As a psychologist, special educator, and the mom of a working actor (Natasha Sattler), I am always interested in obtaining information to share with other families. In this particular case, I want to ask these questions – Who exactly are the talent agents, managers and casting directors who work directly with children with disabilities? And, does the entertainment industry understand the intricacies of working with children with specific learning challenges, such as Autism, Deafness, Down Syndrome, or Learning Disabilities? I want to explore these questions and many more this Fall on my radio program – ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT and the BUSINESS of it ALL- the PARENTING THE TALENT series.
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!
ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT and the BUSINESS OF IT ALL! (including the PARENTING THE TALENT series) is co-hosted by Dara Blaker and Louise Sattler every Tuesday at 10 a.m. EST on BLOG TALK RADIO. This show is part of the 411 VOICES network. Both Louise and Dara are available for guest speaking on topics educational and about “parenting the talent”. Connect with us via PINE MEDIA. Thank you for reading!
Jaylen, his sister and me - meeting in Florida, December 2010. These kids are both amazing!
I have known Jaylen Arnold for more than a year. Each time I read his posts, watch his videos or see his tweets I have to remind myself that he is not even a teenager, but a young boy with multiple personal challenges who does not wallow in his own struggles, but chooses to help others. In fact he goes beyond measure to assist peers, such as in the case of his friend, Carissa Bodner.
In the video below Jaylen eloquently appeals to his audience to help Carissa, who recently was hit by a drunk driver while riding her bike. She has been in critical condition and has received multiple surgeries. Carissa, needs our help. Please watch and then consider contributing to Jaylen’s campaign to lend a helping hand to his dear friend.
There are several ways to connect with Jaylen.
My company, SIGNING FAMILIES will be donating a generous portion of proceeds from our product sales to Carissa throughout the fourth of July weekend. Perhaps you will do the same? Thank you.
Jaylen Arnold is no ordinary kid! You will know that from the very first minute that you speak to him or read his Twitter feed. You also will know that he is a force to be reckoned with as he is the catalyst behind a very strong anti-bullying campaign known as Jaylens Challenge. He also is trying to raise funds to help educate children and school personnel about bullying.
I first “met” Jaylen through Twitter. I kept seeing his Twitter name – @JaysChallenge– linked with some pretty interesting words such as Tourette’s Syndrome and Bullying. I also found out that he was not camera shy despite having a significant tic disorder which makes vocal fluency difficult, to say the least. He piqued my curiosity because two decades ago while still in training as a psychologist I attended a Tourette’s Conference in Pennsylvania. Our graduate class was all assigned the task of attending portions of special education conferences to report to the statewide association for School Psychologists. My fellow graduate students picked their favorites and I was given by pick of the straw- the leftover session- Tourettes. What my fellow grad students didn’t know was that I was the winner. I was fascinated and in awe of the dozens of people who came to the conference to explain their lives with hard to control or uncontrollable tics. I also found great strength within this group. I believe that my training prepped me for helping Jaylen.
I explain all of this because I wanted to know how a nine year old boy could literally turn many in this country into foot soldiers for his anti-bullying campaign. Now I don’t mean area school children only (although they make up a wonderful part of his anti-bullying army). I mean people in the entertainment industry. Even Leo DiCaprio is on board and Moon Frye! His biggest supporters, however are his parents, sister and actor, Dash Mihok. Dash understands Tourettes and Jaylen because he too has had to handle the disorder. He is an exceptional role model for Jaylen. Dash also is the “grand prize” for what Jaylen has termed, “The Next Step”. This is a grassroots campaign to educate people about bullying and give assistance. The full explanation of why Jaylen is taking on such a huge undertaking is here: http://www.JaylensChallenge.org
And why am I writing this blog to ask you to join Jaylen’s Army for “BULLYING NO WAY”. Because no one deserves to be treated as he has been within our public school system. This child endured wearing a teacher designed sign around his neck warning people that he was disabled. Thus, inciting bullying by classmates. I was incensed when I heard his mom, Robin discuss this issue and knew I had to help prevent any other child from having such an atrocity happen within our school system.
To learn more about Jaylen Arnold, JaylensChallenge or the NEXT STEP campaign visit any of these links:
www.JaylensChallenge.org (Here is where you can order some really groovy glow in the dark support bands to wear) Check out who owns them at the bottom of this post!
Jaylen’s many past media appearances: http://www.jaylenschallenge.org/jaylens-on-the-web
Discovery Channel – Jaylen is featured here: Tourette’s Uncovered” premier on @Disc_Health http://bit.ly/arImEy 9/13/10 at 9pm
Now it is time to hear from Jaylen!!