Good Use of Media

Jan
23
2014

Alexandra Cassel

I like to call it the “quarter-life crisis”. Out of college & in the “real world” for a few years, and suddenly panicking about whether the job you have now – the one you worked so hard in high school and college to land – will lead to a fulfilling and gratifying life-long career.

Studying towards my Masters in Developmental Psych. at Teachers College, Columbia U., I was certain that my passion was to work with children in some capacity, but I found myself at a crossroads, with 2 outstanding career opportunities – a very fortunate “problem” to have! Children’s Media or Speech and Language Therapy? Although they seem like wildly different professions, they are actually quite intertwined.

Exposed to several Language Development & Speech Therapy courses in my program at Teachers College, I decided to explore the SLP profession in the actual field. I was privileged to meet with Speech & Language Therapist, Lauren Turk, M.S., CCC-SLP, who kindly allowed me to shadow a few of her therapy sessions in school settings.

Ranging in ages from 3-16 years, and with a variety of different speech & language disorders, her clients did have 1 important aspect in common: the comforting & motivating environment that Lauren carefully established. It was inspiring to see how a speech therapist can really make an impact on a child to live a better, more fulfilled life.

TherapyfindRThere has been a greater awareness about the importance of early identification of speech, language, swallowing & hearing disorders in young children, but people may not necessarily know who to approach, or how and when to get treatment. Luckily, Lauren Turk has devised a new website, TherapyfindR, which enables parents to search for qualified therapists by zip code. Search results display profiles of therapists with their personal description, credentials & specialty so the family can carefully select the therapist that is right for them. The site is a FREE service to help you find the right therapist for your child’s unique situation and needs.

 

Daniel TigerAs for me, I simply could not leave the children’s media world (Have you seen how cute that Daniel Tiger is??). My work as Associate Producer at Out of the Blue enables me to enrich children’s lives, & particularly their communication skills, in a slightly different way, but I feel that my (brief) exposure to the SLP career has shaped the way I view educational children’s television: While I feel I am able to reach and make an impact on many more kids at once, it is important to keep in mind that each and every child behind the screen has distinctive strengths & weaknesses and comes from a unique family & school environment.

 

Thanks again to Lauren Turk for opening my eyes to the significant field of SLP, and make sure to check out her new site at www.TherapyFindR.com!

 

Alexandra Cassel is Associate Producer at Out of the Blue Enterprises, LLC. She is completing her M.A. in Developmental Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. Alexandra received her B.A. in Psychology and Media Studies from Colgate University.
Nov
13
2013
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Good Use of Media, Stuff We Love

I know, I know. When you blog, 1 of the top Golden SEO Rules of Social Media is DO NOT EVER leave your post.

I left my post..

as it wondered “Where is she?” in my absence.

Nothing scheduled..

no new interactions to be had..

(insert maternal guilt here)

Yes, we’re all busy..but..but

I know. Excuses are like smiles..everyone’s got one.

 

So I’ll spare you the excuses and leave you with a few photos to fill you in on what we’ve been up to over the past month. Ughh! Has it truly been that long?!

Who knows..perhaps we’ll have a lengthier post about one or two of them down the road?

I really am a good friend..no, really.

Daniel Tiger castDaniel Tiger’s Neighborhood cast party in Toronto with Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood’s Addison Holley (Miss Elania), Jake Beale (Daniel Tiger), Amariah Faulkner (Katerina Kittycat) and Stuart Ralston (O the Owl).

HalloweenHalloween traditions continue with Auntie extraordinaire, Dr Aunt Alice!

DailyShow

The Daily Show‘s Jason Jones and Samantha Bee took time out of their busy schedules to lay down some vocals for us. The best :) :) voice over team in the business! Our incredible Executive Producer, Wendy Harris, is always there to assist.

 

iQSmartParent

I hosted another episode of WQED’s iQ: smart parent (Tots & Tech) which explored current research & practical considerations of exposing children to media during the early childhood years. Our next show will be Nov 19th if you’d like to attend our live taping.

 

Creative Galaxy animatic

Amazon Studio’s Creative Galaxy is becoming more creative every day..

CGip

 ..and it’s oh so scrumptious!!

JoanRogers

Mister Rogers’ wife, Joanne, finally got to meet my hubbie & one of my daughters at The New School’s CREATIVITY & THERAPY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, a tribute to Mister Rogers. I was honored to be on their panel that evening.

 

Jason Priestly
..and I essentially became “besties” with this, Jason Priestly, guy. I see potential there.
But honestly..thank you Jason, for getting involved in a project for your kids & for being a fan of my shows.

And thanks again for your patience everyone!

xo

Angela

Sep
18
2013
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Good Use of Media, Stuff We Love, Super Why!
Truglio

Dr Alice Wilder, Dr Rosemarie Truglio & Angela Santomero

Many years ago, armed with the mission to change kids media, I attended Columbia University’s Teacher’s College. Pursuing a master’s degree in child development and psychology, with a specialty in instructional media & technology, I was fortunate to have Dr. Rosemarie Truglio as my advisor.

Dr Truglio informed me about the incredible research on children and television, as well as how to maximize the creative to teach.  She gave me the confidence to write my first show, The Magic Library, which transformed into PBS’ Super Why!.

UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS

Last night I attended a reception in NYC which honored Dr. Rosemarie T. Truglio with the University of Kansas’ 2013-2014 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Dr Rosemarie is now the senior vice president of education and research at Sesame Workshop. She is responsible for the development of the curriculum on which “Sesame Street” is based, and she oversees all educational research pertaining to the development of “Sesame Street” content.SANTOMERO & TRUGLIO

I am honored to be one of Dr Truglio’s many accomplishments!  Congratulations on last night’s Distinguished Alumni Award award and thank you, Rosemarie, for your brilliance, support and most of all, your friendship.

Aug
01
2013
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Good Use of Media, Kids, My Projects
Wishenpoof
Amazon Studios made the announcement yesterday that they greenlit our preschool series Wishenpoof!, along with four other kids’ show pilots.
Amazon Studios
I have to tell you that this little story has been inside my head since I was a little girl. I loved any well written, ‘magical’ book series and always wondered what it would be like if you were able to make the unimaginable happen!

 

I’ve always wanted to write for a strong female lead character who is smart, funny, caring and PROUD to be a bit girly.

 

photo: Sex & the CityDo you ever notice that “tutus” and “brains” rarely go together?

When I first saw Carrie Bradshaw working it in a tutu and writing her column, I thought – see!  There it is!  A strong, smart girly girl…

So thanks to Amazon Studios, Wishenpoof’s Bianca is our gal.

Yes, the show involves much problem solving, empathy and techniques which aid in effective decision making, but Bianca’s also adorable, fun and funny, loves adventure and well..can make anyone’s WISHES come true.

How fun am I having making this one???  SO MUCH FUN!!

More info to come!

 

related press links on yesterday’s Wishenpoof! announcement:
Hollywood Reporter
Angela's Clues
LA Times
Jun
26
2013
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Good Use of Media, Kids, Parenting, Super Why!

Super Why Fan - Cole

Meet four year old Cole, undoubtedly one of Super Why‘s BIGGEST fans. When he was a year old, Cole was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.

His Dad, Adam, recently told us:

“When Cole was introduced to Super Why at 6 months old, it had been the only TV show my wife would let him watch regularly because of the positive messages it brought across for our son..

Your show has made some tough times in our house more simple..The smile on his face when he hears the opening song come on or from hearing a character’s voice is priceless. If he’s not in a very good mood or crying, instantly his attitude & personality changes.

Cole - Super Why Fan

For that, I say THANK YOU”

Adam & his wife Jennifer would love for more of the public to understand that special needs children have so very much to offer. In fact, Cole has taken some time out of his day to do some modeling and he can be seen in the Toys R Us “Differently Abled” catalog.

Thank you Adam & Jennifer for your message and especially your pictures of Cole.

Enjoy the ride Cole & we expect to see big things from you!

 

“A quarter of U.S. households have a member with special needs. More than 8% of kids under 15 have a disability, and half of those are deemed severe” -Jeff Howe/CNN Money
 
 
Jun
10
2013
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Good Use of Media

To me, Maurice Sendak exemplified that talented artist who chose to transform his difficulties into fun and wonder.

ALL of us have varying degrees of misfortune in our lives that could negatively alter who we become. The question is,

What do we do with the dark & uncomfortable moments in our lives that show us their terrible claws?

Many of us linger on these moments. Allowing them to create anger and bitterness, which undoubtedly trickle down to those around us. Mr. Sendak CHOSE to redirect his misfortune, so that it would serve as fuel to share his creativity with millions of readers, young and old.

 

Maurice Sendak would have been 84 years old today. He died last year, an hour from my home, but his fanciful characters and worlds will continue to live on. Thank you Google for honoring him in today’s Google Doodle.

illustrator: Andy Marlette

illustrator: Andy Marlette

 

May
07
2013
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Good Use of Media, Parenting

The Anti-Romantic Child

1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (CDC). When a mother’s expecting her first child, how are her expectations & hopes affected when she learns that such statistics will rapidly affect her new life?

I recently spoke with Priscilla Gilman, author of the acclaimed memoir The Anti-Romantic Child: A Story of Unexpected Joy (Harper), a beautiful exploration of our hopes and expectations for our children, our families, and ourselves, & the ways in which experiences may lead us to re-imagine them. Gilman reveals her journey through crisis to joy, illuminating the flourishing of life that occurs when we embrace the unexpected.

I truly appreciate her time speaking with us. Priscilla also has agreed to give one of our readers a FREE signed copy of The Anti-Romantic Child: A Story of Unexpected Joy. Further details will be at the end of this post.

 

Tell us about becoming a mom. How did it change you?

Oh, in so many ways!! Becoming a mother, especially a mother of 2 children with special needs (autism & dyslexia), has made me a much more patient, accepting, & compassionate person. It’s made me less fearful, judgmental, & less concerned about others’ opinions of me. I’m much less perfectionistic & much more open to experience. Having children has humbled me, surprised me, upset every expectation I had for the way my life was going to turn out, & allowed me to bloom into the person I was meant to be: a writer, a teacher, & an advocate for children, for literature and the arts..& for all people who don’t fit easily into boxes and are a little “different”.

Was there a specific experience that inspired you to write?

My book evolved organically out of talks I gave to parents, daycare providers, & teachers beginning in 2003, about a year after we discovered that our older son, Benj, had a rare disorder called hyperlexia. A few years later, I shared all these talks with my dear friend from Yale graduate school who was now a literary agent, and with her encouragement & guidance, I combined them into one cohesive article, which she submitted to numerous magazines and newspapers in 2007. When everyone passed on the article, my agent friend suggested that the material might be a book instead!

What were some of the challenges you encountered while writing the book?

Priscilla Gilman

1 big challenge was that the subject of my book was continually changing, growing, evolving, & that the story was ongoing! The other challenge was telling the truth while being kind, in particular when writing about the disintegration of my first marriage.

What have you learned since writing the book & talking to your readers?

What I thought was a very private & personal story has a universal resonance. There are so many gorgeous souls & good people in this world. That sharing, commiserating, empathizing, & connecting rather than withholding, judging, competing, & distancing are what make our lives meaningful & valuable.

I know you have reached a lot of moms with your story. What are some gratifying responses you’ve received?

Here’s an amazing letter I got about a month ago:

“I have to say that if it weren’t for your book, your beautiful writing attached to all of the personal experience I never would have made it through that 1st year. I have gone back & read the book about 10 times now. It is a book that changed my life forever…it was through reading your book that led me to take Jackson to a Developmental Pediatrician & Psychiatrist. If I would have just listened to our pediatrician & early intervention therapist who knows where he (or I) would be!

I can’t thank you enough for this book…I feel as though it could be our family you are writing about. Jackson has made me a better mother, daughter, wife and friend. I actually do stop and “smell the roses” because of Jackson. He has shown me that beautiful things reveal themselves when you take your time and have to wait patiently for them. I had to wait 3 years for him to address me as “mommy” & it was like the most beautiful symphony I had ever heard. I still love hearing his voice call me mommy.

Thank you Priscilla for your wonderful gift, you & Benj will always be like those beloved characters we never forget from our most favorite books.”

(continue..)

I know that you and I share a love of Fred Rogers. Can you talk about why he means so much to you?

Fred Rogers was not only a calm, caring, wise, steady presence in innumerable children’s lives; he was also a wildly inventive, funny & magical being. There’s a scene in my book that describes the overwhelming sense of grief I experienced when I learned of Mr Rogers’ death. I write: “As children, my sister & I had adored the gentle, compassionate Mr. Rogers & the whimsical imaginative world he created. Watching him again with Benj, I’d newly appreciated how ahead of his time he was in his emphasis on emotional intelligence & his respect for the uniqueness of each individual child.” He exemplified everything I think is most important in approaching, teaching, and working with children.

I also recently did an interview with the Fred Rogers Company about their new DVD to help children with autism & their caregivers. If I had to pick the greatest influence on me as far as being an advocate for children goes, it would unquestionably be Mr. Rogers.

Who else inspires you?

My children inspire me immeasurably, every single day. My new husband (I got remarried in Feb ’12) inspires me with his dedication to teaching music to young children in a diverse, urban public school. Those who’ve taught or been therapists for my children inspire me with their ingenuity, compassion, patience, & commitment to making young children’s lives richer and more fulfilling. Growing up in the 70s & 80s, my greatest heroes and inspirations included John Lennon, Amelia Earhart, Helen Keller, Fred Rogers, and Jim Henson. The late, great Levon Helm, whom I got to know personally during the last years of his life, for his extraordinary musicianship, his grit and grace, his exuberance and humility. I think what ties all of these figures together are joy, generosity of spirit, commitment to helping and uplifting others, open-heartedness, and authenticity.

AntiRomaticChild

What one piece of advice would you give every new parent?

I always warn my friends about to have babies that the 1st weeks are incredibly difficult & grueling and advise them not to become disheartened or blame themselves if they are not instantly in love with parenting. Beyond that, my best advice for all parents is to make every effort to see & understand. Embrace & cherish the child they actually have, in all his or her intricate complexity & uniqueness. Find the strengths in your child, because every child has them, & use those strengths to help in areas of challenge. Love your children fiercely & advocate for them tirelessly. Teach them how to love fiercely & advocate for themselves.

What are some of your family’s favorite books, movies, and television shows?

I’ve got two boys, 14 & 10, and now a 10 year old stepdaughter, so finding things that please everyone, including the adults, is a bit of a challenge!
Here are some that have worked especially well!

Books:

  • The Wizard of Oz series
  • The Paddington Bear series
  • The Phantom Tollbooth
  • The Westing Game
  • Miss Happiness and Miss Flower
  • The Dollhouse
  • Little Plum

Movies:

  • The Black Stallion
  • The Muppet Movie
  • West Side Story
  • Fly Away Home
  • Oklahoma
  • Meet me in St. Louis
  • To Catch a Thief

Television Shows:

  • American Ninja Warrior (even my stepdaughter!)
  • The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew shows from the 1970′s (with my childhood crush Sean Cassidy)
  • Sesame Street
  • Electric Company
  • Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
  • The Brady Bunch

We would like to give away a FREE signed copy of Priscilla Gilman‘s book,The Anti-Romantic Child: A Story of Unexpected Joyto an Angela’s Clues’ Facebook Fan!

To enter this giveaway simply (1) LIKE my Facebook page and (2) SHARE Priscilla Gilman’s post (via Facebook) with a friend! Winner will be chosen at random, on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at noon.

 

The Anti-Romantic Child was excerpted in Newsweek and featured on the cover of its international edition, The Anti-Romantic Child is an NPR Books Must-Read list, Slate’s Book of the Week, and selected as one of the Best Books by both WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show & The Chicago Tribune. It was also awarded the Mom’s Choice Gold Award, honoring the best in family-friendly media & literature.

Priscilla Gilman received her B.A. summa cum laude & with Exceptional Distinction in English and her Ph.D. in English & American literature from Yale University. She was an English professor at both Yale & Vassar before leaving academia in 2006. With the publication of The Anti-Romantic Child in 2011, Gilman became a full-time author, speaker, & innovative teacher. She now writes regularly about autism, special needs children, parenting, education, & literature for The Daily Beast, NY Times, Chicago Tribune, MORE magazine, & Huff Post Parents. She blogs at www.priscillagilman.com & maintains a very active Facebook page. The NY Times published her op-ed, “Don’t Blame Autism for Newtown,” which was the #1 most emailed article on the NY Times site for the following day & has been extensively disseminated via social media. 

Priscilla lives in New York City with her family.

 

May
07
2013
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Good Use of Media, Parenting

The Anti-Romantic Child

1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (CDC). When a mother’s expecting her first child, how are her expectations & hopes affected when she learns that such statistics will rapidly affect her new life?

I recently spoke with Priscilla Gilman, author of the acclaimed memoir The Anti-Romantic Child: A Story of Unexpected Joy (Harper), a beautiful exploration of our hopes and expectations for our children, our families, and ourselves, & the ways in which experiences may lead us to re-imagine them. Gilman reveals her journey through crisis to joy, illuminating the flourishing of life that occurs when we embrace the unexpected. 

I truly appreciate her time speaking with us. Priscilla also has agreed to give one of our readers a FREE signed copy of The Anti-Romantic Child: A Story of Unexpected Joy. Further details will be at the conclusion of this post.

 

Tell us about becoming a mom. How did it change you?

Oh, in so many ways!! Becoming a mother, especially a mother of 2 children with special needs (autism & dyslexia), has made me a much more patient, accepting, & compassionate person. It’s made me less fearful, judgmental, & less concerned about others’ opinions of me. I’m much less perfectionistic & much more open to experience. Having children has humbled me, surprised me, upset every expectation I had for the way my life was going to turn out, & allowed me to bloom into the person I was meant to be: a writer, a teacher, & an advocate for children, for literature and the arts..& for all people who don’t fit easily into boxes and are a little “different”.

Was there a specific experience that inspired you to write?

My book evolved organically out of talks I gave to parents, daycare providers, & teachers beginning in 2003, about a year after we discovered that our older son, Benj, had a rare disorder called hyperlexia. A few years later, I shared all these talks with my dear friend from Yale graduate school who was now a literary agent, and with her encouragement & guidance, I combined them into one cohesive article, which she submitted to numerous magazines and newspapers in 2007. When everyone passed on the article, my agent friend suggested that the material might be a book instead!

What were some of the challenges you encountered while writing the book?

Priscilla Gilman

1 big challenge was that the subject of my book was continually changing, growing, evolving, & that the story was ongoing! The other challenge was telling the truth while being kind, in particular when writing about the disintegration of my first marriage.

What have you learned since writing the book & talking to your readers?

What I thought was a very private & personal story has a universal resonance. There are so many gorgeous souls & good people in this world. That sharing, commiserating, empathizing, & connecting rather than withholding, judging, competing, & distancing are what make our lives meaningful & valuable.

I know you have reached a lot of moms with your story. What are some gratifying responses you’ve received?

Here’s an amazing letter I got about a month ago:

“I have to say that if it weren’t for your book, your beautiful writing attached to all of the personal experience I never would have made it through that 1st year. I have gone back & read the book about 10 times now. It is a book that changed my life forever…it was through reading your book that led me to take Jackson to a Developmental Pediatrician & Psychiatrist. If I would have just listened to our pediatrician & early intervention therapist who knows where he (or I) would be!

I can’t thank you enough for this book…I feel as though it could be our family you are writing about. Jackson has made me a better mother, daughter, wife and friend. I actually do stop and “smell the roses” because of Jackson. He has shown me that beautiful things reveal themselves when you take your time and have to wait patiently for them. I had to wait 3 years for him to address me as “mommy” & it was like the most beautiful symphony I had ever heard. I still love hearing his voice call me mommy.

Thank you Priscilla for your wonderful gift, you & Benj will always be like those beloved characters we never forget from our most favorite books.”

I know that you and I share a love of Fred Rogers. Can you talk about why he means so much to you?

Fred Rogers was not only a calm, caring, wise, steady presence in innumerable children’s lives; he was also a wildly inventive, funny & magical being. There’s a scene in my book that describes the overwhelming sense of grief I experienced when I learned of Mr Rogers’ death. I write: “As children, my sister & I had adored the gentle, compassionate Mr. Rogers & the whimsical imaginative world he created. Watching him again with Benj, I’d newly appreciated how ahead of his time he was in his emphasis on emotional intelligence & his respect for the uniqueness of each individual child.” He exemplified everything I think is most important in approaching, teaching, and working with children.

I also recently did an interview with the Fred Rogers Company about their new DVD to help children with autism & their caregivers. If I had to pick the greatest influence on me as far as being an advocate for children goes, it would unquestionably be Mr. Rogers.

(continue..)

Apr
22
2013
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Good Use of Media, My Projects

Creative Galaxy

So much media & not enough quality programming? Amazon Studios is lending a hand here.

They have chosen to let YOU decide what shows get green lit for production!

Pilots are now available on Amazon Instant Video for parents to review & comment on, essential to the decision making process.

 

As I discussed in my earlier post, Amazon Studios Greenlights Kids’ Arts Pilot, two of my pilots ( Creative Galaxy and Sara Solves It) were also chosen by Amazon Studios to be among those viewed programs.

 

Here’s a little bit about each:

Creative Galaxy

Creative Galaxy

An animated, interactive art, adventure series, designed to inspire kids’ creative thinking through crafts, story, music and dance.

Amazon Studios

Sara Solves It

Sara Solves It is about create a strong female role model, Sara, who uses math to solve mysteries with her little brother, Sam.  Together, Sara and Sam explore their world on the look out for mysteries..math mysteries!

Please check out the shows at Amazon Studios and if you’d like Creative Galaxy, Sara Solves It or BOTH to be produced for your kids, please comment at the bottom of the Amazon Studios page!

(NOTE:  Both videos are works in progress – colored storyboards of sketches that tell the story with voice overs and minimal music & art)

 

I would love to continue to do what I  do, to make shows for your kids that educate make them giggle and for them to be a part of the story.

xoxo,

Angela

Apr
08
2013
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Good Use of Media, Kids, Parenting, PRESS

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood Parents Choice Award

2013 Parents’ Choice Award goes to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Congratulations to The Fred Rogers Company, PBS Kids, 9 Story Entertainment, Out of the Blue EnterprisesVoodoo Highway Music & Post. Lots of little happy faces are in agreement with the nation’s oldest nonprofit program created to recognize quality children’s media.

Parents CHoice Award

Congrats to all who continue the magic in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe!!