffani Lawton is the mom, educator and drive behind one of the best websites for families living with a child with Autism (or on the spectrum).  Tiffani recently described OJTA as follows, “Where professionals and parents meet up…. We bring in the private practice community like OT, PT, ST, Sound Therapy, etc.  We bring in personal perspectives from individuals on the spectrum.  We have mama’s sharing their journey.  We have holistic moms sharing their resources.”

Tiffani is tireless.  She makes my ADHD self seem in slow motion.  Tiffani has added a short-radio program and  teleclasses to her platform.  This is a must visit site!

Bravo to this dynamo and please support her efforts by connecting the following way:

The Spirit of Autism is another site generated by the love of a parent and dedicated to helping others.  What makes this site extraordinary is that the author is also a paramedic!  I have used the amazing materials for First Responders on this website to help others in the medical field understand how to approach a child with autism who during a critical incident or a disaster.  I adore this website and think that Debi’s spirit is contagious.  Although a niche, this site should be considered a “must bookmark”.  Educators take note- there is tons of info here for you , too!

Follow Debi on Twitter as @spiritofautism

The Coffee Klatch is what is RIGHT about social media.  Had it not been for TWITTER (@TheCoffeeKlatch or #TCK) I would never have discovered this amazing group.

This group is a wealth of information for so many!  A group of parents and experts joining together to be a support and resource for each other! Their social media presence is second to none. On Twitter they conduct frequent forums open to anyone with the hashtag #TCK.  Topics range from information about different disorders,  to educational assessment, to behavioral strategies recommended by parents and professionals-  and much more!  Also, they have a presence of FACEBOOK and BLOG TALK RADIO. Note- If you want to know the pulse of what parents are asking or need – look no further than this organization!

Please feel free to add your favorite special education blogs in the comment section!

ALSO… I am proud to announce the launch of  See my video describing this site in voice and ASL here:

ALSO…. read a ton of my favorite women bloggers on the *NEW* HerInsight website:

Thaddeus Setla- Helping Train and Entertain EMS

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is a topic I have written about several times in within this blog.  Many of you are familiar with my interest for educating paramedics, trauma specialists and nurses how to use sign language effectively  with people who use sign as their primary or secondary mode for communication. The response has been overwhelmingingly positive thanks to the help of a few friends, Thaddeus Setla included!

Thaddeus is known throughout the EMS community as the filmmaker and catalyst behind the Chronicles of EMS  (CoEMS) and a fun little forum known as a Seat at the Round Table.   Chronicles of EMS is a series which has garnered the attention of people within the film and EMS communities as an outstanding independent attempt to have everyday people and EMS personnel sneak a peek in to the life and times of daily medical services within the field.  Whether the Chronicles of EMS spotlights a serious critical incident or how EMS personnel are called in to action simply to find out that a homeless person is seeking free medical care and attention in a hospital, the stories are always interesting.

I had the opportunity to interview Thaddeus and will hope to do so again, soon!  I also am privileged to have been invited to San Fransciso in order to film a segment, two or three regarding special needs children and how EMS can best assist them during a medical or disaster event.

Here is our interview and also please visit and SUPPORT the Chronicles of EMS. This quality filmmaker and the people involved with CoEMS deserve a shot in the spotlight through PBS, Discovery Health Channel or any other network which cares about showing a quality story to many.

Here is our interview on the VIMEO CHANNEL (and when I can figure out how to get it to upload correctly- it will appear here too):

Meet Lisa Callsen- aka CODA DIVA!

Lisa Callsen is an intriguing, dynamic and energetic speaker delivering an inspirational message.  As a hearing child of Deaf parents, she identifies with being a Coda (children of deaf adults). The only speaker of her kind, takes you into her journey of living in a Deaf household and dealing with the hearing culture. She is bi-lingual and bi-cultural. Her story will educate and encourage you. She believes we all have a story, she’ll engage you, empowering you to embrace your own identity, culture and diversity.

Coming up soon for Lisa- The Coda365 tour (visit for more information!)

Connect with Lisa on TWITTER as @CODADIVA

Watch our interview here:



Many moons ago I was a graduate student at Penn State and became involved with research regarding language and literacy development with children who were born deaf.  My research looked at a variety of parameters, but I was most interested in how deaf children born to hearing parents learned their communication and reading skills.  This intrigued me on many levels, but mostly because the vast majority of deaf children are born to hearing parents.  Plus, working with children who communicated with sign language was fun!

Now many years later I have learned that parents of deaf children are very varied with the choices they make towards  communicating and educating their children.  Almost as many options are presented to them from medical and educational specialists as flavors of ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s. It is up to parents and perhaps these professionals to determine what is the best method(s) to educate a child based on needs.

One thing I do know for certain- children who are deaf deserve the right to have quality learning tools as hearing children.  This is why i was delighted to see the Scholastic Storybook Treasures series which features favorite childhood stories.  As an educator these DVDs which use American Sign Language (ASL) are engaging and have all the learning bases covered.  The three available DVDs include the stories – Pocket for Courdory, Goodnight Moon, and Three Little Monkeys. Each one has great graphic art to help children recognize immediately the books as well as important content.  The text is open captioned which helps deaf and hearing children read along.  There exists vocabulary, comprehension and fine motor tasks which help to support learning, too.  This is the perfect learning tool for both deaf children of hearing parents AND deaf children of deaf parents!

Now for the bonus aspect of the Scholastic Storybook Treasures- hearing children can benefit, too!  Imagine how wonderful it would be for a deaf and hearing child to share a conversation with ASL as the common language thread.  How two children can sit side by side on a computer and practice ASL, read along with the story and perhaps transition to the hard cover book for follow-up!  I can envision preschool classes being multi-modal and multi-cultural as these stories are told in ASL with follow-up lessons about deaf culture and sign language.  And of course, these DVDs would be on my list of “must haves” for programs which help children with other learning challenges- such as Learning Disabilities (LD), Autism and  Speech/Language Delays sans the hearing loss involvement.

I recently interviewed Dave Victorson who co-created this ASL DVD along with Missy Keast.  Dave is hearing and Missy is deaf. Together they filled a need within the deaf literacy market.  I commend them for their efforts (for my interview with Dave Victorson please read Part Two of this blog).  I also pointed out to them that there is another vast market of learners who they may have overlooked-  beginning ASL students who are at the high school or college level.  I’ll leave that commentary for Part Three!

For now- I want you to enjoy the first excerpt video from their website.

And……Note that their is a very wonderful special purchase being made available starting October 26th-

Buy all three Scholastic Storybook Treasures Sign Language DVDs for $24.95.

Each order includes a poster, too!  Click here for details on another page on this blog

I received no monetary compensation for this review/ blog.  Simply sample product.

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