What lessons have we learned from Hurricane Katrina?


Hurricane earthquake disaster damage ruined house

It is hard to believe that ten years ago many of us were glued to our television  sets watching a hurricane develop  in the Atlantic Ocean and then slowly but surely find its’ way to the Gulf Coast.  It was named –  Hurricane Katrina.  While no doubt a horrific hurricane that caused millions if not billions in damages, it truly was the flooding from when the levees broke that made this hurricane written in to the history books.  Who can forget the television footage of reporters on boats making their way through what were the beautiful streets of New Orleans? How can people erase the images of people crying out for help?  So many sad memories of those who evacuated, lost everything or suffered trauma that to this day may be unspeakable. It was “Katrina” that cast a dark shadow on the United States’ ability to help their own people during a crisis.  For many, Katrina will forever be remembered as a “one-two- three punch” of a storm.  First the hurricane, then the flooding and then the failure for help to arrive when needed the most.

Related: Video playlist of Hurricane Katrina footage and history

There is no question that we did not prepare nor evacuate and assist those in need to the best of our collective abilities.  Families were shipped off to different locales including sending relatives to opposite sides of the country. I recall meeting families who had been uprooted and sent to the Washington DC- Baltimore area. They simply were in shock. They had nothing.  Our local neighbors and religious organizations offered them food, clothing, toys for the kids and just about anything else we could think of!  I often wondered what has happened to them ten years later.  Did they go home to New Orleans?

Then there were those who refused to leave their homes. Many because they wanted to “ride out the storm”. Yet a good number wouldn’t leave as they couldn’t handle leaving behind a family pet.  Others were unsure of how their elderly relatives or ones with special needs would be able to endure shelters- so they stayed.

And now looking back we now know that for some of these families these were fatal mistakes.

There must be some lessons we have learned since August of 2005? But, what are they?  How did we alter the way we prepare and respond to disasters since Katrina? 

I believe that emergency responders never again want to have what happened during and after Katrina be repeated.  Never again do we want people to feel helpless and hopeless.  As aforementioned, many people failed to evacuate because they couldn’t bring their pets to shelters or  provide for their safety.  Others failed to evacuate because they felt they were “safe” only to be in dire straits when the levees broke.  Lives could have been saved if pets, the elderly and better communication were all in place. Although we cannot undo the tragedies of 2005, we have learned from them.

Thankfully now many laws and initiatives have been instituted that are a direct result of Katrina.  One is regarding the care of animals during emergencies. In some areas, no longer do people need to make a choice. (Read how Congress changed animal care during disasters by clicking here).  People are now encouraged to plan ahead and have “back up plans” for their animals in the event of an emergency.

Communication also has improved as now videos in multiple languages, including American Sign Language (ASL),  have been made available for all to access important information about preparations needed for families to be safe in case of an emergency situation, how to ready for impending disasters, and what to expect from response and recovery.  Local community response teams (CERT) have grown and are now a wonderful grassroots effort to help our citizens be safe, including our most vulnerable members – seniors and those with disabilities.  I can’t rave enough about these amazing people who give beyond measure by engaging the most during a time when many would prefer to go away from a disaster.

Read the changes made with emergency management following “Katrina” – a FEMA Document.

It is amazing how many people are now more responsive to hurricane warnings. After all, Katrina was suppose to be a Category 1 storm that quickly gained momentum and strength.  One of the lessons that many have learned is to have a disaster preparedness kit.  Flashlights, batteries and crank radios are now common place in people’s homes and cars.  The Red Cross has put together a very useful website chocked full of disaster preparedness recommendations.

Remember to plan with your loved ones to prepare before a disaster happens! That is the lesson we ALL can take away from Katrina and apply in preparation for any other  disasters – natural and at the hands of man. As there is bound to be “something” in our future and at least we can be ready.

I am sure that many of you have many more suggestions.  As always, please feel free to comment.

Thanks for reading and may this hurricane season be kind and gentle and not as catastrophic as Katrina.

~Louise

A Letter to Teachers of Students with ADD/ ADHD.

A Letter to Teachers of Students with ADD/ ADHD.


Multiethnic Arms Raised Holding ADHD

Recently, I penned a blog about tips for parents of children with learning disabilities and how to help with homework.  Now as a part two, I am writing an additional article to address the needs of children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD or ADHD if hyperactivity is part of the diagnosis.

This is a topic I know I know a lot about!  Not only am I a full fledged member of the adult ADHD “team”.  Some people may consider this a “disability”… I consider it a gift… Most days.

Related: What is Attention Deficit Disorder in Children and Adults?

As I child I  always knew that I had more energy and impulse “issues” than most.  Although not a horrible child I could stir more than my share of trouble in a very short amount of time.

In retrospect,  I wish I could have given a “How to teach a child with ADHD letter” to all of my teachers.  If I could turn back time, the letter below is what I would have sent to each of my teachers prior to my arrival in their classroom.   If his letter resonates with one of your family members or someone you know – feel free to personalize it and send it to a teacher.   And, for those of you with ADD/ ADHD who may have some other suggestions  – please feel free to include them in the comment section below.

Dear Teachers,

Despite my cute red and curly hair and wide smile I may be one of the toughest challenges you will face all year.  You see, I am a ball of energy and exude enthusiasm, but don’t be fooled, as I have Attention Deficit Disorder.  (Note: back in the “day” when I was in elementary school they didn’t really have an official diagnosis.)

Here are some suggestions that may help me to learn and make this school year more enjoyable for both of us! (And, the rest of the students, too!)

1-  I can sustain attention to task as along as you are not boring me.  I become bored very easily.  You don’t need to repeat the same information to me again and again.  Just give me a chance to write it down and hear it once, maybe twice.  

2- Give me breaks to walk around.  I will squirm and create quite a stir in my seat if I don’t get a break every 30 minutes or so.  The exception will be when there is high stimulus changing material – such as a movie or computer time.

3- Give me a nutritious snack mid- morning.  If I am hungry then I am not learning.  i also am not paying attention.  And, this would be true of all the students.  Even crackers with cheese will help sustain my attending.

4. If I am doodling or coloring a picture during lecture time know that this is a good thing.  Doodling and coloring help me to listen and pay attention.  

5. Give me other things to occupy my time.  Modeling clay is good to occupy my hands.  If not, I may end up making balls out of bits of paper. 

6. I need organization.  Color pens and markers for me to color code my work. File folders to separate the subject matter.  All of these techniques are better than no organization at all. If you doubt that I don’t need help with organization check my backpack and desk.  I am liable to lost assignments, notes from home and my lunch money.

7.  I like to show my creative side.  So, let me do work that is multi-modal.   Let me use art and music to learn other subjects such as creating jingles to memorize math facts or social studies information. 

8.  Make me accountable for my actions.  Just because I have ADHD doesn’t mean that I don’t have to take responsibility for my behaviors.  I need to follow rules.  I need to be kind and not bully.  I need to complete my assignments. I don’t get a “pass” because I have ADHD.  Remember I am not disabled – just a different kind of learner.

9.  I can get a lot done in a short amount of time.  That is because if given tools to succeed I can do so efficiently and without much problem.  

10.  Homework is just another opportunity to be bored.  If I feel bored I am more liable to get in trouble.  So, give me meaningful tasks to complete and not work that is redundant.  Homework is redundant.  Let me do reading or creative projects, not busy work.

11. Make sure that my parents know what I am doing and not doing during the school day.  Make my parents and the parents of my peers part  of the process of our learning. (For the record both my parents were truly engaged in my education – so this is more of  a reminder for others.)  Invite mentors and retirees in to the classroom to help.  

Related: The value of grandparents in the classroom by Grandparents.com

12. I like to chat.  I am social.  If you want me to reduce my talking make sure that you follow suggestion #2 – trust me that my taking a break will make both of our lives easier.  If you want, give the whole class a break to stretch -then I won’t feel singled out.  I promise that one short break and we will all be less chatty and social.

13. Give me a job to do when I take a break.  Make me a classroom helper.  

Read related blog of a teacher who “got me” – Thank you, Miss Huntley!

14. Remember that ADD/ ADHD is often associated with learning disabilities.  

Read more about learning disabilities here.

Thank you for reading my letter and I am hoping this will be the start of a very exciting, educational and positive school year!

~Louise

Tips for helping your child with learning disabilities complete homework


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Welcome to the 2015-16 academic school year!

The number of children and youth ages 3–21 receiving special education services was 6.4 million, or about 13 percent of all public school students, in 2012–13. Some 35 percent of students receiving special education services had specific learning disabilities. (nces.ed.gov)

What exactly is one to glean from these statistics?  For teachers in public school it means that at least 2-3 children in the typical classroom will have more than the ordinary challenges with completing work without assistance or special programing.  And, while the public schools may have experts to assist children with learning disabilities the true challenge comes when the child arrives home and is faced with a backpack full of homework. Where are the experts to help with the homework? What are parents or caregivers to do?

Related: What are the most common types of learning disabilities?

First, I want to go on record that as a parent and School Psychologist I am not a fan of homework.  Who wants to complete hours of work after just finishing hours of work? I have a few exceptions as I do believe in long term projects that integrate multiple skills or daily recreational reading for an hour each day.  But, I understand that I am in the minority and every day millions of children come home with tons of homework.  So, with that said what is the parent of child with learning disabilities to do to make this often overwhelming situation better and maybe even painless.  Here are some tips that hopefully be helpful and abate any “homework wars”.  And, feel free to share with all parents as they are not exclusive to those with special challenges.

Tip 1:  Feed your child a nutritious snack before you begin any structured homework time.  Don’t throw a lot of sugar in to them, but give them something with substance, such as a slice of pizza, peanut butter on crackers or apples. If they are in the mood for sweets be sure to make it a healthier option.  If it comes in a sealed bag it is doubtful that it is very healthy.  (See this link for ideas of healthy snacks from Pinterest.)

Tip 2: Allow your child at least 30 minutes of exercise before settling down for homework. Play with your child and use this time to ask about their day and share about yours!

Tip 3: Have a homework box ready. Include in the homework box the following items:

Highlight pens – use highlighters of different colors. Spotlight words that are unfamiliar and underline content that is confusing.  Use different colors to help with denoting math operations by highlighting the math symbol.

Sticky Notes for a student to write questions on or use as scratch paper.

Electronic reader – such as a Kindle, iPad or Nook.  The highlighting of words and sentences for grammar and vocabulary checks are very helpful for children who have reading challenges.  Reading can be made fun with the “zillion” of options for books and magazine that are available.

Folders that are different colors and/or designs. These can be purchased for cheap.  Each subject should be placed in different colored folders. Organization is key when a child has learning difficulties.  Or just about anyone!

Voice recorder – or phone with recording feature.  A child who reads a loud or explains why they are completing problem the way they are can help for instruction or correction.

Dark piece of poster board to cover material not being worked on and too distracting for some students.

Magnifying lens bar to amplify a section of print.Click here for a sample product

Organizers to help with task identification and completion.  There are many organizers available. Please see our Signing Families resource page for suggestions.

Tip 4: Switch roles – have your student teach you.

It often is helpful to learn a concept by switching your approach from learner to teacher.  Have your child make up lessons to teach you the concepts that they are learning. Complete the homework they developed and let them grade it. This will help them understand new concepts from a different perspective. Once they have more confidence with tasks they may be more willing to tackle homework assignments.

Tip 5- Use multimodal techniques to learn.

Spelling an issue? Use the sign language alphabet to remember how to spell words.

Sign language also can help with math fact learning, too!

Click here  to learn sign language easy and fun!

Create a song to remember information that is lengthy such as for social studies or science.

Draw pictures to remember tougher concepts. Silly drawings use kinesthetic and visual memory skills.

Suggested resources

PBS

LDonline

Assistive technology

Community question: What strategies would you recommend to help students with learning challenges with homework?

A Top 10 list that can save lives!


Computer generated image with text TOP 10

A TOP 10 list that can save lives! I hope that you decided to read past the title because you are a fan of David Letterman’s famous TOP 10 lists.  All kidding aside, I really am hoping that I piqued your interest because you are curious about the last part of the title – “save lives”

It is no secret that much of what as I do in media is examine topics related to communication, education, and safety.  I often have penned blogs spotlighting disaster preparedness and response, often citing personal experiences. In fact, earlier this week I re-posted an article giving general resources to help families in the event of a disaster.  I had written that article shortly after visiting many areas in Oklahoma – from cities to rural areas – that were devastated following a series of tornadoes in 2013.

Read My tour of Moore, Oklahoma

In addition, I have been involved with several specific media campaigns that focus on helping families and schools to be prepared for disasters, including earthquakes.  Currently, I am a member of a social media team that supports ShakeOut – the world’s largest earthquake drill.  ShakeOut is much more than a practice drill as it entails an  interactive educational component that is dedicated to increasing awareness about how to prepare for earthquakes. ShakeOut spotlights teaching how people should  DROP – COVER and HOLD ON when an earthquake happens. At first, this three-step protocol surprised me! I thought if an earthquake happened I should run to a doorway and stand.  I also recalled believing that it would be best to run outside away from buildings. (I am fairly certain I am not alone in assuming this was the correct procedure and am glad that I have been corrected in my thinking!)  But, thanks to  ShakeOut and their considerable due diligence of garnering information from rescue teams, there is much available information and instruction on the best practices for earthquake safety.

Why shouldn’t we run to door jams or outside during an earthquake? 

Official rescue teams who have been dispatched to the scene of earthquakes and other disasters around the world continue to advocate use of the internationally recognized “Drop, Cover and Hold On” protocol to protect lives during earthquakes: 

  • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),
  • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and 
  • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

If there isn’t a table or desk near you, drop to the ground in an inside corner of the building and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms. Do not try to run to another room just to get under a table.

Read more about DROP – COVER and HOLD ON!, including what to do if you are not able to take cover, are in a wheelchair or other special circumstances. (For me, it was interesting to learn what to do if in a stadium during a sporting event!) 

Recommended Earthquake Actionsdropcoverholdon_re copy

Special Note: Mark your calendars for the 2015 ShakeOut drill: October 15th at 10:15 a.m. 

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I have spent considerable time perusing the ShakeOut site and I came across some great features that I thought would be of interest to families, homeschooler and educators.  Here is my list of the ShakeOut “Top 10”!

#10- REGISTER  your family, business, school, organization or individuals for the ShakeOut drill via this LINK.  When you are all finished with the very fast registration process let others know by clicking the social media platform share buttons.

Note: Fans of social media don’t miss the weekly Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety  chats by following on Twitter @ShakeOut

#9- Play BEAT THE QUAKE – a game that uses loads of action and interesting questions to spark the interest of any child or adults who are kids at heart.

Go to ShakeOut.org and find the Beat the Quake link on the right column

#8- What’s in your disaster kit?

Do you have a disaster preparedness kit?  Does it include all the essentials that are recommended by disaster preparedness specialists, such as the Red Cross and Earthquake Country Alliance.  

List of supplies for your earthquake disaster kit. 

Don’t forget to add the whistle!

#7. Let others know you are safe!

An app made available by the Red Cross allows you to communicate to loved ones that you are safe or in need of assistance during the “after” stage of an earthquake.  (Note: Similar apps also are available for other disasters such as Hurricane or Tornados)  Click here for information about the Red Cross App. (The image below also will take you to the Safe and Well Website.)

Red Cross

#6. Materials for Schools/ Educators  .  Teachers don’t miss this opportunity for a  “learning moment” contrasting the reality of actual earthquakes with the fiction presented in the 2015 Summer movie San Andreas. While entertaining, San Andreas was largely a fictionalized version of the “real deal”.  To highlight the salient facts, the Earthquake Country Alliance has made available this movie parody and supplemental materials that clearly explain the fact vs. fiction about earthquakes in a child – friendly and  entertaining manner! Both the image and this link will take you to the movie!

Seven_Steps_To_Earthquake_Movie_Safety

#5. Materials to help businesses owners  prepare and learn what to do if an earthquake happens (including in the recovery phase). Note: Don’t miss the Seven Steps to an Earthquake Resilient Business

#4. Key Earthquake Safety Tips for People with Disabilities and Other Access or Functional Needs (Regular readers of this blog will know that this is a subject near and dear to my heart)  Read these materials and much more here

Previous blog: Disaster Safety Tips for Families with Special Needs 

#3. In fact, there are so many other resources that I would need to make a Top 20 list! Note: the resources are downloadable and are visually very attractive for posting. Consider laminating if you work or live with young children.

Go to resource page

#2. Don’t speak English? No worries. The ShakeOut site is also in Spanish.

Drum Roll…

#1: Share YOUR ShakeOut with a photo or story!

Here is link to upload your story or picture! How fun is this feature?!

But wait there is a bonus to the Top 10 list!

Want to follow some fun social media posts? Simply track the hashtags #ShakeOut and #DropCoverHoldOn. You never know which friends of Where Learning Meets Laughter will be posting!  Feel free to tag me in your post as @LouiseASL (Twitter) or @LouiseMasinSattler (Instagram).

AND…I just uploaded the FAMILY and SCHOOL DISASTER RESOURCE PAGE on this blog. Please add to the comment section any additional resources you feel would be helpful within our communities to keep all safe!

Dropping popcorn in striped classic package.

In closing, it is now time for popcorn as here is a great video clip to watch and share with others!

Qubits – a unique and creative toy for children and adults! #STEM


CIsrSgPXAAArnprAbout a month ago I spotted on my Twitter-stream a photograph of a young boy who had created a bicycle using a toy called Qubits. (I took the liberty to crop the photo to disguise the identity of the young lad).  At first the boy reminded me of a little boy I worked with more than two decades ago who had developmental delays and significant visual impairments. While it was the boy who caught my interest in the photo, it was the bicycle he made from plastic shapes that piqued my curiosity!  Within minutes I was engaging online with @Qubits_Toy and learning more about this real product for learning that is the brainchild of  Mark and Lisa Burginger.

As a School Psychologist who has worked years within the realm of special education, I asked the creators if they wouldn’t mind sending to me a set of Qubits for closer inspection and review.  So, thank you to the Burgingers for satiating my curiosity and sending to me a lovely pack of Qubits who has made “snap happy” for several days!

The first thing that struck me about Qubits was its’ many educational applications.  For example, the toy itself could help with the development of visual motor planning, organizational and processing skills.  Advocates of STEM  will love that this toy incorporates fundamental concepts necessary for the foundations needed for careers such as engineering or architecture.

Learn about STEM education?

The basic pack I received came with scores of brightly colored shapes that snapped and connected together.  Frankly, I could have played with them for hours! I also couldn’t help but think that Qubits may not be “just for kids” as it could be of great value for occupational therapists working with adults.  Imagine seniors who are having memory / dementia issues being occupied by this stimulating product.  And while this product may be similar to Legos because they both are toys that “connect” and are made of plastic, I truly think they are complimentary and not competitors.

Today, I had the pleasure of talking to one of my favorite toy store owners.  She was searching for any games or toys that a child with visual impairments could play without supervision or help from someone with sight.  I immediately answered, “Qubits!” 

I connected with Mark Burginger and asked him questions about the development, marketing and future of his company.

Q1- What inspired you to start Qubits? 

The California school system cut art/design/music in the 90’s, so Lisa and I would occasionally volunteer at the local elementary school for free to soften the lack of these classes – Well at that time I had already designed this geometric shape that I developed during my college architecture days, anyway we looked at it (the Modular Form Building Element – patented) and we thought it would make a good concept for a creative children’s construction toy. A toy that would introduce kids to art/design while they played at home.

 Q2- What is your background?

 Lisa is a graduate from a Fashion/Design College in NY 

Mark is an architect registered in the State of California

 Q3- How do you envision this toy for children with special needs?

 We have visited autism schools, gifted schools, charter schools with special needs, Christian schools and Chabad schools. We are currently trying to arrange for a presentation at the Florida School for the Blind. Each time we do this we find that the challenges presented by Qubits helps kids focus on problem solving their geometric design. The time spent carefully positioning pieces allows many kids to “chill out” from the activities that over stimulate them such as video games.

 Q4- What is your next project for the company?

Video, we have not captured the essence of Qubits in a video yet. It’s a tough task since we value childrens privacy and rarely bring a camera into the play area while we are working with Qubits.

 

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Q5- How do you market Qubits

We pay for the display of millions those little click ads you see on web sites, via Amazon – thousands of people click on them and hundreds buy each month. We are just now reaching out to the small speciality stores that are just now rebuilding themselves after the severe recession.

Q6- Do you work with educators?

 Yes since 2007 we have visited close to a 70 different schools, libraries, street fairs, after school facilities, childrens day care facilities, hospitals and museums. Have entertained over a 2 thousand of kids in the process. A middle school teacher introduced us to STEM back in 2007 and we have focused on it ever since.

 Q7- Anything else to share?

 We are proud that we were awarded the Chase Bank Mission Main Street Grant during the year 2014, with that award we have been able to spend more quality time on the improvement of our toy. We have worked hard to produce this toy right here in the USA and we hope that we can market it correctly and grow our company and improve our brand.

 BRAVO Mark and Lisa!
Qubits can be purchased direct from the website here
Disclaimer:  I received a free set of Qubits to be reviewed.  It will be donated to a young family who I know will enjoy it immensely!

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


louisesattler:

An update of my 2013 post with additional resources

Originally posted on Where Learning MEETS Laughter...:

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.

Yahoo News Photo, May 20, 2013 Yahoo News Photo, May 20, 2013

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…

View original 264 more words

NEW Early Brain Development Box Set – Perfect for Parents and Educators!


NEW Early Development Brain Insights Box Set

There are a number of professionals who are dedicated to early childhood brain development.  Deborah McNelis, founder and owner of BrainInsights is one of my favorites!  Not only does she have a wealth of experience with how children grow, feel and behave – but she has been a well sought after speaker and entrepreneur for years. That is why when her latest product – the NEW Early Brain Development Box Set was delivered to my door this past week, I leapt at the chance of reviewing it and sharing it with readers.

Deborah has been known for her creation of  user friendly cards that are chocked full of ideas and activities for people who live with, care for and love young children.  This new box set is full of bright photos adorning cards with amazing ideas for engagement and learning.  Each one is meant to stimulate developmental milestones including socialization, motor development, communication and skills needed as building blocks for formal learning situations. The unique aspect of this set is that the cards  are written as if from the perspective of the child.  Give Me, Show Me, Cheer with Me and etc.

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As a School Psychologist who works with training staff on developmental and educational issues, I found that this product aligned nicely with Early Head Start and Head Start goals.   There is enough involved with this product to make anyone who specializes in child development or pediatric neuro-psychology happily satisfied.

I had an opportunity to ask Deborah what was her main objectives with her latest addition to her already successful product line. She replied: The main point I am trying to promote is that this set is ideal for parenting programs, teachers, homevisitors, therapists, and pediatricians. It makes it very easy and affordable for them to provide insights and ideas to parents, if they can’t afford to provide brain packets for each family.”

I would have to agree, at under $50 for the ENTIRE set this is almost a “steal”.  I would deem the NEW Early Brain Development Box set perfect as a baby gift or an addition to any early childhood centers or schools.

Pre-order information can be found here:  BrainInsightsOnline

Note: I received a set of cards gratis from my colleague via 411 Voices, Deborah McNelis. They were donated to a young family following the completion of this blog.

What Can I Do with a Degree in Psychology?


The Class of 2015 recently crossed the podium to receive their degrees in venues that were filled with proud parents, amazing keynote speakers and scores of hopeful graduates. While many may have already secured jobs or slots in graduate schools, a fair number are unsure of their “next steps”.  Many of those who are in limbo have completed coursework and earned a degree in Psychology.  These alumni are able to converse about human behavior, statistics and learning theory, however, are sans prospects for employment. What to do once you have obtained a degree in Psychology and have no immediate plans for graduate school? To answer this question we first will need to ask a few more.

Examine the Big Why? Why did you study Psychology? What was your vision for the future when you first entered your freshman Psychology 101 class?

Many people enter the field of Psychology because they have an interest in what makes people “tick”.  They are people watchers who can view groups or individuals at hours on end.  Fascinated by a child’s play or perhaps arguments among couples, the student of psychological behavior enjoys being a voyeur of the human element.

Each person has what I like to call the Big Why. It is what inspires you. Your passion.  What keeps you studying when you rather be out with friends.

My catalyst for becoming a Psychologist was when I read Virginia Axline’s book, DIBS, In Search of Self.  This book about an Autistic child and play therapy piqued my interest regarding a single topic in a way that I had never experienced before. I delved in to the stacks of my hometown library to read everything I could find on the subjects of play therapy, autism and psychology. By the time I had exhausted all available resources I knew for certain what would be my career path.  I had discovered my Big Why.

Read more about the life of Virginia Axline and play therapy 

While many, like myself, enjoy interpersonal relationships and social engagement, there are those interested in the field of Psychology, but, prefer to keep their days within a laboratory setting. While not for me I have met many who are more enamored with psychology as a research science vs. a social science.

If you are interested in Psychology be sure to ask what is your Big Why? Do note that we all have the right to change our minds.  Maybe studying Psychology wasn’t what you expected and now you need to modify your course and forge ahead by looking for your next vocation. Consider interning, finding a mentor or becoming a volunteer as you learn about other professions. In my opinion, it is great to pursue what you feel passionate about as long as it provides you with a stable income.

 Find out what are the most popular college majors

What is stopping you from going to graduate school and continuing in the field of Psychology?

Many people are just tired of studying.  The thought of one more book, one more test, or one more term paper makes some want to scream.  If you are a Psychology major and have lost interest in studying but the profession, then take some time off to recharge and rejuvenate.  Consider becoming a “shadow” to several people who are employed as Psychologists (or in related fields).  Sample the various occupations that utilize the skills you have learned and figure out what you need to acquire.  Don’t let being tired now be the excuse that hinders you from a successful future.

If it is a financial concern, consider seeking counsel by college coaches who know about scholarships, grants and much more. Jodi Okun, founder and owner of  College Financial Advisors conducts a weekly Twitter chat – #CollegeCash – that is chocked full of information for anyone seeking the 411 about  resources on career, financing graduate school and overall college planning.

Have you thought out of the box?

Perhaps you can use your degree to work in a field that uses “people skills” but doesn’t need graduate school.  Sales and marketing careers are dependent on good interpersonal skills, as is the travel and hospitality industries.  Education also is a option and if traditional graduate programs in Psychology are not your “cup of tea” then consider becoming a School Psychologist.  This is one field where there is more demand than supply, especially in larger states such as California.

Learn about School Psychology via NASP

The online gaming industry also uses people and analytic skills – both that are stressed in Psychology coursework. This industry is growing by leaps and bounds with many openings cropping up on job boards nationwide.

How to find a job in online gaming, travel, sales, etc?  When seeking a job in Psychology be sure to first update your social media profiles (including securing your privacy settings on anything you don’t want a future employer to know about you.)  Linkedin, Indeed and other career sites have a plethora of online job listings.  I recommend to job seekers to splurge for the premium Linkedin membership during your job search. Uploading profiles on multiple sites widens the possibilities of being seen by potential employers. Don’t forget to highlight your talents. Speak a second language? Be sure to add that to your profile! A whiz in social media or computer programming? Add that, too!

Also don’t forget that  there is a lot to be said about a career in the armed forces.  While not a first choice for some, the military has proven to be an excellent career choice for many.

In closing, while studying Psychology has been thought to be a stepping stone to graduate school and a career as a Psychologist, it doesn’t have to be the only choice.  With a little creative thinking and flexibility you will find an occupation that fulfills you. Good luck!

Are you a #SocialGoodBlogger?


social good blog

I recently was referred to by a potential client as “One of those mommy bloggers”.  It made me take pause for more than a moment before I replied,”What!?”  (It also crossed my mind that perhaps in this person’s opinion “mommy bloggers” were less credible than any other type of blogger and not worthy of doing business.)

When our conversation was over I started to wonder about all the women I know who are great mom bloggers. They are dynamic, smart women and many are amazing entrepreneurs, as well.  However, unlike many of my friends and colleagues who are mom bloggers, my blog doesn’t seem to fit in to this “traditional”  category.

So, now I need to figure out if I am not a “mom blogger” then what kind of blogger am I?

Education blogger?  Lifestyle blogger?  Random thoughts blogger? Other?

Then it dawned on me that perhaps, I am a  “Social good blogger”.  I would like to think that I am someone who dedicates much of her time writing about causes and events that help others. My intent has been to make connections and create a safe virtual environment where people can share, learn and laugh.  Most of all, I hope that my blog inspires others to help within their own communities.

I am not sure if “social good blogger” is a real blogging category. What do you think? And, let me know if you consider yourself also to be a “social good blogger” by commenting below or simply tweeting me (@LouiseASL) with the hashtag #SocialGoodBlogger. This way we can connect!

~Have a groovy week and may our virtual paths cross soon!

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