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A story without words

A story without words.

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A story without words

English: "American Sign Language" in...

English: “American Sign Language” in SignWriting. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ha! Guess you thought this would be an empty blog. Is it possible to tell a story without words? Some people believe a picture paints a thousand words but the story  would be derive from the viewer’s own experiences. So back to the question, can you tell a story without words? Yes.

The most beautiful and detailed stories can be told without a single spoken word. I have been blessed over the years to work with the deaf. If you have never experienced a deaf storytelling event then you have missed out on one of the most incredible events of your life time. A good deaf story-teller doesn’t require those present to know sign language. Their body and motions engulf you in the moment transporting you to places that only a deaf storyteller can.

Sign language is a beautiful language. It truly is a language, not a few short hand signals that make up a sentence. Just like us Southerners, when certain deaf chat, they have their own short cuts. If you have ever heard Jeff Foxworthy, then you know what I mean. Southerners have a way of condensing  sentences to a mess of vowel sounding representations for various phrases. I cannot even begin to attempt to spell it. I urge everyone to take the challenge to learn a few signs so if you meet up with a deaf person you can at least have a conversation. Plus, there are many benefits to learning sign that you can use daily.

Did you know that babies can sign as early as 6 months? An infant can be taught to sign some basic signs starting at birth. I have seen 6 to 8 month olds asking for food, acknowledging pain, and even using the sign for mom and dad long before they say their first words. Babies who sign early are less frustrated, same can be said for the parents. Trying to figure out why a baby is crying is quite a task for some. It also helps develop a part of the brain which gives a child a boost later in life. Only positive gains in teaching your infant to sign.

Kids with learning challenges can learn to sign to boost spelling and reading.  Learning the sign language alphabet and using it to study spelling words has shown to improve struggling spellers. I have had personal experience with this  as a special education teacher, as a parent of a child with challenges, and for me personally.

I need to note there are various types of signing. Signed Exact English has a sign for every word and follows the same grammar rules as we speak.  American Sign Language which has its own syntax and grammar rules.  Some folks simply gesture as a means of signing. A good resource about signing can be found below in the links.

Some people think that sign language cannot be in written form but that is not correct. The picture on this blog is how SignWriting would write “American Sign Language” in  form that deaf and hearing alike can understand. Please check out the site for more information. Once you learn the basic symbols you will find it is very easy to understand. Often facial inflections and other body motions are left off when people are being taught ASL, but with SignWriting, it captures it all. I found using SignWriting an easier way to pick up the signs because it is exactly the way the sign should be. Yes, even the deaf and those that sign  can be what I call, “whiny signers” or “fast flyers.” Either they are sloppy and floppy or their hands fly so fast it is nearly impossible to understand them. Hmmm, the same as with speaking, some are just a challenge to understand. It is best to be very clear in your signing because there is a slight twist in some of the signs for naughty words. Many are often very close to commonly used signs. Many deaf youngsters will use this against newbies to signing so let this be a warning.

You can never go wrong with learning a new language. The benefits of signing reach far beyond what you might think. Give it a try!


Let’s take a stroll in the moonlight!

Never let the darkness and unseen stop you from discovering dreams

Have you ever taken a midnight stroll on the beach? Ever wonder about all the things happening below the surface? My imagination runs wild! Yes, my thoughts still wander to mermaids, pirates, and other mystical creatures.

The beach is not in my back yard but I often step out at night to inhale the fresh air and let my mind wander a bit as I gaze into the woods. I can hear lots of sounds but see very little. My mind takes awesome adventures as I sit and let my imagination run wild.

Take those impossible crazy ideas and make them a reality. Dream big, dream wild, dream of the what-ifs and the never -befores. Let your mind escape the bright lights, cubicles, business meetings, and travel through the darkness to unseen places that spark your inner spirit to move. The key there is “move.” Go beyond the sitting stage; move to make the impossible possible. Look around you now. See all those things filling your space? Someone had to have taken a stroll one night and dreamed a crazy idea…. then made a move to make it real.

I dare you to stroll in the moonlight to catch a dream and bring it ashore. It is ok to start small. The more you explore the more you can pull from to create. This time, let go of the shark like focus and sail like a dolphin or swim like a mermaid to find your treasure in the darkness and unknow….it is waiting for you.

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Shark like focus- they Never stop swimmng

 Did you know that sharks never stop moving? It is a must for their survival. In many species of sharks if they stop moving their systems shut down.

Some people are like sharks, if they stop moving their focus shuts down. I am one of those sorts. My office/craft room is full of things I use to help me focus. Movement keeps my brain active and actually sparks creativity for me. I am known to carry”hand fidgets” with me at meetings or other events that involve long periods of sitting still.

SO, what is a “hand fidget,” you ask? A variety of objects as simple as a rubber band you can stretch and pop to slinky toys.  Anything you can move about in your hand that causes a reaction to calm or to stimulate alertness can be considered a hand fidget. Occupational therapist use them all the time. Most of us have invented our own types of hand fidgets just using various common office supplies.

How many of you have hooked paper clips together or bounced your pencil on your desk while trying to figure out a problem? I think most of us have. This movement helps us to focus or to calm our minds so we concentrate.

As you see the in picture I have several objects such as a shell, my favorite eye-glowing shark, a flower, and a jewel. These are things that I often pick up and fiddle with while I am trying to work on an art project or ….develop my blog. This goes to show that you do not have to buy expensive hand fidgets. Look around to see what catches your fantasy. Take note of what you subconsciously start playing with while working on something that requires lots of concentration.

Try a google search to see what other hand fidgets are out there if you feel the need for something more therapeutic . Some of us shark folks need a lot of ways to “keep moving” so we can keep producing as well as staying focused.

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Focus like a SHARK – Get the image

Creative Tidal Wave Muse

What’s the difference between a plain fish bowl and an aquarium? COLOR and lots of movement!! Another helpful hint to staying alert is to increase the visuals. For many of us out there we need some color and movement to keep our attention. If you look around an office space full of cubicles, the most productive sorts have well decorated spaces. Classrooms with colorful boards and mobiles attract more attention from students, parents, and administrators, as well.

Fill your space with solar bobble heads that move or other items that are changing such as small digital picture frames. Bright cheerful colors will help perk your mood. Fill your space with visual delights to keep from drifting off. When planning meetings, review the Powerpoints and handouts. Make them visually interesting instead of dull and plain.

For those who are in hyper mind mode and need to focus, try pastel colors. Blues and greens, with floral or landscapes can help you find your focus.

Play around with the color schemes and themes to find your visual boosters.

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Shark Like Focus… to the music

Have you ever noticed how music can change your mood? If you have one of those out-of-sorts sort of days, try changing the tune with music.

If you are lagging in energy, up the beat. A good peppy beat can get the brain back up rocking once again. Find your style and turn up the dial. You might try a flash back to tunes you loved “back in the day.” Happy beats from the past can trigger a happy focus.

Distracted because your mind is wandering all over the place? Try some classics. Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven, these guys can get your brain waves from frantic to calm. So the big oldies are not to your liking? Try a slower pace alternative rock. Search the airwaves or your music collection for easy-going tunes that have a calming effect and watch the smooth tones tune your brain into a slow groove.

If the words and melodies are causing you some distraction, try “white noise.” A room fan, the static on the radio, or some dull constant that drowns out all the other beeps, bumps, and thuds from the office that might keep you from focusing on an important task. Sound machines that create rain and ocean wave sounds are also a great choice if this is the sort of sound you need to help keep the brain in the groove.

Hope you can find your brain solution while surfing some of these possible solutions!

Did you know that edibles can help you focus? Check in tomorrow for some tasty treats that can help you perform at your peak.

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Shark like focus

Have you ever found your mind wandering when you should be focused on a task? Have you ever noticed what other people are doing during long boring meetings to keep their focus? There are options that can help you gain that focus during meetings and frustrating tasks.

As adults, we have many options. No one stays perfectly still during long drawn out meetings. People play with their pens, doodle, chew gum, have some sort of drink with them, or are moving some body part in a not so obvious way such as swinging their feet. When working on a project in the office, people often listen to music, have their coffee, snack on crunchy foods, etc. Everyone has some sort of tricks they use, most people of not aware that they are doing these things to full fill a sensory need to help them focus and stay alert. It is a subconscious thing that comes natural to many folks.

If you are a person with ADHD or ADD, or just have problems focusing, it might be that your subconscious is not kicking in these ideas. My personal belief is that if you did not have a good sense of your own body and what comforts you at a young age then these subconscious stabilizers were not developed. We live in a rushed world where parents often use the television and food as comforting devices instead of helping a child find their own more natural versions. Unfortunately, students do not have the same options as adults though if you pay close attention, the teacher is doing those things so she/he can stay alert. As a former teacher and consultant, I found if students with distraction problems were taught how to find their focus helps and allowed to use them, not abuse the privilege, then behaviors went down and grades went up. Teachers, parents, and students all developed a much happier outlook on school once the right fit and cooperation in trying new ways to reduce the behaviors and increase the attention span.

So, what are some of these ideas? Some might sound a bit odd but then again, I urge you to try some to see how they might work for you. Please note that everyone is different and may not respond to every one of these. It does take some time for some to work, others might find instant awareness. All of the ideas are based upon sensory awareness. This involves visual, auditory, oral, smell, and physical options which trigger your body to respond to alertness and focus.

Today I would like to focus on using various smells  to increase alertness.  Citrus is a scent that causes your brain to perk up. Cut in to a lemon or an orange. How does that make you feel? It definitely doesn’t make you sleepy. Anything from the mint family adds that extra punch you need to stay awake. Do you remember the York Peppermint candy commercials? They played upon that idea. The smell of coffee also has triggers a response in the brain. Have you ever noticed how the old pine cleaners made you suddenly take notice and feel a bit more alert?

Spend some time this week discovering what smells make you perk up and others that make you calm down. You will be surprised with all the various things around you that are subconsciously controlling your moods.

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Welcome to Creative Tidal Wave- Surfing for Solutions!

Are you sinking in a sea of impossibilities? Do you feel like a fish out of the water? Well, Creative Tidal Wave is here to wash away the “im” and make your life swimming with “possibilities.”  Sometimes life seems a bit of a struggle when you face challenges be they physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. This a place to discover alternatives so you can sail smoothly through the once  troubling seas.

Hi! I’m Donna, and I want to take you on a journey to discover a new way of looking at, dealing with, and working through those troubled storms you might faced as you sail thought life. I am a creative, an artist, an educator, a mother, and a person who has successfully guided many people with learning and personal challenges via the arts and sensory integration techniques. Now I want to branch out beyond the “four walls” into a space where I can share my secrets, tips, and guidance from over twenty years of experience  in special education and advocacy. Yes, I have learning challenges, as well as being a parent of a child who has risen above the challenges that were once told to us would be impossible to overcome.  The fleet of success is setting sail out in search of others who are stranded needing some creative solutions.

Some ideas are as simple as chewing gum to help improve your focus. Sometimes we may need to take a longer sail to discover why your “anchor” is stuck or the reason you may be drifting when you need to be anchored in port.

As you can tell I am crazy about the ocean theme. The beach is a calming and inspirational place for me. It reminds me of how life often like an ocean. On the surface it can seem one way but if you dive in deep there is a whole other world of incredible things hidden from view. I believe we all have lots of hidden treasures that were left untapped during our formative years or an unexpected hurricane ripped through which changed everything so you have to rebuild. But, deep down in the depths still lurks those wonders if discovered can bring new life and hope once brought to the surface. No one is like the Titanic which must remain in the watery tomb. We all have the ability to rise above and rediscover new ways of living, all you have to do is believe.

Please check in from time to time. If you have a particular interest or need, please let me know so I can see what wonders I can pull from the treasure chest of ideas and tips.

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