This year – start your BACK to SCHOOL planning with FREE Sign Language Programming from SIGNING FAMILIES!
Am I kidding? Free lesson plans??
This year I have decided to offer via my educational platform – SIGNING FAMILIES – a FREE series of beginner sign language classes. These classes will be “subscription only” but FREE to all who register.
The intended audiences are as follows:
Special Needs Support Staff (such as behavioral specialists)
What to expect:
Each lesson starts with target vocabulary by age. Preschoolers will get simple words to learn while older students will be instructed to more enriched vocabulary, the alphabet, numbers and grammatical concepts.
For all students discussions about Deafness is encouraged. Resources are offered.
How to present the material, videos, downloadable photos and images and creative ideas to practice – all are part of the lesson plans.
Lastly, an opportunity to exchange ideas by asking questions will be a feature!
Once you subscribe the access codes to the lessons, as they become available, will be emailed to you.
There is no “hidden agenda” to this offer. Simply to educate more people about sign language.
I have seen so many positive outcomes when people know sign language – even the basics. If you like the idea, but don’t want or need lesson plans for sign language instruction – please consider sharing this information. Who knows?! – An educator may happen upon your post and love the idea!
Questions? Please use this contact form to ask any questions!
I will not sell my list of subscribers to any company. Your info is kept private!
WOW! Is it me, or did this summer ‘fly by”? Well, if it is August then that means just one thing to an educator/ parent/ retail store owner – BACK TO SCHOOL!
Ahhh… the smell of new pencils, paper and notebooks! Oh wait- that was my memory from 30 years ago.. now in the year 2013 we have recollections of the smell of a freshly unboxed iPad and earbuds!
Do we still have backpacks? I hope so as I have amassed a list of what a student should put in their backpack that is NOT a school supply!
A list of emergency contacts. Whether your students is 6 or 16, a list of emergency contacts can be a lifesaver. Don’t assume that the child will remember all their contacts names, numbers and addresses. Also, having a cell phone is no guarantee either.
List of any medications they are taking or any allergies. Consider using MediPal to have all essential medical information on or in the backpack, itself.
Emergency money for lunch or a cab ride home. I still have a recurring nightmare of when I was in second grade and had forgotten my lunch money. My mom had to come and bring me lunch which wasn’t the bad part- it was the memory of our principal who was not the happiest “camper” in the world! I would have rather skipped lunch then have to sit in the main office being “babysat”.. So, I always asked for emergency money after that!
“Personal products” for your tween and teen girls- just in case
Quarters- just in case an after school snack is needed
Cell phone with spare charger or battery pack. Yes, I believe that students who are old enough to dial a phone responsibly and have after school activities should have a cell phone on them.
Actual writing utensils- such as a pen and paper
Calculator, if applicable
BOOK- YEP- I said a BOOK. This is to occupy their time when they have finished their work and need to do something constructive during free time. (Your student doesn’t like to read books? Try comics or a magazine)
Sense of humor, thick skin and information on how to get help (academic, emotional and other) , if needed. School is tough and we all hope that our kids will come to us if they need some assistance. But, if for some reason they feel they just can’t confide in a parent then they need to have some information on where help can be obtained.
In closing- there have been a few great commercials to remind us how our culture embraces BACK TO SCHOOL! My favorite is the MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEARcommercial by STAPLES. Here is a list of some more favorites from KidsWorld.
This week Toys r Us unveiled their annual TOY GUIDE for DIFFERENTLY ABLED CHILDREN. I love this catalog! It is by far the best one catalog I receive all year long! Included are great fine and gross motor activities, as well as games to stimulate language and overall cognitive skills. Wonderful for families and educators. Nancy O’Dell promotes this inclusion catalog and wishes all to “create magical play moments” on a video that you can watch (captioned) here: BRAVO to Toys R Us! GO RICKI! GO RICKI! GO RICKI! Once again I must give a shout-out to the staff at the new RICKI LAKE SHOW!Again, they “get it”. Bryan Moore, director of social media is meticulous at making sure that the content is inclusive. The team was uber positive and excited when I filmed a number of ASL and captioned videos for them as their FRIEND OF THE WEEK for #FriendsofRicki . To view the videos click here: RICKI VIDEOS
“THE MOUSE” aka Disney once again celebrated the deaf community by opening their original Disneyland to thousands who live and love within the deaf community. This year they added another great element- the cast of SWITCHED AT BIRTH (via ABCFAmily). This was a brilliant pairing of a beloved theme park with a “hot” show which highlights families with both deaf and hearing members. Equipped with many interpreters and staff, the day was deemed a wild success and much enjoyed by young and more “mature” lovers of all things Disney. Check out one of their blogs which helps to frame the endeavor.CLICK HERE
So a warm THANK YOU to Toys R Us, Ricki Lake and Staff, Disney and ABCFAMILY for “getting it” when it comes to setting an environment and tone for inclusion!
“This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.” ~Christopher Robin as told to Winnie the Pooh
I found this quote (again) just a few days ago and thought it was very apropos for those who are packing cars to drive their sons and daughters off to college for the very first time. It seems that mother’s have prepared for the day when their child leaves the nest the very first day they entered through the kindergarten doors. And for Dad’s … perhaps a wee bit later? And for many, this Fall will mark a new transition for the Moms and Dads – the “empty nest”. (I prefer the term “Low Occupancy”) It was only a short year ago when I felt the “gloom” of having a house that was all too quiet and clean. In addition, I may have learned a few things, so below I would like to share my new “expertise”.
Here are my thoughts…
1- Give yourself permission to feel badly. You know that you are excited and proud of your child. Also, that you deserve to feel great that as a parent you have done what was needed to get your child to this point – entering higher education. However, you still may have a sense of dread…. the empty room… the dinner seat that will be empty until Fall break… the quiet. So, go ahead. Acknowledge the change in the home and allow yourself time to adjust. Chocolate helps.
2- Call friends and plan to get OUT OF THE HOUSE. Make new traditions. And if lucky- maybe they will feel sympathy for you and pick up the tab.
3- Bake a lot of cookies for your college freshman to help him/her make new friends. And remember I always love to add a good PEZ dispenser with tons of refills. Nothing says, “Will you be my friend” than cookies and candy! Oh and popcorn! Don’t forget to send popcorn!
4- Get involved. Despite what I thought, the world didn’t end when we became a home that was “low occupancy”. In fact, in time it allowed me time to get involved with other endeavors.
5- And when your child comes home over break and thinks they are now wiser than you.. remember one thing.. you really did miss them!
I remember when I was an undergraduate student waiting at bus stops or walking home late at night feeling weary and sometimes frightened of my setting. To try and ease my anxiety I carried with me the safety device de jour at the time, known as the “rape whistle”. I also carried a small canister of mace. How much safer and also more comfortable would I have felt had I access to an iSafe backpack! What is the iSafe Backpack? In essence, it is an ingenious backpack/ mobile personal safety device that helps keep children of all ages and adults feel safer when they leave home!
I agreed to try the iSafe backpack (which I received complimentary), because I wanted to see for myself this product that was causing all the buzz on the “back to school” circuit. Recently, I have had the opportunity to see many backpacks for this back to school season and I wanted to compare. ( I need to confess- I am FUSSY!) The iSafe backpack (Sling style) arrived at my door and it was an instant hit with all the teens who were there when the box arrived! Not only did the iSafe bag come equipped with the most brilliant of mobile personal safety devices- an easy to access pull string alarm system, but it is able to hold so much of my personal stuff! My netbook with sleeve fit easily in to the sling backpacks main compartment. Also, there was a very healthy sized outside pocket to hold a cell phone, personal belongings and even some snack food! In addition, as a person with a bad back, I was duly impressed with the ergonomics of the iSafe Sling backpack. There was much cushion on this backpack which made both the shoulder straps and the outside that rested against my back very comfortable
. As I was trying on my iSafe bag, with the cadre of teens still acting as “judges”, we generated many applications for use. Some of the teens noted that the alternate styles (in the literature I received with the bag) would be super for college and high school students who needed to pack an entire day of books, computers and after school apparel. One girl noted that her parents would feel better if her younger sister had a bag as she walked to school and an iSafe backpack would ease their fears of about potential child abduction. Of course, we tested the alarm – immediately- and much to our surprise, it was LOUD! I originally thought the alarm would be a beep, but as one of the teens yelled over the siren- “This alarm could be heard blocks away!” Collectively we were sold! In addition, my daughter, who is always looking for trendy items paired with practical usage, suggested that the iSafecompany may want to consider cute daytime and evening purses, too. (I personally second the idea)
Moreover, I am thrilled to have the sling back for travel! Plus, I am a woman who travels nationwide for business. I often have to stay in hotel rooms by myself. I love that this backpack acts as a personal security system in a hotel, parking garage and so much more.
As an educator I would give the iSafe Sling Backpack an A+! And I have to thank the iSafe company for making my holiday shopping that much easier- as now I know exactly what I am buying the students in our family! Oops- just let the cat out of the bag!! Oh well- maybe my nieces and nephew will let me know now which style they want! Here’s hoping you all discover iSafe Backpacks and bags, too!
To make it easy for all of you- iSafe is now on TWITTER and FACEBOOK!
Louise Masin Sattler is a busy psychologist and owner of Signing Families™. She also is honored to be part of the HerInsight Network. Catch her show, Learning and Laughter with Louise! every Wednesday at 9 a.m. EST. Coffee optional. Laughing is mandatory. And she’ll be sporting a new iSAFE sling backpack cause it is groovy!Laugh with Louise on Twitter as @LouiseASL
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary ISafe Bag for this review. No other compensation was provided.
Once again I have been asked by several people to repost this article. If it helps one parent get through the tough times of having an unexpected premature baby, a child with special needs or another tough circumstance then it is worth the few minutes for me to post.
Here it is from the Early Childhood News website offered by MommyPerks.com. I have updated the ending a bit from the original post.
The poem written by Emily Perl Kingsley was cut out and pasted on refrigerator from February of 1992 until we moved to a new home in 1995. It was titled, “ Welcome to Holland”. In essence, it was a snapshot of what it is like to being unprepared when you give birth to a child who has challenges, such as medical or cognitive disabilities.
There is one section of the poem that I read over and over again, “After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.” “Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.” But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.”
My husband and I wanted to go to Italy and ended up in Holland on February 7, 1992. I should have known that our trip to second time parenthood would be bumpy as we were told that our second born was to be a girl. “Two girls, so nice”, my OB-GYN told me. Guess what, we had the first boy born in 28 years in my family when he arrived via emergency c-section. Not breathing right. Sugar too low, heartbeat too high. I could already feel the “plane veer” off course.
Days later we were allowed to go home only to notice that our little “fella” was turning the color of a Sunkist orange. Not good. Not good at all. Rushed back to the hospital to be told it was simple “jaundice”. Nope, nothing in the child’s life would be simple, I found out. Days go on and before the first actual tulip bloomed that year we were in intensive care with our young guy. Jaundice ended up to be a “liver problem” – not yet determined, but possibly very serious and could lead to severe retardation. Respiratory syncytial virus/ RSV nearly claimed his life. Reflux choked him every third breath. Our nightmare continued. You know you have a very sick baby when you can’t find room in the isolated PICU suite because of the number of doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists working with your child to keep him alive. You also know your baby is very ill when the nurses come and ask you questions such as, ‘Is there anyone we can call for you?” Does God have a hotline, I wonder?
For any new parent who has a baby you know this is the worst part of the scenario- waiting. You wait to see if the tests are positive for illnesses that are unimaginable. You wait to see if the insurance will cover the rare and complicated blood work, machines that are helping your child stay alive or special therapy sessions ordered. You wait to see if you will ever have a “normal” life again for yourself, your family, your work, etc. Will your child walk, talk, eat normally, have friends, etc.? You begin truly HATE Holland.
Then little by little the waiting ends. Test results come back. Therapies begin. Hospitalizations end and you go home. But, for many of us, this is when you start a new journey in to the realm of Special Education. Here is the most ironic part of this story and the reason I am writing it for this blog. I am a special educator. I am a full fledge, certified School Psychologist that is trained with helping parents and children with special needs. All my training flies out the window as my mind is trying to process the months of evaluations, reports and recommendations from specialists. Ironic indeed. I have now changed teams! Instead of being the intervention specialist I now am the one calling our local school district asking for help from the Early Intervention Team! And I am so grateful when they appear at my door. But, I still have problems with paperwork and understanding all the information. How can this be? I do this job everyday and I am still wading through it because my head is so full of grief and confusion. The team helps me. Everyday gets a little better. Clarity arrives with every meeting or visit from a team member. Family members come on board to help. We get it through it.
Now fast- forward, our son improves with therapy as he starts to talk, walk (actually run) and become quite sociable. He has more hospital visits but he is deemed fairly healthy. His liver has a benign disorder and we are told that he shouldn’t go without food or enter in to the military. We can live with those two stipulations to have a benign liver disorder vs. the alternatives.
I also become a much better psychologist. Often I went to our refrigerator and I read Welcome to Holland. As I do I imagine my own fears, but also the see the faces and hear the sad, confused and sometimes hopeful voices of countless parents and children I have worked with in the past. I am a better person because I stopped in Holland than Italy.
As for the little “fella”, he is off to Michigan State University in the Fall. He wants to help others by joining law enforcement as a forensic criminologist. He has had his challenges, but nothing we couldn’t handle thanks to the help of caring teachers, healthcare professionals and family.
And guess where he suggested we go on summer vacation this year? Holland. And what teams does he predict will win the FIFA World Cup- you guessed it… The Netherlands! Well, I’ll be!!
Follow-Up... It has been a YEAR since I wrote this original post and have received notes from many parents who thanked me for sharing our journey and giving hope to theirs. As for the “little fella”- well he has excelled beyond out wildest dreams at Michigan State University- with acceptance in to the honors college and dorm. He is an amazing kid and still remains to this day my hero…
Second Follow-Up … My son is now a junior and living the average life of a college aged student. The fact that I typed AVERAGE makes my heart sing, as for many this is the bar which to aim and one during his earlier years that we weren’t sure would ever be attained. An interesting twist happened a year ago… my son was so touched that I wrote this blog that he tried to connect with Emily Kinglsley, the author of A TRIP TO HOLLAND. Unfortunately his attempts were unsuccessful which made his Mother’s Day gift a bit of a disappointment for him. However, knowing that he tried was present enough for ME! I grow prouder and prouder of both of my children on a daily basis as they are kind and generous people who are doing the world of good for “tourism” in Holland. XO to all parents with children that are the tulips of generations to come.