Category: Sign Language for Emergency Situations

Post 9/11 – Lessons Learned by First Responders and Myself in Helping Special Populations

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.  A recent publication  by  SAVEtheCHILDREN.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.

RESOURCES

FIRST RESPONDERS TV – Deaf and Special Populations Video

EMS Educast-  Helping deaf populations

Inclusion – Help for Disaster Preparedness

Autism Society

FEMA

DEAF Inc. Disaster Videos

Spirit of Autism by Debi Taylor.  Paramedic, mother of a child with Autism

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/

Sign Language for Emergencies Mini-Chart

Educators Contest- Win Free ASL Products for Students!

 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 comment below 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!
  • You also may comment on the SIGNING FAMILIES Facebook website found here: SIGNING FAMILIES ON FACEBOOK
  • We ship only in the United States and Canada for this contest. Please make sure the educator who is to receive the gift is in the US or Canada.
  • Homeschool educators are eligible and encouraged.
  • Parents may enter on behalf of their children’s teachers (or for themselves if they are educators)
  • Grandparents also may enter
  • Your dog may not enter unless they are donating the prize to their obedience teacher
  • The WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON THIS BLOG and THE FACEBOOK PAGE ON MAY 1st and for a few days after. PLEASE CHECK BACK to see if you are a winner!!
If you do not win and wish to learn how you can take advantage of the deep discounts offered for the new product line please go to our website – SIGNING FAMILIES or email me for details.
info@SigningFamilies.com
Check out the photos of some of our SIGNING FAMILIES products (the folder is so new- no image available yet!)  Also, below the photos are some COOL ANNOUNCEMENTS….

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NEWSWORTHY-

WOW- thanks to all who read my last blog about why I think James Durbin should win American Idol!   I know some new readers visited so welcome and thanks!

Thank you to all who voted for SIGNING FAMILIES™ as part of the Start Up Nation 2011 Leading Women in Business Contest.  There are just a few more days of voting, so please if you have a moment- VOTE

I will know next week if I was one of their Winners…. http://www.startupnation.com/leading-moms-in-business/contestant/10186/index.php

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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 Jenna Riggs (Mommyonashoestring.com).. She is a finalist in the NBC/Universal Green Creativity contest and we hope she will appear on the TODAY SHOW very soon with her adorable Jump Rope Markers!
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:
And you will LOVE this video by Liysa Callsen, aka codadiva.  If you do not know what a CODA is I won’t give up the surprise.. just watch and be prepared to LAUGH!


HELP SIGNING FAMILIES™ TO HELP OTHERS LEARN ASL- THROUGH START UP NATION 2011!

SIGNING FAMILIES

START UP NATION 2011 MOM ENTREPRENEUR COMPETITION!

PLEASE VOTE DAILY HEREhttp://bit.ly/eDy1Jg (simply pick daily reminder)

I has been a really long time since I “campaigned” for any competition. I think my last run for an office was in the seventh grade. I lost- badly. This time I am hoping to compete in something a little bit more hefty than my Jr. HS student council race. I am hoping to have my company, SIGNING FAMILIES™ recognized as one of the Start Up Nation 2011 best mom owned businesses. While it would be terrific to win- it would be even more wonderful to receive exposure for American Sign Language as a beneficial mode of communication for not only the deaf community but those who are within perhaps the Autism, Down Syndrome and Speech Impaired communities ( to name a few).

To date SIGNING FAMILIES™ has donated thousands of dollars of product and instructional workshops to people within the special needs community who could not afford to attend ASL classes or purchase materialsfor their classrooms or homes. We also have taught up close and personal- scores of educators, families, medical personnel and First Responders nationwide. Our DVD- Sign Language for Emergency Situations in ASL, English and Spanish has been heralded as a one of a kind DVD to meet the ASL and Spanish communities needs for fast communication during a natural or manmade disaster.

Our BABY, TODDLER and PRESCHOOL Sign Language DVD was designed to meet the needs of people who want to learn how to promote or augment communication with children by using sign language. It recently won the KIDLUTIONS Preferred Product Award and was represented at Mac World for KIDS 2011.

Here is what we are working on now-

Create a large pocket folder with signs for basic communication on the front and emergency/medical signs onthe back. This folder was requested by people within both the medical and educational communities. We heard the requests and are now in production. Available May 2011.

– In order to help promote literacy among deaf children and foster friendships between children who are hearingand those who are deaf we are creating multiple bookmarks. Our first two focus on school words and social-emotional development words with ASL, English and Spanish. The third will substitute Hebrew for Spanish.  (Have an idea- submit to us anytime!)

Also, SIGNING FAMILIES™ proudly teamed with abcteach.com to create downloadable flashcards and movies for their terrific educators website. To date, we have created for videos which help students and teachers learn COLORS, the ALPHABET and NUMBERS and COMMON SCHOOL WORDS in ASL. Next we will be developing a video for WH? question words.

…And if we can find people who know sign language for Japan we will gladly put together for First Responders and the Red Cross a quick chart to use on site to help communicate with the deaf population in Japan. (Please send any info about JSL – Japanese Sign Language to info@SigningFamilies.com)

THANK YOU FOR READING… now please vote.. today and every day until the competition ends in mid- May. It would be so groovy to get more people taking a sign language journey with us!

~Louise

ABC News Now, INC, MSN.com, Entrepreneur.com, BizJournals

p.s. A very special Thank You to Karen Geary, my biz mentor, – without her, I would never have had the courage to pursue SIGNING FAMILIES on an international level!

 

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):     http://vimeo.com/17246709


EMS 101

Next week I will be going to a very important conference- NASEMSO– the National Association of State EMS Officials annual meeting.  This will be unlike any gathering of the minds that I have ever attended. And I am really excited as I have worked hard and waited a long time for this opportunity.

Nevermind that this will be an opportunity for me to discuss the advantages of sign language for all emergency responders and healthcare providers with people who are the “shakers and movers” in the the EMS milieu.  Nevermind that I will be able to educate people about how to approach a deaf child or one who has special learning challenges, such as Autism, during a critical incident.  Nevermind that I will be proudly showing my SIGN LANGUAGE FOR EMERGENCY SITUATIONS series of products and information.

My reasons for excitement are purely selfish.  Next week I get to be both the teacher and the student. I can be a participant in sessions that will help me to learn more about the the fabric of emergency management.  What training does a First Responder need?  How do cities determine how many ambulances are needed? Do EMS organizations have special considerations for bilingual/bicultural families? What are the latest and greatest technologies in ER care for trauma doctors?

And if I can help others next week, too- well then that would be icing on the proverbial cake!

Thanks for reading!  If you would like to read more about Sign Language for Emergency Situations and the reasons why I created this series please see this blog entry  ” WHY I CREATED SIGN LANGUAGE FOR EMERGENCY SITUATIONS”

Louise Sattler is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist, Owner of Signing Families™ , frequent blogger to many educational websites and the host of the soon to launch radio program on the HerInsight Media NetworkThe Louise Sattler Show-  Where Learning Meets Laughter!

Hopefully by this time next week she will have learned a lot of information about the EMS.  Feel free to learn more about Signing Families” EMS trainings by sending an email to Info@Signingfamilies.com

 

There are many great resources to learn more about EMS

I highly recommend the CHRONICLES OF EMS

and Spirit of Autism

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