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.
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Shipping included, but note: we only ship within the United States. For outside the USA orders – please send an email. Thank you.
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 are additional safety resources including for earthquake, flood, hurricane, tsunami and wildfire preparedness.
Today there have been a series of tragic tornadoes that have ripped through the heartland of America causing severe devastation, including loss of life. Some of the families impacted who have been impacted have family members with special needs.
In an effort to help families and communities who may have some unique challenges during disasters here is some information:
BEFORE A DISASTER
Be prepared. Alert your local fire department if you have a family member with special needs of any kind, such as physical, sensory, cognitive or other. Included would be family members with dementia, Alzheimer’s or medical problems.
Have a family plan for sheltering in place and evacuation.
Be sure to have an emergency kit in your home and car. To know what should be in your emergency kit go to the RED CROSS Disaster Information page.Don’t forget to add to your kit personal effects, such as your insurance information, copies of marriage and birth certificates and photos of your family members.
For families with children, especially with special needs, have a quick “grab and go” kit of favorite items and things you know will comfort your child during a time of distress. Stuffed animals, battery operated video games, and books or drawing pads all are good things to bring along. So, be prepared in advance with this GRAB AND GO KIT.
Let others know your plans if you need to evacuate. Where you intend to go and how you will try to check in.
WHAT TO DO IF DISASTER STRIKES
Many agencies including FEMA and the RED CROSS offer much information, including for for families with special populations.
GENERAL ASSISTANCE, including Access and Functional Needs Information:
RED CROSSdisaster safety checklist in multiple languges
Happy Holidays from all of us here at Signing Families! May your year be full of the best of health, prosperity, love and joy!__
Our heartfelt sympathies to all who lost a loved one or was impacted by the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School this month. Also, our deepest thank you to all who responded to assist those during this disaster and many more during 2012.
I remember my first intro to sign language course. It wasn’t even called American Sign Language (ASL) but SIGNED LANGUAGE in ENGLISH. WOW.. that set’s me back a few years. Now ASL is recognized as a foreign language in many colleges and schools, therefore, allowing students to learn credit for their efforts and promoting signing in our communities.
SIGNING FAMILIES, my instructional company focuses on melding developmental psychology with sign language instruction. We are deeply rooted in the bilingual-bicultural worlds and have an affinity to work with children and families within the special needs communities. Most of our connections are in fact within special education.
There are many great companies that are producing some sensational ASL learning tools to help those who are motivated to learn the basics of sign language. I happily will promote and offer reviews and links to those who I feel are really connected to ASL and not just wanting to “teach sign” in order to line their pockets with your cash.
So without much further ado.. here are a few that really “get” ASL –
VISUALIZE ASL is the brainchild of Cathi Bouton. I love that she has her heart and soul in the deaf world as well as the hearing. Cathi told me that she wanted to give her students some interactive way to practice after classroom instruction. Through research, trial and error and much sweat, Cathi created the VISUALIZE ASL Interactive Activities for learners of American Sign Language. I previewed the Basic Vocabulary and Fingerspelling CD along with the Match Games. Both were very good for novice learners and quite enjoyable. Both were soundly developed according to sign language linguistic principles -which I truly appreciated. I would offer this as a good supplement for college students, home educated students and those who wish to take on ASL instruction at the comfort of their home computer. This can be purchased on their website or via AMAZONand HARRIS COMMUNICATIONS.Check out Visualize ASL on YouTube too!
EVERYDAY ASL is another wonderful sign language instructional company. I love how the duo of Gilda Toby Ganezer & Avery Posner developed a series of videos to demonstrate ASL IDIOMS. Also, they have APPS and YouTube Videos available. The apps are my favorite as you can learn to sign “on the go”.
And, I would be really remiss if I didn’t invite you to check out the many fun, interactive and inexpensive ways to learn ASL via my company SIGNING FAMILIES. We have ONLINE VIDEOS for beginners, homeschool learners and even those who use sign language adaptively.
We also offer a series of DVDs, communication charts, folders and bookmarks. ALL of our products are made with input from educators, students and people within the special needs communities. (Our I WANT, I FEEL CHART was made by request from families within the Autism Community)
This year has been one of grand high points and some that were a bit… not high. Despite some of the events of the year that I would like to put way behind me, such as kicking cancer out the back door, I was so fortunate to put on a bunch of air miles for work (which really is loads of fun!) I was invited to be a guest speaker at several conferences, workshops and expos this year. I had a wonderful time at MACWORLD 2011, EMS conferences in many states and much more. I truly enjoyed meeting and greeting thousands at conferences where I was asked to speak about helping children with special needs during disasters or medical emergencies. It was an unbelievable privilege for me to work in tandem with many in the EMS community this year. I wish I could name each person individually who took time out of their day to learn sign language in order to effectively communicate with a child or adult who is deaf or uses sign. I snapped a zillion photos this year. These are from visits to California, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, Florida, New Jersey, Wyoming and Colorado. And, a few are from my own “backyard” here in the metro DC area. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!
It is almost the anniversary of one of the saddest days in American history. A day when time seemed to have stood still. When the morning started as a day so crisp and clear it was almost too good to be true, yet ended full of darkness. And, the day which I asked myself over and over again…How are First Responders helping people who can’t hear, speak English, or are non-verbal -such as in the case of Autism?
Much has been written about 9/11 except for stories of what happened to those who couldn’t easily communicate with First Responders. A few films were made. Some tangential interviews. Yet, not much was made public about how First Responders communicated ten years ago and how they would, if need be, interact, react and communicate today. Arecent publication bySAVEtheCHILDREN.org indicated that many states continue to be without viable plans in place to help special populations, especially children during disasters. I was astonished as from my own personal experience I would have suspected the opposite findings!
Since 2001, I have had the privilege of talking to thousands of First Responder. Most who were intrigued and accepting of the idea that learning sign language (the fourth most common language in the United States) should be a priority for all EMS, Firefighters and Law Enforcement staff. Thousands have now sat in my SIGN LANGUAGE FOR EMERGENCY SITUATIONS workshops to hear about techniques to use during a disaster or medical incident to help a child with Autism, Down Syndrome, or Deafness. The participants have taught me as much as I have shared with them. So while I believe that there is room for improvement, I am certain that progress has been made throughout many regions in the United States including making September Disaster Preparedness Month.
Perhaps many, including myself, have learned these lessons…
1. Communication is key during a disaster or medical emergency. The first ten minutes are crucial. No one is asking to replace an interpreter or translator, but during exceptional circumstances, such as those of 9/11 or recent hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes – safety and help is tantamount.
2. To facilitate communication and help a child who has learning and/or developmental challenges, use people in their surrounding area who many be of assistance to help with interaction between the non-verbal / English speaker and yourself.
3. Gestures can come in handy, although be careful, some gestures may be considered obscene by some cultures.
4. Helping children is not the same as helping adults. They will react differently. Children with Autism may drop and rock, scream, lash out (in fear) and/or flee. The latter is the most dangerous as some new information shows that children who flee often will go to water, thus a child may seek out a pool or pond during a disaster.
5. The first ten minutes of any disaster or medical incident is key. Knowing ten signs (ASL), words in Spanish/ Chinese/ French/ Vietnamese (among others) can save help to evacuate people to safety, find a child, or save a life.
In order to make safety an inclusive priority I have added some resource links below. My biggest wish – we never need to use them as that would mean another disaster or medical crisis has occurred.
SLINKY- yes, you read it right. One SLINKY can help to transition a child who is fearful or non-verbal from place to place. Children with significant Autism may become engrossed in the shiny and round aspects of this non-personal object and be more willing to go with a First Responder/
Recently, there has been an upsurge of actors who are “nontraditional” on television. Several wonderful deaf actors appear on the ABCFamily show, SWITCHED AT BIRTH and PARENTHOOD has an actor portraying a child with Asperger’s syndrome. The Discovery Health Network dedicated a show about children with physical and learning challenges, including Jaylen Arnold from Jaylens Challenge.Bravo to the entertainment corporate executives who had the vision to show inclusion on television!
Keep in mind that although television is now more inclusive than ever, there exists no clear roadmap for any parent with a child who wishes to become a working actor, let alone a child with special considerations. For many families their child may have exceptional needs and extraordinary talent, yet the course to becoming a working actor often can be bumpy and without any guidance. Therefore, I wish to learn more from industry specialists. I know how Natasha was able to overcome her learning disabilities, to be able to shine her way through auditions and secure work as an actor, however, what about others? What are their stories? Who can help them? Who are the talent agents, managers and casting directors that work with our friends in the special needs community? I would love to hear from any or all who can help enlighten! And if you wish to be a guest on the show – let me know!
◊ Today I was lucky to have interviewed on radio Danette Linicomn from The Liniocomn Agency. She hails from Dallas and represents all ages and sizes. We really clicked! She shared some sage advice which should be considered essential by any parent who has a child interested in the acting profession. I am happy to share it with you and also some great resource links below.
Here are some great suggestions:
1- Be careful for what you pay for. The classes sound great, the commercials sound promising, but no one can guarantee that your child will make it in “show biz”- no one.
2- Be prepared. Having a child actor is work for the whole family. It also can be expensive and time consuming. Headshots, resume services and acting classes all cost money. And when you are with your child at an audition or on the set, chances are your work productivity is compromised, too. So, be aware and be prepared.
3- Danette recommends that only franchised and registered Talent Agents represent your child. If they are not licensed or in franchised then it is possible that they are a “scam” or worse. Be an educated and cautious consumer.
4- Education is important, including for working actors. Although many working actors are schooled on sets or within their homes. This is a personal choice.
5- Actors come in all sizes and shapes. Danette indicated that many casting directors now want “real people” which is why she has a REEL department in her agency. (Submissions welcome )
6- Deaf actors and those who are fluent signers are sought after, as well. Danette will be joining forces with an LA agency that specializes with representing talent who have unique language abilities or special needs. (Addison Witt Talent Agency)
7- Voiceover talent can make a living, however, this is a crowded field and many don’t last long in this niche market.
Here are some excellent resources for parents of working actors to peruse and become informed.
Note: The children in the photo above are all working actors who have been American Sign Language (ASL) models in video and print for my company SIGNING FAMILIES™ . They are NOT represented by the the Linicomn Agency . However, they do show that acting kids come in all sizes and shapes!
SIGNING FAMILIES™ has a new sign language series of materials ready to roll from our place to you home, school, hospital or organization. Throughout the next few months we will be announcing contests to give away FREE products to few lucky winners. Today we announce the EDUCATOR CONTEST- A CLASSROOM SET OF American Sign Language (ASL) Materials…. details are here:
To be eligible simply commentbelow or on the SIGNING FAMILIES FACEBOOK page by May 1, 2011 (6 pm EST) on why your classroom, your child’s teacher or some educator you know would love to get the ASL classroom set (enough for twenty students). This will include sets of the SIGNING FAMILIES™ new ASL- English and Spanish folder ,bookmarks, ASL charts and a free DVD (either Baby, Toddler and Preschool Sign Language or Sign Language for Emergency Situations). The value of this prize is well over $150.
I also will randomly pick two other educators to win a free set of bookmarks for their class and SIGNING FAMILIES DVD.
→ A few rules:
You may submit only one comment per person. But, if you are really clever, you can have friends, family and co-workers comment on your behalf!
I am so excited to have joined 411Voices. The 16 women (and growing) are incredible talents. All with unique skills. All experts in their fields. This week alone we had the following 411Voices get national recognition and I would love to give them a shout out here with hopes that you will follow them and the 411Voices group collectively. (We would love to have you join us on Twitter @411Voices and FACEBOOK)
Meet Shara Lawrence- Weiss.. here is her great television appearance for her company Personal Child Stories.I love how she discusses the practical uses of “everyday objects and photographs” as a way to enhance learning with young children. Watch by clicking the link:
I have been asked on numerous occasions to recite the reasons why I learned American Sign Language (ASL) thirty-something years ago when I was a student at the land of Blue Hens- The University of Delaware. And I laugh each time. You see, way back when I met some really groovy gals in my dorm complex who were taking up this “sign language” for fun and to suffice their college language credits. The first word they showed me in sign was COMPLAIN! Yep, I learned to kvetch in sign before anything else. I was fascinated of the prospect of using this silent language in addition to the few other spoken languages I knew. So, I started to take sign classes/ workshops/seminars… and haven’t stopped since.
Now not all of my sign language training was pretty. I started by learning something called SIGNING EXACT ENGLISH (SEE). Nowadays, I admonish any student that uses SEE in my ASL classroom, although I maintain a healthy respect for it’s applications as a teaching tool when it comes to the instruction of language arts and reading in the elementary years. It should come to no surprise that I have learned to shop ASL, too. Which explains the countless bookshelves of my huge collection of sign language dictionaries, signed movies and even a stamping set to make cute little ASL notes.
Which brings me to present day. As fate would have it, I was able to meld together my love of sign language and developmental psychology in to one company- SIGNING FAMILIES. I would like to think that my little company is one that helps to build communication bridges one SIGN at a time. It gives me great joy to see people of all ages and abilities learning to use their hands for communication. Maybe one day it will be you?!
Enjoy learning my “first” signs (above) and visit SIGNING FAMILIES on FACEBOOK or the website to learn many, many more! For more information on sign language, SIGNING FAMILIES and a whole ton more.. visit SIGNING FAMILIES.. http://www.signingfamilies.com
AND NOTE: If you are a mom or dad blogger and wish to preview our new materials for educators, healthcare staff, rescuers, disaster relief shelter workers and more- please contact me via our website or Facebook page. THANKS!