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Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher

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Tangle Refresher 133 and “Nancy’s Voice Box”

Tangle Refresher!

Two summers ago on the Zentangle® blog Rick and Maria shared their brilliant idea that had helped their dear friend Nancy Sampson communicate in the later stages of her battle with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also frequently known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

According to the ALS Association,

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost.

Zentangle pattern: Sampson. Image © Linda Farmer and TanglePatterns.com. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. You may use this image for your personal non-commercial reference only. The unauthorized pinning, reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal.

Nancy’s “Sampson” tangle

Many of us CZTs from the early training seminars were fortunate enough to meet Nancy and she definitely had that beautiful winning smile that made everyone feel welcome. We also know her for the Sampson tangle she designed (on the right) which as yet doesn’t have online steps but does appear in one of my earliest tangle “strips” at the top of the page.

As Rick describes in the blog post, Maria came up with the board shown below and they assembled “laser glasses” to go with it. “Nancy used her board to communicate with her family for months until just hours before she left.

I was reminded of this recently when my sister Karen’s dear friend was diagnosed with ALS and unfortunately his condition has deteriorated rapidly. Karen was describing how her friend was attempting to communicate by writing on a notepad which was laboriously slow and incredibly frustrating for him.

I immediately remembered Maria’s solution — “Nancy’s Voice Box” — and sent my sister the link to the Zentangle blog post for all the details of the idea.

This is such an easy and (without the laser glasses) non-technical solution that it deserves to be spotlighted again for anyone who hasn’t yet seen it.

As Rick writes, “In Nancy Sampson’s memory, please share this idea with anyone you know who can use it.” As he points out in the post, this can also be helpful for stroke patients or anyone with communication challenges.

Rick and Maria have graciously given me permission to publish this image from their blog. Please click the image to visit the original post on the Zentangle blog for more details and for a free downloadable alphabet image provided by Maria so others can create a customized “voice box”. The board provides the ability to spell things out as well as having many personal speech options.

Maria's solution

Image used with permission of Zentangle. Click the image to visit the Zentangle blog for more details and for another free downloadable alphabet image provided by Maria so others can create a customized “voice box”.

Karen is creating a similar foamcore board for her friend and customizing it with his favorite and useful phrases. It’s one frustration that’s remedied with paper and ink, and a pencil pointer if the laser glasses aren’t an option.

Again, PLEASE share this wonderful idea with anyone you know who can use it. TWEET, TWEET, TWEET !! Let’s help as many people as we can.

* * *

The Tangle Refresher series, aka Buried Treasure, spotlights hidden tangle gems from the past. It can remind you of tangles you might not have used for a while or introduce you to some you haven’t come across yet.

Here are five more tangle pattern gems and a Tangle Refresher from a year (or two) ago for your tangling pleasure. Remember to check out the “More Good Stuff” links below too.

BTW as you visit these tangles please do leave a comment of thanks and encouragement to show the artists you appreciate them for sharing their creativity to inspire yours. And please share a link to your favorite tangles with your followers on all your social media. Thanks!

Zenful tangling!

Buried Treasure from the tangling past
Zentangle pattern: Bales. Image © Linda Farmer and TanglePatterns.com. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. You may use this image for your personal non-commercial reference only. The unauthorized pinning, reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Bales
Zentangle pattern: Intwine. Image © Linda Farmer and TanglePatterns.com. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. You may use this image for your personal non-commercial reference only. The unauthorized pinning, reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Intwine
Zentangle pattern: Ovy. Image © Linda Farmer and TanglePatterns.com. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. You may use this image for your personal non-commercial reference only. The unauthorized pinning, reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Ovy
Zentangle pattern: Kloorz. Image © Linda Farmer and TanglePatterns.com. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. You may use this image for your personal non-commercial reference only. The unauthorized pinning, reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Kloorz
Zentangle pattern: Gottago. Image © Linda Farmer and TanglePatterns.com. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. You may use this image for your personal non-commercial reference only. The unauthorized pinning, reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Gottago
Revisit the Tangle Refresher from a year ago Tangle Refresher 105

More good stuff …


Perfect Holiday Gifts ...

TanglePatterns.com TANGLE GUIDE, 2016 Edition

TanglePatterns.com TANGL GUIDE, 2016 Edition The current Edition of my TANGLE GUIDE. This instant-download digital eBook contains all the tangles on the site from May 2010 through December 31, 2015. It's a must-have tool for using the site.
Visit the BOOK REVIEWS page for more details on its features and view a sample page.
Visit the STORE > E-BOOKS page for more information and support TanglePatterns.com by getting your copy now!
GIFT ORDERS: To give the TANGLE GUIDE as a gift, visit this page to place your gift order.
If you're new to Zentangle® and tangling, my TanglePatterns.com BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO ZENTANGLE is just what you need to get started. Also available en Français and en Español.

Zentangle Primer Volume 1 Remember you can get your official Zentangle supplies here too, including the fabulous new Zentangle PRIMER Vol 1. It's your CZT-in-a-book by the founders of Zentangle®! Visit the STORE tab on the top menu bar or click on the image. For more about the content and to read the rave reviews, visit the BOOK REVIEWS tab.
"Absolutely the best Zentangle Book yet! As an accomplished artist I used to think I did not need instruction on this art form. How wrong I was! My tangling improved by leaps and bounds after reading this book. If you think you have Zentangle down then you need this book more than ever!" ~ Kris H

The Official Zentangle Kit Another great jump-starter for new tanglers is the original Official Zentangle Kit. The Kit includes all the supplies you'll need to get started properly: Sakura Micron Pens, Zentangle Tiles, pencil, sharpener, tortillion, a booklet and an instructional DVD by co-founder Maria Thomas. Click on the image for more information about the Kit and its contents.

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7 comments to Tangle Refresher 133 and “Nancy’s Voice Box”

  • Susan Berkowitz

    I love the creative way that communication board was created. That’s terrific. Just to let your readers know, there are many commercially available communication boards with alphabet and core/high frequency words available for free on the internet.
    Not nearly at cool looking, I agree, but sometimes more functional. As a speech pathologist who works with folks who cannot speak/speak clearly for a variety of reasons, I love how they solved this problem so beautifully.

  • Thanks for this share, Wish I had know this years ago when working with a bunch of deaf disc golfers. Would of solved some of the communication problems. I will be using this.

  • Melena

    Thank you so much for posting this about the speaking board. A very good friend of mine died from ALS about 16 years ago. She did have something on the computer that she used to speak, but she had to be sitting in front of it. This board by Rick and Maria is so beautiful. I love how it is personalized for the person using it.

    She would have loved Zentangle before she lost function of her hands. We took some classes in Biological Illustration together (we were both biology majors and had other classes together too) and had a great time with that.

    Again, thank you Linda.

  • Donna Cerny

    I’m a hospice volunteer and have visited and known patients with ALS who lost the ability to speak early on. The wife of a friend was unable to speak but her husband created a notebook — sort of like a “key” to identifying trees or plants. Each page was divided into quadrants and the first page showed the 4 section that the notebook was divided into: family, medical people, personal needs, household needs (to my best memory).

    I can imagine getting a variety of family members involved in contributing ideas. Categories can be flexible and match what works for them.

    My friend practiced with his granddaughter and would follow her eyes as he held up the notebook and she looked. Once she chose the section needed, they’d turn to that and, like the front page, each page had 4 quadrants with pictures or words in that category to look at. He made these up for other patients he came to know which was a pretty massive undertaking.

    Another patient at our hospice house had an app for her iPad that her son bought at Best Buy for about $3. It would take what she typed into it and would voice it for her. We had many conversations that way — saved a lot of paper and just as fast.

    It’s a particularly nasty disease since the mind remains alert and fully functioning while the body deteriorates. My best to those you know who have it.

    • Linda Farmer, CZT

      Thanks for sharing more excellent ideas, Donna.

      A quick Google search for “text to speech” apps turns up quite a few and for those who are not technology-challenged, that is another great thought.

  • bernath

    SO GOOD §§§§§§§§§§§§

  • Carol Cripps

    What a lovely story. I lost an aunt some years ago to this awful illness.Iremember, too, how difficult it was for my Mum to communicate after a major stroke. I think kRickand Maria’s solution for their friend was both inspired and loving. Thanks for sharing their story.

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