#WorldMSDay is May 27, 2015


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Tomorrow is a day to focus on Multiple Sclerosis– the disease most commonly known as “MS”.  It will be a day for us to applaud researchers, doctors, and organizations who dedicated themselves to helping those with the disease by seeking cures and advancements with treatments.  Moreover, we will honor those with MS who fight the disease daily, their families and friends.

Please go to this blog for resources about MS.

Thank you.

Just wait 15 minutes


After a very busy week, Hubby and I  decided to have a relaxing dinner with a friend.  Little did we know that our meal would come with a spectacular “show” –  compliments of “Mother Nature”.  Enjoy the beauty of Southern California where the slightest change in weather is considered a huge “event”.  These photos were taken over a time span of 45 minutes. A new “scene” every 15 minutes!

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We adopted a teen mom – of eight puppies! #DogAdoption




Meet Bayla Scout Sattler

Meet Bayla Scout Sattler

Each year thousands and thousands of dogs are placed in shelters for a variety of reasons.  Some owners cite allergies while others indicate their dogs have behavioral problems – regardless the  number of canines that are “given up” is astounding.  Over the past few months I have visited a number of shelters in the Southern California region.  It had been years since I walked in to a shelter as we had stopped fostering and adopting dogs once we had welcomed Bingo and Tess in to our home.  Now that Tess is a senior and Bingo has passed, it seemed the right time to add to our family and save the life of a furry friend.  First stop the Devore Shelter in San Bernardino County.  I had heard about this shelter as having a “high kill rate”.  I have been following the Friends of Freddie Facebook group dedicated to broadcasting the shelter’s daily list of available dogs. They also posted those with sadder outcomes with captions reading “RIP”.

This pup was already amassing a lot of interest by the time we arrived.  Adopted out asap!

This pup was already amassing a lot of interest by the time we arrived. Adopted out asap!

One day I spotted on their Friends of Freddie Facebook wall a photo post of a little black and tan shepherd puppy.  The Facebook followers were certain that the puppy would be a “goner” so off I drove with hubby for nearly two hours to come upon one of the saddest shelters I have ever seen.  After walking up and down I decided the puppy wasn’t a good fit for a variety of reasons. It  obviously was a dog that had a lot of interest – and indeed was adopted out the very day it was able to be released from the shelter.  As for the other dogs sitting in the over two dozen kennels- many who were pit bulls or seniors of mixed breed – it would be hard to say if they all found homes or were at least had their care sponsored. Unable to handle a dog as strong as a pit bull, mastiff or doberman – we drove home sans a dog. But, we made sure that we left a donation – to help sponsor care for those who didn’t have a list of potential adopters – like the little shepherd we came to see.

Next stop was a much nicer, cleaner, and amiable shelter in San Pedro via the LA County system.  There I spotted an adorable dachshund mix.   But again- a lot of interest and it seemed he wanted to be an “only dog”.

Third time is the charm…

Cute little dachshund who preferred to be an only dog in the home.

Cute little dachshund mix who preferred to be an only dog in the home.

For many years I have seen comfort dogs that help children and adults post- disaster work magic! I have longed to adopt a dog that could become a comfort dog to those who need to feel safe and emotionally more stable when their world is topsy – turvy. Hence the reason I started to search direct my search for breeds that would be people friendly and could deal with a little “stress”.  Via PetFinder I spotted Sparky and the Gang / West Coast Animal Rescue from Long Beach, California. They had a dog that was purportedly a retriever mix, but had survived one of the worst cases of malnutrition I had ever seen.  Off I went (again) to visit this survivor only to spot in a nearby kennel a young rhodesian ridgeback- shepherd mix that had just weaned eight puppies. Yes, I said eight.

All the pups were quickly adopted and little “Annie” was left alone in a kennel that once housed nine.  When I passed her she rolled over – did a little wiggle and seemed to be quite the energetic little gal.  After a nice time playing and snuggling in the yard I was in love.

It was love at first sight!

It was love at first sight!

“Annie” was to become Bayla (Hebrew for beautiful) and with not much issue settled in to our home. Quiet as a mouse not a peep for five days.  She was fine in a crate, walked well on a leash and seemed to be getting along fairly well with Tess. Then all hell broke out on Day 6!  OMG – she became a teen-age dog overnight! Chewing shoes, bouncing like a kangaroo, barking like a crazy dog and gulping her food as if there was no tomorrow. Plus, she went from docile Bayla to a prize fighter in a blink! What on earth happened!?!

Quickly I searched “what to do with dog aggressive and food aggressive teen/ young adult dogs”. So much advice so I took a step back and decided to “see life her way”. First, she was a stray in Mexico and a young mom.  Then was an empty nester before she even was an adult! Finally she lands in a home where she has everything she would want except for a lot of limits. Unsure of herself – she is testing her boundaries and trying to be the one in charge.  Our mission – to make sure she understands that this home has a hierarchy and she is not the Queen! Secondly, she needed to feel safe, secure and that we weren’t going to “dump her” – as we suspect had been the case before.

Daily walks, quiet voices and lots of rewards at intermittent times (yes I used people psychology on her!) – she seems to be going in the right direction.

Always watchful and that toy in the photo didn't last the day this photo was taken!

Always watchful and that toy in the photo didn’t last the day this photo was taken!

So, while we are now in “Operation Bayla” in order to seek some peace in our home – I would like to open up this blog for any helpful hints, discussion or words of encouragement.

In the meantime – we are sure progress will continue to be made as she already has come so far in such a short amount of time.  Thanks to social media I have found some wonderful resources and even plan on taking her to a group doggie trot where guidance for dogs and their humans is given!

And please remember – adopt, don’t shop – there are too many shelters full of dogs (and other animals)  that need homes.

Here are some of the scores of dogs that are available for adoption via the West Coast Animal Rescue.  Please note that they are available the date of this post and you should check out this link for updates and to obtain information about adoption or fostering.

Thanks for reading!

~Louise

Update:

The  Campaign continues – Imagining a Better World please check out this amazing story of human survival

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Who is Nelly Toll and why is her story important?


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There are many paths to becoming an art therapist or counselor.  As a School Psychologist I have heard many accounts about why people have chosen these fields of study and practice. So, when I learned  about Nelly Toll – an art therapist AND a counselor who works with victims of violence –  I was a bit taken aback. You see her biography reads like a book of fiction as  Nelly was a  counselor who as a child had survived the most harrowing of times.  An artist who used her limitless imagination while forced in to isolation.  A survivor of one of the worst atrocities to befall the human race – the Nazi era and WWII.  A child who was with her mother was forced in to hiding for two years until she was able to safely get passage to the United States.  And now the newest addition to my list of heroes.

I have raised two creative kids – and I could not fathom either or both of them in seclusion – quietly – for two years.  But, that is what Nelly Toll purportedly did.  She used the deep burrows of her imagination to create a world of wonderment and normalcy in a world that made absolutely no sense to any adult – let alone an eight year old. She painted with watercolors on bits of paper and now her creations are telling a story that gives hope and inspiration to many.

While I have known for decades about the story of Anne Frank, I am embarrassed to say this month is the first I have heard of Nelly Toll.  So to get up to speed I did a bit of research and found this awesome website with learning tools for teachers. For Judaica teachers this would be a treasure trove full of information that gives balance to the story of the Holocaust – Shoah.

Also, there are efforts to bring Nelly’s story as a documentary.  IMAGINING A BETTER WORLD, The Nelly Toll Story is a film that will be made shortly about how this young girl was able to be so resilient. Now this young lady holds a doctorate, campaigns for anti – bullying programs and is a sought after speaker.

Here is how the filmmakers describe their project:

In this exclusive one-hour documentary, the viewer will travel with Nelly through her two worlds, as she leaps into her bright future, escaping her present living hell. Vérité cinematography and rare archival footage will be combined with visually stunning 2D & 3D animation of Nelly’s watercolor paintings.  Virtual reality recreations will amplify the telling of Nelly’s time in hiding and her inspirational career as a teacher, counselor and art therapist after the War.

Follow the ongoing news about the Nelly Toll Story – Imagining a Better World via TWITTER @NellyTollStory

The Race is ON! Time to #EraseMS


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FACT: Multiple Sclerosis aka MS is a serious neurological disorder.  A disease that has impacted hundreds of thousands, if not millions – worldwide.  For many the first symptoms seem akin to a case of the flu – for others much more severe and acute. Visual problems, difficulty with motoric skills- including walking, vertigo, muscle spasms, tingling of  the extremities, depressive thoughts, headaches all can be “first signs”.  Often striking those in the prime of their lives – 20- 30- 40 years of age and both males and females alike. A friend of mine recently reminded me that nearly everyone is touched by this disease. Whether a family member, school teacher or perhaps a social media acquaintance- this disease knows no limits, demographic boundaries or socio-economic parameters.

How to is the diagnosis made?

Note no single test can be definitive with diagnosing MS.  Many MS informational websites indicate that commonly an MRI, intensive physical exam, lab chemistries, and a “spinal tap” (lumbar puncture to evaluate the cerebral spinal fluid) are ordered to see if the brain has altered severely and is now demonstrating evidence of  the tell – tale signs of MS -damage / changes of the myelin in the brain. (Google search)

Current efforts being made

I know several people who have MS.  I have seen up close and personal their bravery and how they fight the disease while still trying to have a semblance of normalcy in their lives. This week I will honor my friends by dedicating my time as a social media correspondent for the Race to Erase MS fundraiser gala.  It will be my privliege to support the efforts of Nancy Davis, founder of the Race to Erase MS and so many others associated with this organization.  It is all of our hopes that someday soon we will erase multiple sclerosis from the present and put it where it belongs- in the medical history books.

Watch Jack Osborne, who has been impacted by MS in this PSA via EraseMS.org

One of the most interesting pieces of the information I found in my preparation for this article is that the Race to Erase MS organization is focused on research, treatment and medical advancements via their  Center Without Walls.  Monies donated to Race to Erase MS have allowed physicians from all across the United States to be able to work in cooperation in order to understand better this disease. In addition, they have achieved break- throughs which have resulted in advanced treatments for MS patients.

From the EraseMS.org website this quote seemed to be one of hope and demonstrate the “why” behind this organization:

The landscape of MS…There are now nine drugs with FDA approval to help stop the progression of MS and three more coming out in the very near future. The future is bright for the person being diagnosed today with multiple sclerosis.

How to support Race to Erase MS or learn more about current research efforts?

 See the watch on the top of this article?  This can be YOURS (or other groovy items) from their store. Shopping not your style?  Then check out the other ways you can help or simply share their information to educate others about MS.

Or… simply dedicate a second to TWEET support for the Race to Erase MS efforts! Please use the hashtag #EraseMS in your tweet!

Thank you!

~Louise

#TXTGen – when one single text…


Louise Sattler:

I have added an update inviting people interested in having real conversations about #Sexting and #Teens #Tweens to join in the #TXTGenChat via TWITTER – April 8, 2015 8p Eastern

Originally posted on Where Learning MEETS Laughter...:

UPDATE: 

For those of you who are interested in a serious conversation about sexting and teens/ tweens- please join us on TWITTER APRIL 8, 2015 at 8p Eastern Time and 5p Pacific Time.  Use the HASHTAG #TXTGenCHAT

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS PROJECT, #TXTGen – the movie-  CAN BE FOUND HERE: http://bit.ly/1DvTQy8 

Looking to have the movie shown at your site?  Comment below

Thank you ….

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Imagine finding out that a text was received by your daughter from one of her male schoolmates – of his penis.

She is horrified.  Embarrassed.  Bewildered.

And eleven years old.

Now imagine being the parents of this 11 year old who find out about this incident several months later.  What do you do to help your daughter? What should the school do since it happened on their campus?  How do you transform your anger and negative feelings about this incident in to something positive?

Meet…

View original 226 more words

#TXTGen – when one single text…


UPDATE: 

For those of you who are interested in a serious conversation about sexting and teens/ tweens- please join us on TWITTER APRIL 8, 2015 at 8p Eastern Time and 5p Pacific Time.  Use the HASHTAG #TXTGenCHAT

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS PROJECT, #TXTGen – the movie-  CAN BE FOUND HERE: http://bit.ly/1DvTQy8 

Looking to have the movie shown at your site?  Comment below

Thank you ….

11052233_421604668009116_3414763666851397504_n

Imagine finding out that a text was received by your daughter from one of her male schoolmates – of his penis.

She is horrified.  Embarrassed.  Bewildered.

And eleven years old.

Now imagine being the parents of this 11 year old who find out about this incident several months later.  What do you do to help your daughter? What should the school do since it happened on their campus?  How do you transform your anger and negative feelings about this incident in to something positive?

Meet the Setla Family – who decided that the serious matters of cyber – bullying and sexting was a discussion that needed to go much farther than their kitchen table and in  fact, in to the homes of tweens and teens – globally.

 The “mission” for this family was clear- create a film and a series of educational materials  that  would address these topics and could be available for school and home viewing.  I applaud the efforts of the Setla family and Ted’s media colleagues, all who have come together to create – #TXTGen

I have known Ted Setla for many years and agreed to help him with this film on many different levels.  Starting with this invitation to all of you …  Please accept this invite to  join the filmmakers, including Ted Setla – the dad of this true story, to a TWEETCHAT   thisWednesday – April 8th  – #TXTGen 

 Hosted by 411 Voices Influential Network and Setla Films

Beginning this Wednesday at 8pET,  5p PT

Please follow the hashtag on TWITTER for  #TXTGen

and

@Setla for Setla Films (host)

@411Voices (co – host)

@Teeco71 (moderator)

and me @LouiseASL  (moderator)

Learn more about #TXTGen- the film via their
Learn how to support this film via this website

and please let others now… about this very important topic that faces many families today. Thank you!  Louise

Coming soon – ASL videos to learn signs for travel!


Travel Sign Language - coming soon

Each year Signing Families, the company I founded nearly a decade ago, adds new videos to our free online catalog available on YouTube.   This year we are creating more sign language videos dedicated to the topic of travel!  Learn signs for countries, ways to travel and more! 

This series of videos will be focused on helping novice and intermediate sign language learners acquire basic vocabulary. Also, intended for those in hospitality management who may wish to learn how to communicate with Deaf patrons.

In addition, we will add information about Deaf travel opportunities. (Did you know that there are specific tour companies dedicated to travel with Deaf clientele?)

If you have a Deaf owned travel company or any other suggestions about this series- please comment below!

Thanks!

~Louise

Employment Opportunities – Get your resume ready!


WORK copyright SigningFamilies.com

Sign for WORK – click wrists together 2X
copyright SigningFamilies.com

In the past few weeks I have received a bit of information regarding employers seeking employees! I thought that some of you may be interested in looking at these positions. Some utilize the skills of actors while others are seeking educators, tech and biz folks or even consultants.  I thought I would take a few moments to simply list what they are and how you can connect!  (Don’t contact with me as I am just a conduit of information and have nothing to do with any part of the process.)

>> Children of  a Lesser God is coming back to Broadway! While the principal cast may already be casted – there is information to be found about additional roles (and when it opens in NYC) by clicking here

>> Houghton Mifflin and Harcourt has posted dozens and dozens of positions nation and world wide! From business to educators to web design.   Link is here

ALSO…  if you complete the process please let them know I sent you! (Greatly appreciate it as I do work as a consultant for this terrific organization.) 

>>School Psychologists and Educational Consultants needed around the country.  I found this opportunity to be one of interest for those who like to travel! via DeSalvo Inchttp://bsdesalvoinc.com

GOOD LUCK!!

Note – this is just because I like to share and be helpful.  Please do your due diligence before applying to any of these positions! 

Dear Burlington County Times,


I wanted to write this blog as a way to say thank you for posting the recent letter to the editor titled, “Signing Specialists are a Distraction”.  Not only was your post from Mr. Muccolini a real “discussion starter” about the role of American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, but also generated thoughts about all the rights we have as Americans.

You see by posting Mr. Muccolini’s rant, albeit in my opinion narrow minded and a few other choice adjectives, it demonstrated that we have an amazing right  in the United States for freedom of speech.  This right has been one of the backbones of our country and often valued above others.  Blood has been shed to uphold this freedom and I for one am thankful for the right to speak my mind.

I also thank you for the opportunity to shine a spotlight on another set of rights known as  the American Disabilities Act aka ADA. (Please go here to fully see them outlined)  Ahhhh…. this is where I get to be an educator and discuss how important these rights are for ALL.  It seems perfectly logical that the right to information meant  for the general public is one equally valued and needed by both hearing and deaf.  So, I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around anyone who suggests that the right to a sign language interpreter, used to ensure equal access of pertinent safety information,  is a “distraction”.

In fact, I challenge any hearing person who doubts the value of the ADA laws to walk around with noise cancellation ear muffs and see how much of what is being said  can be understood.  Accept my challenge for an hour, a day,  or a week.  Were you feeling “left out”, “ignored”, “uninformed”, etc?  Perhaps after this exercise it will seem as clear as crystal why the Deaf may need to have access to interpreters.  And, do note that not all people with hearing challenges require the same accommodations.  Just as those with visual acuity problems don’t require the same extent of corrective lenses, etc.

Next  I offer to  people who think that “sign specialists” are nothing more than a nuisance another  challenge to learn about the hard work it takes to become a certified interpreter. In fact, it requires just as much college experience to be a certified ASL interpreter as it does to become a chemical engineer.  A four year degree and several exams later this “sign specialist” is allowed to “leave the box” and be a conduit of information for those who need this assistance. (Learn more about sign language  interpreters here at RID – the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.

And, I challenge those who doubt the effectiveness and need for ASL interpreters to chat with those who needed them when their lives were disrupted by disasters.  These victims of disasters are in towns all around America.  In Joplin, Missouri, throughout Oklahoma, Northern California, and even near Burlington. Remember Superstorm Sandy?   It is because of ADA laws that interpreters can be readily available to any of our  community members who need their service. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that some people who are hearing, but have some communication challenges, may also require the assistance of an interpreter to facilitate communication.

You see, this is my field of expertise – helping build communication bridges between community members, including emergency responders, and those who use sign language as their primary language.  I have seen the faces of those who are thankful for  interpreters who have helped in the aftermath of a disaster. These interpreters often leave their own families to help others. They should be applauded for their dedication and commitment.

Why as a hearing woman do I write this note to you?  First understand that I proudly sit on several committees that help with disaster preparedness and response for those with access and functional needs. It is my passion to do so.  I welcome an opportunity to share educational resources with those who are in need of some enlightenment about the reasons why ASL interpreters are essential to our communities.  After all, ASL is in the top five of the most used languages in the United States.

Thank you for reminding us that our rights as Americans are to be treasured and that we still have so much to learn as a country about equality.

Lastly, thank you for allowing me to exercise my right to freedom of speech.

Respectfully submitted,

Louise Masin Sattler, Nationally Certified School Psychologist

SigningFamilies.com

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