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Monday, April 30, 2018

Autism Research Study Recruitment Request - With Gift Card Incentive!

I saw this posted on Reddit in their autism community and thought I would pass it along. A doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at Binghamton University (SUNY) is conducting dissertation research investigating how parents of children with autism make decisions regarding their child's treatment.

Here are all the specifics:

Looking for parents of children with ASD to take an online survey about how they view themselves, how they make decisions, and about their experience with specific treatments. The survey will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. This study has been approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB), and participants will have the option to be entered in a drawing where five people will be selected to each receive a $50 gift card.

Click here to the link to the survey.

If you have further questions you can email the author of the survey at with any questions.

Friday, April 27, 2018

All Signs Point To Friday! Check Out This Hilarious Collection!

 Hooray! Friday! (Not that I'm punching a clock right now, but I still feel the vibe). Let's get right to the fun stuff.

That's quite the apology.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Young Adult Autism:Let The Talks Begin

David is now fourteen, and he's taller than me. He’s a good sized kid and built like a bull moose. As he's aged into puberty he hasn't lost a bit of his exuberance. Somehow David utterly disproves the myth that kids with autism are introverted and withdrawn. He is, as always unfailingly cheerful and friendly. To him, a stranger is just a friend he hasn't met yet.

And while that's a wonderful sunshiney way of looking at life, it creates a series of problems - particularly when you have a kid who doesn't easily read or understand social cues. Facial expressions are generally lost on him unless they are extreme. Gentle or subtle hints sail right over his head.

So I've had to previously address this on occasion, and those occasions are getting more and more frequent as David's height climbs higher, his voice drops lower, and he's looking less and less like a young teen and more like a grown man.

For instance last night we were in Target. David has been on a Disney kick lately, and he was singing from one of his favorite Disney movies. He was off in the movie section while I was shopping elsewhere in the store and as I headed back to his section I could hear him down the aisle as he was singing. I've spoken with him before about singing loudly in public and I have to keep reminding him.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

My Apologies, Folks . . .

Sorry the blogs have been so sporadic lately, but I've been having a lot of muscle tone issues in my arm and leg as my brain reroutes itself to the muscle groups. This results in a whole lot of aches and pains and tightness that we have to work through extra hard in physical therapy. And that, of course means I have to take my muscle relaxers afterwards,and on top of the fatigue I'm already feeling - which is unreal, by the way - means I'm spending the rest of my day sleeping.

That is, until the muscle relaxers wear off and the pain sets in again. So there's this endless cycle of working my muscles, getting pain from my muscles, and medicating my muscles. Work, sleep, work, sleep. And somewhere in there, I'm supposed to be writing my next book! And blogging! And keeping up with all the social media I need to keep up with, particularly since my second book just came out last week. It's more than a little overwhelming.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Partial List Of The Crap I Can Do One-Handed

Along with having to blog and also write my next book one-handed, I've had to pick up a whole new range of one-handed skill sets. I shower one-handed, fold laundry one-handed (badly, but I do) and a whole bunch of other stuff like:

Putting on socks one-handed. And don't tell me to use one of these things because my brother got me one and they're useless - because they expect you to get the sock on the contraption one-handed first. Its faster to just maneuver it on your foot with a few choice curse words.

Wrapping a towel in a turban after a shower. Yeah, I can do that one-handed, bitches. Fear me.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Back In The Saddle Again

Getting back to writing every day
Sometimes one-handed
Sometimes with voice recognition software
But always with an audience

Missed you, too, old girl

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Great Big Thank You Post

I've been meaning to do this for a while and I feel badly it took me so long to do it but I have a number of people to thank in regards to my rehabilitation.

First, my  neurologist at the University of Kansas Medical Center: Dr. Yunxia Wang, who held my hand and talked me through what was happening to my brain with compassion and calm intelligence as I layed there, scared and weeping.

KU Rehabilitation doctors Schuessler and Eickmeyer,stopped in to see me every morning, remaining positive and upbeat and and celebrating every single one of my successes. I will confess now that I nicknamed Dr. Schuessler “Dr. Dreamboat” and was secretly squealing when he asked for a copy of my book.

My speech therapist Lauren was only with me for a couple of sessions, mostly because as a theatre person I was already doing my vocal warm ups and exercising my mouth, lips, and jaw every chance I got. She still offered some practical instruction and a whole lot of positive support.

Monday, April 16, 2018

A Series Of Fortunate Unfortunate Events

I had a fortunate stroke. I know that seems like an oxymoron, but despite how completely awful it is to have had a stroke at my age, it could have been so much worse.

To begin with, my trip to Kansas City for a family wedding almost didn't happen. I was waiting on my tax refund, not really sure it would come through in time for me to purchase the airline tickets. Lucky for me it did, and we were in Kansas when I had my stroke. Otherwise, it would have been my children's weekend with their father. I would have been home all alone when I had my stroke. My children would have returned from their father's house that morning and found me. Instead, I had my stroke at my brother's home, in front of my sister-in-law, who happens to be an ICU nurse. To go one step further, if I'd had my stroke 8 hours later, or booked the earlier return flight, I would have had my stroke on the plane, sitting next to my kids.

My sister-in-law also happens to work for the University of Kansas Hospital which is where she took me that morning. The University of Kansas hospital has a stroke center -  not something found at every hospital.They also had an open bed in their inpatient rehabilitation facility, also a good piece of luck.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Seven People With Mad Skillz

Do you see this statue? This statue is 'Disillusion' (Il Disinganno) by Francesco Queirolo and dates to 1754. The net is sculpted, too. I cannot fathom that level of skill. Some people are just astoundingly good at stuff. Did you know I can pick up laundry with my toes? And press CTRL-ALT-DELETE with one hand? Being one-handed is pulling out all sorts of skills I never knew I had.

But I digress. You're here to be entertained, so here are five people with crazy levels of skill.

We'll start with this guy and his soccer ball:

Monday, April 9, 2018

Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center Receives Sensory Inclusion Certification

Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center is home to both the Philadelphia Flyers Hockey Team and the Philadelphia 76'ers basketball team - as well as thousands of screaming and cheering fans.

Being around that much noise, and movement, the smells from the food vendors, and the flashing scoreboards can make rooting for your favorite team a real challenge for people with sensory processing disorders such as autism.

To better promote inclusion for their fans, Wells Fargo is now offering special "Sensory Kits" for those with sensory challenges. Each kit contains noise-cancelling headphones, a fidget device, a weighted lap blanket, and verbal cue cards. They also have a sensory room where fans can watch the team in a more comfortable, somewhat muted environment.

These accommodations make Wells Fargo is the first arena in Pennsylvania to receive sensory inclusive certification. 

I'm thrilled when I see inclusion at any level, but this will mean the world to so many of those on the spectrum.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Life After A Stroke: A Confluence of Irritants

Recovering from a stroke is more than dealing with your useless hand or your shuffling leg or the fact that you can only smile with one side of your face right now. And I got off light! At least the gray matter is intact and believe me, I truly do realize how fortunate that is, especially after sharing the gym with several patients who weren't as fortunate as I was.

Aside from the frustration of bathing and dressing one-handed, and the exhaustion of trying to walk with a shaking and uncooperative leg, there are other factors I never anticipated.

I got hiccups Lots of them. I'm talking twelve to fifteen times a day. It was my brain trying to rewire its way to my partially-disabled diaphragm. A good sign, the doctors said. But soooo irritating.

Monday, April 2, 2018

"What Is Autism?" A Film Written By People On The Autism Spectrum

It's World Autism Awareness Day, and if you want to know what autism really means, you should go straight to the source.