Thursday, April 15, 2010

Who will be on Learning and Laughter in April- May 2010- How about Great Women and we have AMERICAN IDOLS, too!!

Who will be our special guests on Learning and Laughter with Louise? Where can you learn more about our guests?

First- check out the details on

Here is the April- May 2010 list! Listen LIVE- Podcast- iTunes! And of course, info will be HERE, too!!

April 21st- We are privileged to have Maimah Karmo talk with us about the topic of breast health. Learn how you can be educated, supported or become an advocate. Maimah Karmo has a wonderful group called the

April 28th- We have immensely popular author, Annie Fox in the house! Annie is the writer of many books for tweens and teens- including my personal fave - MIDDLE SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL ( I love the WHOLE SERIES- genius!)

May 5th- Alison Rhodes will be chatting summer safety, negotiating special education as a parent, and so much more. Alison is a great person and someone who I am proud to call friend. She always is one who talks from her heart. Join us for this special and very personal hour.

May 12th- My gal-pal- Hilary Bilbrey is joining the show. We are going to talk about a multitude of topics- including Hilary's brainchild businesses. I just love her dedication to helping others learn about keeping children safe.

May 19th- AMERICAN IDOLS. That's right we will have AMERICAN IDOLS from previous seasons on our shows ALL WEEK! (Not only here on Learning and Laughter!) My guests (confirmed) are John Stevens, Scott MacIntyre and Becky O'Donohue.

May 26th- WOW- you'll love Wendy Young and her Kidlutions. Call in with questions or send them to me in advance to ask Wendy those "hard to parent" questions.

We will post June in a couple of weeks!
Also, don't forget to become a fan of WE WANT MY DEAF FAMILY on TELVISION! Check out the pilot on YouTube, too!!

By Hilary Bilbrey-

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Are YOU on a "Trip To Holland"?

This is a post that has appeared on numerous special education, parenting and family blogs.  I am often cited for it or receive requests to repost.

Enjoy and if you want to share your experiences with being on a Trip To Holland, by all means leave them here.

Also, this article is dedicated to our son, Seth- who taught us long ago that Holland is simply beautiful!

Are you on a "Trip to Holland?"

Submitted by Louise Sattler
The poem written by Emily Perl Kingsley was cut out and pasted on refrigerator from February of 1992 until we moved to a new home in 1995. It was titled, “ Welcome to Holland”.  In essence, it was a snapshot of what it is like to being unprepared when you give birth to a child who has challenges, such as medical or cognitive disabilities.

Louise Sattler: author and speaker.
There is one section of the poem that I read over and over again, “After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."   "Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy." But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.”
My husband and I wanted to go to Italy and ended up in Holland on February 7, 1992.  I should have known that our trip to second time parenthood would be bumpy as we were told that our second born was to be a girl.   “Two girls, so nice”, my OB-GYN told me.  Guess what, we had the first boy born in 28 years in my family when he arrived via emergency c-section.  Not breathing right.  Sugar too low, heartbeat too high.  I could already feel the “plane veer” off course.
Days later we were allowed to go home only to notice that our little “fella” was turning the color of a Sunkist orange.  Not good.  Not good at all.  Rushed back to the hospital to be told it was simple “jaundice”.  Nope, nothing in the child’s life would be simple, I found out. Days go on and before the first actual tulip bloomed that year we were in intensive care with our young guy.  Jaundice ended up to be a “liver problem” - not yet determined, but possibly very serious and could lead to severe retardation.  Respiratory syncytial virus/ RSV nearly claimed his life.  Reflux choked him every third breath.  Our nightmare continued.  You know you have a very sick baby when you can’t find room in the isolated PICU suite because of the number of doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists working with your child to keep him alive.  You also know your baby is very ill when the nurses come and ask you questions such as, ‘Is there anyone we can call for you?”  Does God have a hotline, I wonder?
For any new parent who has a baby you know this is the worst part of the scenario- waiting.   You wait to see if the tests are positive for illnesses that are unimaginable.  You wait to see if the insurance will cover the rare and complicated blood work, machines that are helping your child stay alive or special therapy sessions ordered.  You wait to see if you will ever have a “normal” life again for yourself, your family, your work, etc.  Will your child walk, talk, eat normally, have friends, etc.? You begin truly begin to hate Holland.
Then little by little the wait can end.  Test results come back.   Therapies begin.  Hospitalizations end and you go home.  But, for many of us, this is when you start a new journey in to the realm of Special Education.  Here is the most ironic part of this story and the reason I am writing it for this blog.  I am a special educator.  I am a full fledge, certified School Psychologist that is trained with helping parents and children with special needs.  All my training flies out the window as   my mind is trying to process the months of evaluations, reports and recommendations from specialists.   Ironic indeed.  I have now changed teams!  Instead of being the intervention specialist I now am the one calling our local school district asking for help from the Early Intervention Team!   And I am so grateful when they appear at my door. But, I still have problems with paperwork and understanding all the information.  How can this be?  I do this job everyday and I am still wading through it because my head is so full of grief and confusion.  The team helps me. Everyday gets a little better. Clarity arrives with every meeting or visit from a team member. Family members come on board to help.  We get it through it.
Now fast- forward, our son improves with therapy as he starts to talk, walk (actually run) and become quite sociable.  He has more hospital visits but he is deemed fairly healthy.  His liver has a benign disorder and we are told that he shouldn’t go without food or enter in to the military.  We can live with those two stipulations to have a benign liver disorder vs. the alternatives.
I also become a much better psychologist.  Often I go to our refrigerator and I read Welcome to Holland.  As I do I imagine my own fears, but also the see the faces and hear the sad, confused and sometimes hopeful voices of countless parents and children I have worked with in the past. I am a better person because I stopped in Holland than Italy.
As for the little “fella”, he is applying to colleges now. He has had his challenges, but nothing we couldn’t handle without the help of school and healthcare professionals.
And guess where he suggested we go on summer vacation this year?  Holland.  Well, I’ll be!

ABOUT the Author:
Louise is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP), owner of Signing Families™, writer for the JustAsk forum and host of her own radio show, Learning and Laughter with Louise.

Louise resides in Central Maryland with her amazing family - hubby, Marc and two adult kids- Seth and Natasha!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Join the Campaign to Bring- MY DEAF FAMILY- to television

It would be great to have a deaf family and American Sign Language portrayed on television for ALL to view and enjoy!

Marlee Matlin once again is bringing the need for deaf entertainment and equal access in the spotlight.  She has championed for closed captioning to be on all TV sets sold in the United States and now she wants to highlight how YouTube can have immediate closed captioning services available.

Here is more info and the sites for you to peruse.  Would love your comments!  Here is the pilot of MY DEAF FAMILY

Here is a great story explaining why this seminole program could be so important to all:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Knowledge Safari and KidQuest-TV- two great websites!

Learning and Laughter with Louise- Wednesday, April 7th show-  On part of the HerInsight Network!

I love innovation!  Which is why I picked for this weeks show two great companies and their websites to spotlight-  Knowledge Safari and KidQuest- TV!

Knowledge Safari  is a great website for people who who live or work with individuals with special needs.  In addition, you can read or add reviews of products, restaurants, businesses and so much more.  Marci Hersh will be joining us for the first half of our show.  She would love to connect with you, learn more about Knowledge Safari and help YOU to network with others!  Call in your questions and comments on Wednesday, April 7th at 9am EST - 1-877-864-4869 is my second highlighted website.  What are cool kids doing?  Riding hot air balloons? Raising hawks or falcons?  Well, Robert Marshall captures great kids doing amazing things!  He should know a good story when he sees it as this group owns two Emmy Awards and have been Parent's Choice Gold Award!  

presented on

Tweet our guests, too:  @KnowledgeSafari and @KidQuestTV


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Welcome! Like many, I wear a lot of different 'hats' - Psychologist - Entrepreneur (Signing Families) - Disaster Preparedness Trainer - Educational Consultant and Social Media Expert via 411 VOICES.

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