Category: autism

Aside

Little child crying with tear on face

Too close to home. San Bernardino is too close to home.  

As a psychologist and the owner of an educational company that focuses on matters of communication and safety, I have trained First Responders on how to engage and communicate with those who have unique circumstances – such as Autism or Deafness. I have trained thousands of emergency responders how to help evacuate people who don’t communicate verbally, use sign language or don’t speak English as their first language. Most of the practice scenarios were in case of an earthquake. tornado or vehicular accident.

But yesterday it wasn’t a practice scenario. It wasn’t a workshop video.

Yesterday it was REAL LIFE.

 Real people. Real suffering. Real blood. Real tears. 

Yet unreal.  Surreal.

 While my eyes were affixed on CNN and the reporters – I couldn’t help but notice the people in the background. The First Responders I trained were there. On TV.  Helping so many of the helpless who had been shot by two or more assailants. There they – my students –  evacuating those with functional needs and their caretakers. WOW!

Everything seemed to be going according to protocol.  I was so impressed!

But then I realized that there was a question gnawing at me.

WHY did the First Responders have to practice what they learned at all?

Oh wait… let me answer my own question…

First – We don’t address mental health needs in this country. We often have programs in place that are less than effective. We don’t staff mental health centers with enough service providers. We often don’t use multi-modal treatment plans. We don’t have enough resources to help those who need help. Ask anyone who works in public mental health if they have enough of what they need to help their clients and I bet they say. “no”.

Secondly – We have easy access to guns and copious amounts of ammunition. Please don’t quote me the right to bear arms stuff. I know all of that. Any 8th grader who has taken an exam on the US history knows that. What I am asking is WHY do we need to have as many guns in homes as we have cars? Why don’t we have stricter laws about guns? Why can’t we find a solution vs. spinning our proverbial wheels about guns?

and…

Lastly – We don’t teach people in life that disappointment is part of LIFE and not a reason TO TAKE A LIFE.
So a HUGE thank you to ALL First Responders who risk their lives everyday. And to their families who know that when the alarm sounds their loved one is going towards the disaster vs. away.

Now folks- let’s stop talking and start doing! Demand constructive changes that SAVE LIVES.  Let San Bernardino not be another example of the “new normal”.

Enough is enough!

 

December Newsletter: 2013 in Review, ASL Style

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 the “parenting years” – when I had kids in school. Back then I knew what month it was by what 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 realized that I must now resort to keeping track of the old fashioned way- by the iCal app! Which explains why the alarm on my desktop went off yesterday with a message reading- “WRITE ANNUAL YEAR IN REVIEW BLOG TODAY”.

I know myself too well, the alarm went off again today flashing – “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 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!

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 the “parenting years” – when I had kids in school. Back then I knew what month it was by what 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 realized that I must now resort to keeping track of the old fashioned way- by the iCal app! Which explains why the alarm on my desktop went off yesterday with a message reading- “WRITE ANNUAL YEAR IN REVIEW BLOG TODAY”.

I know myself too well, the alarm went off again today flashing – “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 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!

When the Earth Shakes and Spins! How to be prepared for Earthquakes and Tornadoes!

If a hurricane hit your home today would have an evacuation plan? If you awoke in the middle of the night to the earth trembling and your home shaking violently- would you know what to do? Green skies are often the first warning of a tornado coming – where should you go? Dangerous chemicals were let in to the air following a train derailment near your home – would you know what to do and where to get credible information for either evacuation or sheltering in place?

There are so many disaster scenarios that specialists in the field of “community safety” are figuring out strategies and how to get the best prevention and help in place in case of the big “WHAT IF” does happen.

In the interest of public safety I will be posting as series of articles about how to PREPARE for potential disasters AND also incorporate resources. The information also will look at the statistics behind the most common disasters. For today, let’s start with TWO very real disasters that face many worldwide – earthquakes and tornadoes.

EARTHQUAKE PREPARATION

You may think that earthquakes are only on the west coast of the United States or in remote mountain regions of Asia. But, that simply is false. Earthquakes happen in almost every state in the US and throughout the world, from the island of Japan to mountains of China. In fact, earthquakes can occur anytime, anywhere. Just ask the people of Washington DC who experienced a good size earthquake 5.8 in 2011 (The epicenter was in Virginia). Click here to find your area and see if you were in the location of where more than one million registered earthquakes occurred this year. (Approximately 13,000 were a 4.0 or higher). States with the most earthquakes? Alaska and California have the most (no surprise) but you may not have thought of Utah as a top earthquake location?

DISASTER SAFETY INFORMATION FOR FAMILIES WITH SPECIAL NEEDS – 2015 updated post with additional safety resources

Update: Sadly tornado “season” has been wicked during 2015, therefore I am re – blogging this post that originally posted in 2013. At the bottom of this post is additional safety resources including for earthquake, flood, hurricane, tsunami and wildfire preparedness.

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