Tag: First Responders

The Signing Families Mini-Emergency Communication Chart – For When Time Counts! (ASL- English – Spanish – Chinese)

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

Reflections and Lessons: #NeverForget is the hashtag – but have we?

I write this with a heart that is still so heavy with sadness for those who have lost their loved ones as a result of the terrorist acts on September 11th. Yet, I wonder if others are thinking of today more as “Football Sunday” vs. a day of remembrance? Have we forgotten about how we all promised to “come together”, “help each other” and #NeverForget the lessons of September 11, 2001?


Little child crying with tear on face

Too close to home. San Bernardino is too close to home.  

As a psychologist and the owner of an educational company that focuses on matters of communication and safety, I have trained First Responders on how to engage and communicate with those who have unique circumstances – such as Autism or Deafness. I have trained thousands of emergency responders how to help evacuate people who don’t communicate verbally, use sign language or don’t speak English as their first language. Most of the practice scenarios were in case of an earthquake. tornado or vehicular accident.

But yesterday it wasn’t a practice scenario. It wasn’t a workshop video.

Yesterday it was REAL LIFE.

 Real people. Real suffering. Real blood. Real tears. 

Yet unreal.  Surreal.

 While my eyes were affixed on CNN and the reporters – I couldn’t help but notice the people in the background. The First Responders I trained were there. On TV.  Helping so many of the helpless who had been shot by two or more assailants. There they – my students –  evacuating those with functional needs and their caretakers. WOW!

Everything seemed to be going according to protocol.  I was so impressed!

But then I realized that there was a question gnawing at me.

WHY did the First Responders have to practice what they learned at all?

Oh wait… let me answer my own question…

First – We don’t address mental health needs in this country. We often have programs in place that are less than effective. We don’t staff mental health centers with enough service providers. We often don’t use multi-modal treatment plans. We don’t have enough resources to help those who need help. Ask anyone who works in public mental health if they have enough of what they need to help their clients and I bet they say. “no”.

Secondly – We have easy access to guns and copious amounts of ammunition. Please don’t quote me the right to bear arms stuff. I know all of that. Any 8th grader who has taken an exam on the US history knows that. What I am asking is WHY do we need to have as many guns in homes as we have cars? Why don’t we have stricter laws about guns? Why can’t we find a solution vs. spinning our proverbial wheels about guns?


Lastly – We don’t teach people in life that disappointment is part of LIFE and not a reason TO TAKE A LIFE.
So a HUGE thank you to ALL First Responders who risk their lives everyday. And to their families who know that when the alarm sounds their loved one is going towards the disaster vs. away.

Now folks- let’s stop talking and start doing! Demand constructive changes that SAVE LIVES.  Let San Bernardino not be another example of the “new normal”.

Enough is enough!


Welcome to the NEWLY UPDATED SigningFamilies.com

In 2006 I officially launched SigningFamilies.com. Since that time we added to the website and revised it several times. TODAY, I am proud to announce the official launch of SigningFamilies.com with a fresh and sleek new look! (And to match we changed our WORDPRESS theme, too!)

WHY? Over the years my focus has expanded. I use to be one of the many “baby sign language’ companies out there, although I took a more developmental psychology approach with our DVD and courses aimed at teaching language models. Of course, we also offered programs and products for people who wanted to learn the basics of sign language.

However, it became more and more important to me to provide quality information, workshops and affordable products to not only parents, but to many other groups, too!

First Responders, Community Responders (CERT), Law Enforcement and EMS (including Fire Departments). I totally admire the work of our emergency and disaster response providers and it is a privilege each and every time I speak to these brave and dedicated organizations. Thank you all.

Educators. I recognize that educators work in a variety of milieus- including as home educators / homeschool teachers. I appreciate that teachers are in need of affordable and accessible materials as they often need to shoulder the responsibility of purchasing classroom materials themselves. Therefore, I try to offer many items, such as YouTube videos, FREE and communication charts, inexpensively.

Dear First Responders, THANK YOU!


These events and so many more are why we all need to take a minute to thank the FIRST RESPONDERS in our community. From Police to Fire Fighters to Emergency Medical Personnel including EMTs on the scene to Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) to Comfort Dog Associations the American Red Cross and to so many others….

Disaster Preparedness for Special Populations

Hurricane Sandy is expected to make landfall over a large area of the east coast this weekend. Disaster Preparedness is essential, especially with special needs children and adults. A post written by Louise Sattler, Psychologist and trainer of First Responders for Disaster Preparedness.

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