Monday, November 30, 2009

A little Xmas Shopping -- Amazon Best Sellers on Neuroscience and Music

Amazon Best Sellers for Neuroscience and music

Music on the Mind

Some of the different neural pathways of the brain that are activated when you listen to music.
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fun with Flute: Somatic Release, Mind Body Connection

I am trying to learn how to play the flute. After a bit of occupational therapy and nutritional supplements, it is going a lot better. My hand eye coordination has really improved -- it takes a lot less time and repetition to learn new keys. I drill on simply remembering the fingering for the flute a couple times before I actually try to play the flute and it goes much much better.

I find playing the flute to be a very physical experience. It is not just the auditory portion of listening to the music, although that is important. It is the physical sensations that accompany flute playing: rhythmic breathing from the diaphragm, the feeling of good posture, and an emotional release that goes from my legs up my spine to the base of my neck. I do some of the Laban  exercises beforehand. I spread my toes out and sink my heels into the earth trying to root myself. I relax my calves and knees and pull my thighs in. I tuck my tail bone in and square my hips. I stack my vertebrae and let my rib cage float. As my rib cage floats, my shoulders float and my arms relax. I imagine that my head is attached to a string suspended from the ceiling and is floating.

With good posture, I get a better sound and I can control my breathing. I don't gasp for air in the middle of a phrase. I can get a nice deep breath and expel it in a controlled fashion. As I breathe from the diaphragm, I can feel my body expel tension. I can feel it from my legs and up through my spine. A sort of psychic "Ahhhhhh...." runs through my body and out into the universe. Old tensions and the old emotions flow through and out of me.

I wonder how much of the music I am missing with my whacked hearing... It will be interesting to see what happens when I start using an FM transmitter
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tomatis loop two

West Philadelphia, view down Baltimore Avenue ...Image via Wikipedia
Tomatis loop two was not as tiring as the first loop. The way a total approach does things there is 15 visits in the (Luke one), followed by a break of the month, and then nine days of occupational therapy, followed by a break for a month and then finally nine more days of therapy. So I am in have finished the second round. That is, to say, it wasn't tiring dealing the occupational therapy but for some reason after I finished, I was really tired for about a week. It didn't help that my husband's schedule was a little bit erratic and he was coming home very late and waking up very early so that threw me off of that. I talked Angela of that and she described this phase of Tomatis as your neurons are starting to entangle a bit so I didn't feel as much progress as I felt in the first loop in the first loop I could really feel some very large jumps in my hearing and then Mike vision and in my balance. This time it was a lot more supple. Maybe I'm just getting used to do the therapy. Or maybe that's just the way progress this. But this this time I felt that the background noises in my hearing were filling in. That I could start to see more detail in the world around me. I have this incredible collection of odd notes about traveling down 95.

It's very funny I'm noticing a huge amount about the industrial rooftops of Northeast Philly. All kinds of odd shaped chimneys and then and roofing. For the first time I noticed the different colors in the types of the pipes of the Philadelphia electric company. I am noticing some of the different patterns in the skyscrapers of Philadelphia.
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Walking in the woods

Walking in the woods is a new experience. It is no longer a green tunnel into which I would dwell in my own thoughts. Being verbal means you verbalize thoughts. This may start seeing rather trite until you begin to understand what multiple intelligence means and that there are many many different people who dwell in the visual world. For my counterpart, that would be living in the video world a world of pictures. A world where people are in the moment of their picture. Whereas, for me, it is just talk talk talk talk. I talk and talk and talk.

I can be lost in my own thoughts and not realize what is going on in the world around me. I have very poor visual memory. So I can walk by things and not remember them. I live in the world of words. I live in the world where people and events live. I often don't live in the moment, or in the world. But I live in a very very verbal world. A world where I reminisce, project, or imagined.

Now, when I go walking sometimes I go back to my old world. But often times I am in the New World during seeing things around me. I am starting to see things it in a wider point of view. So I'm seeing more and more around
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The God of small things: fire hydrant

a photograph of a colorful fire hydrant in Dem...Image via Wikipedia
After a certain amount of therapy, my eyes started to work and I began noticing a lot of very small things that no one else remarks on not because it's all new to me, I do. For some reason I am really fascinated by the minutiae of every day life. My eyes are starting to see contours. And so any round shiny object gets my attention.

I had my first hot moment when I was pulling out of the parking lot for A Total Approach. I was behind an SUV. When, suddenly,  I noticed all the curvature and the panels of the back door. I started seeing the well for the license plate. The molding around the exterior back door. The curve of the body. The molding of the door as I passed it. Just noticing that there is depth and wisdom to everyday objects.

I have started to notice fire hydrants. I could see the bonnet of the fire hydrant curving, and rounded. And as I began to dwell on fire hydrant I started noticing all the details that go into making them curve out. I started seeing the nozzles, nozzle caps, the base, and the little light on top of the fire hydrant. I started to know that there are many different kinds of fire hydrant in different classes of fire. They are color-coded blue yellow red to indicate how much water can flow through the fire hydrant.

I am wondering if dogs are fearing competition from me. I'm encroaching on their turf.
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Vision therapy: session 1

Well, I started vision therapy. It's rather interesting. I began looking through these colored lenses: one red and one green, I think. They had me doing different exercises with these glasses. Then I went and worked on the computer and we played list some stereo games where I was looking at the box with different patterns in different places on the screen trying to see when the boxes popped out in 3D. I don't think I did too  good on this. One eye is at about 45%; and the other eye is about 60%. However,  playing around with stereo images on the computer did have a brief flash for me. There are some paper hands floating in the air for a brief moment, I saw them in 3D.

The funny thing is that I worked for a research laboratory doing Virtual Reality Gaming in stereo.  So know I know what I was supposed to be seeing.  At the time I was doing Virtual Reality, I was fascinated by stereo.  To me it was just a cool effect that happened when you put on special glasses.  I never realized that this was the way that everyone else saw the world.
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Just to explain things...

You may wonder why, at times, this blog reads a little funny. I am dictating it using MacSpeech Dictate. For some strange reason, my tangled neurons seems to be able to crank out a lot of text if I am dictating. However, if I  sit down and write somehow I seem to get extremely distracted and I never get anything done. Maybe this goes along with the whole nonverbal learning disorder being very verbal and all you are is just a giant mouth. Talk talk talk. Like a baby bird. Cheap cheap cheap.
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Survey: Bullies prey on autistic kids

Scene from the filmImage via Wikipedia
Interesting post on bullying and autism. It's now official what to many autistic people feel like it is common sense.  I am starting to find a lot of humor especially slapstick these days to be a bit offensive.  I think it is making fun of people who can't help but be a bit clumsy.

Survey: Bullies prey on autistic kids
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Monday, November 9, 2009

Cognition Gone Awry & Tangential Drift

superficial cognition onlineImage by Will Lion via Flickr
cognition is one complete loop:  information capture, storage, retrieval, usage.

What part of cognitive loop has gone awry?  

Code it as Capture storage, retrieval or use.

tangential drift
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Feedback from Tomatis Loop 1

Sluggishness from gluten free diet

Visual Tracking has improved.   

emotional purging from childhood...

Tomatis peels the layers...and stuff resurfaces...

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Autism and the Brain: Notes from Columbia Autism Center of Excellence Presentation

Autism and The Brain
Cortex and Wiring
emotions and conscious Learning
habits, OCD
Face Processing
Face Processing
Superior Temporal Cortex
Social Awareness 
Imitation and Action Knowledge
Default Mode System
Self Awareness
Medial Frontal Cortex
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More Drivers for the Future of Autism

Grassroots Economics:
a new localism,
an expanding learning economy,
leveraging institutional predictability and network adaptability,
urban learning Commons,
institutions for collective action
distributed innovation
global trade pedagogy
open economy principles
technologies of cooperation
-- --
Smart networks:
fragmenting preferences
generation Y. attributes
rise of Long tail economics
community value networks
unbundled education
collective assessment
do it yourself
smart mobbing
networking IQ
-- --
Strong Opinions:
Extreme Diversity
seeking spirituality
deep personalization
achieving standards and personalization
personalized learning plans
participatory pedagogy
supporting teachers' rights
an explosion of learning agents
cognitive apprenticeships
re-scripting life
personal Digital media
-- --
Sick Herd
increasing chronic illness
reconciling extreme diversity and deep localism
increasing economic stability
alternative financial models
Cross mentoring for urban survival
participatory governance
healthy shopping
developing readiness and resilience
-- --
End of Cyberspace:
visible community learning
extended child
cheap mobile devices
agile smart schools
kinetic learning in context
integrating digital natives and digital immigrants
serious games
media savvy youths
urban computing

Autism Drivers

Thoughts on the Future of Autism from the Pennsylvania Commision on the Future of Autism

Health care for all protest outside health ins...Image by Steve Rhodes via Flickr
There is a view of autism as a transitory condition that occurs during youth.

Economic factors such as inequality
there is a thought that value is an important driver.

There is a lack of ownership
there are geographic disparities in Pennsylvania.
Autism and the prison system
legislation for autism Employment
Competition From Other Diseases
Public -- Private Mix Of Treatment Affects Equality
New technologies leap to increase transparency, information, and coordination, and advocacy.
diverse networks,
access to shareholders,
ability to embrace diversity
and, knowledge base of treatments, failures, and successes

open space:
dignity and empathy programs in schools,
multimedia and educational programming,
leveraging mobile networks for education and patient support,
public health core -- AmeriCorps,
leadership and professional development.
Small business employing less than 10 people are less likely to offer health insurance. More than 25% of America's sole proprietors don't have guaranteed issue. This is a portability problem.
Need for cost-sharing
drives health care reforms -- caring from outsiders
fragmented data makes it hard to move from one provider
this information above was from COSE by Global Business Network
-- -- -- --
Future of Philanthropy

There is a need for infrastructure
pressure for accountability
demand for effectiveness
there is a lot of effort on the grassroots to organize. For example, there is a site called I'm too young for this is a social networking, conference development, peer support, music and art website.
-- -- -- --
Health 2.0:
use of social software to promote collaboration between patients, caregivers, medical professionals and other stakeholders in health
personalized search that looks into the long tail
communities that capture the accumulated knowledge of patients, caregivers and clinicians.
Intelligent tools for content delivery.
Better integration of data with content.
Health care were all constituents focus on health care values and use competition at the medical level over the full lifecycle to improve safety, efficiency, and quality of health care.
Use of Second Life:
Naughty Auties -- for social interaction. However, Second Life can be problematic and trigger various conditions such as epilepsy.
-- --
BAS stakeholders include parents, siblings, self advocates, providers, clinicians, research and development community.
10 key components of the strategic plan:
Adult Autism Waiver,
ASERT Regional Center,
Crisis Response,
Family Supports,
Services for Adults not Waiver or ACAP,
Fostering Statewide and Grassroots Efforts,
Respond Units: Long-Term Community Support
Training Standards.

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My Symptoms

Outline of the Journey Through the Cortex: Steps in Cognitive Therapy

Effects of the results of a Cognitive Diagnost...Image via Wikipedia
My goal is: Cognitive Function

Goal Plan
I. What is the first step?  Fix Auditory Processing
A. Target completion date: 
II. What should come next? Tomatis Training
A. Target completion date: Sept 2009
III. What is the third step? Solistin Training
A. Target completion date: Jan  2010
IV. Next step? Fix Motor Processing
A. Target completion date: Dec 2009
V. Next step? Interactive Metronome 
A. Target completion date: Dec 2009
VI. Next step?  Eye Exam
A. Target completion date:  Sept 2009 
VII. Next step? Vision Therapy
A. Target completion date:
VIII. Next step? Nose/Taste exam
A. Target completion date: 

IX. Next step?  Tactile
A. Target completion date:  

X. Next step?  Neurofeedback
A. Target completion date:  

1. Next step?  Investigate Cognitive Therapies
a. Target completion date:  

2. Next step?  Investigate Assistive Devices
a. Target completion date:  

3. Next step?  Smart Phone?
a. Target completion date:  

4. Next step?  Implement Cognitive Therapies and Assisstive Devices
a. Target completion date:  

C. Next step?  Faces and Body Language
1. Target completion date: 

XII. Next step?  Job Rehabilitation
A. Target completion date:  

XIII. Final step?

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Update with Angela at A Total Approach

Today, I have a follow-up call with Angela at A Total Approach. We quickly went over some of the changes that have occurred since the last round of occupational therapy. I told her that I was having problems hearing the end of words and certain portions of songs. My husband is noting that he doesn't have to repeat himself quite so much. Visually, I am noticing some objects are rounder such as fire hydrant, cupola, the lids of street lamps, newls of banisters, and old telephone junction boxes. I am starting to see peripheral vision a little bit. I am much less jerky and more fluid in my motions.

I told her I saw Kelly Dorfman, a nutritionist. I really think that a Total Approach really made a difference and Kelly Dorfman gave me a lift on top of what a total approach does. Kelly Dorfman thinks that I have a wheat allergy. She has recommended that I stop eating bread, pasta, and crackers. I have done so. I feel a heck of a lot better. She is also helping me out with executive function and has recommended that I take fish oil, vitamin E., and phosphatidylcholine. I feel much clearer mentally.

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Return to Ralph Stover Park

A view of the lower Tohickon Valley from atop ...Image via Wikipedia
I went to Ralph Stover Park today to visit the High Vista Rocks. I didn't find the closest parking lot to the rocks so I parked and took a mile long hike to get to the rocks. It was a beautiful fall day and the leaves were changing colors, the holly berries were out and the sun was shining. I walked down to Tohickon Creek, crossed the foot bridge, and walked along Stover Park Road and over to the overlooks. As I approached the overlooks, I began to feel faint and dizzy and fearful. It is a very steep drop to the river below. I walked along the paths that I had walked 25 years ago.

As I approached the cliffs, and remember the old fears, fears of basic survival. there is a distrusting myself because I know I don't sense things completely, and I am also a bit uninhibited. This is not a good combination and the combination that breeds an inherent distrust of oneself.

I remember the fear in my body, in my legs and soles of my feet, in my shoulders and in my arms, ah kind of leadened feeling that tingles at the same time it weighs you down. I went to the edge of the railing and that was all I could stand. I really felt quite weak. I had to sit down for a few minutes befre I attempted to look down. I couldn't see quite down to the river but I saw enough. I couldn't bring myself to look straight down that cliff where I climbed down 25 years ago. I climbed both up and down that cliff. I am amazed that I ever tried it.
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Fussing With Blue Cross Blue Shield

I am having problems with getting adequate reimbursement from Independence Blue Cross Blue Shield and sent the following appeal:
"I would like a professional (non-machine) review of the reimbursements made to out-of-network providers listed above as  the allowed charge is far below the usual and customary rate.  These providers rates are within market norms for their level of expertise and specialty. 
I have been in Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts plan and have submitted claims for Dr. XX  and Dr. YY in a previous Independence Blue Cross plan  as an out-of network provider and both the allowed rate and  my reimbursement have been much higher. 
The allowed rate must reflect surveys based on the geographic area and as such the rate Independence Blue Cross Blue Shield is far too low.  I believe that the  software, Ingenix is being used to calculate allowed rates and reimbursement rates and is likely the cause of the lower reimbursement.  Ingenix has been the target of a class action suit in New York state for “price fixing” due to its artificially low reimbursement.
Please provide me a copy of the formulas used to calculate my reimbursement.  I would like an increased reimbursement from the provider claims that I have already submitted and I would like to ensure that future claims from out-of-network providers are reimbursed properly"

The problem is that the reimbursements we are getting back from the insurance company are way too low.  I mean $40 on a specialist visit and $20 for a nutritionist.  This is not on a crap policy.  We are paying $1700/month for husband and wife.
What has happened is that Ingenix deliberately is setting the rates too low.  There is no way that in my neck of the woods that any medical specialist bills at these rates.  They are about 1/2 that of a general practioner in-network.

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Vitamin Deficiency and Upping the Cognition and Motor Skills

Vitamin B12Image via Wikipedia
On our next visit, Kelly Dorfman focused on vitamin deficiencies. She took a good look at my bloodwork and noticed that I have both a B12 and vitamin D deficiency. I was complaining all my life to all the general practitioners I ever saw that I have no sense of smell. Kelly had my GP run a zinc test and the vitamin D test. My GP hemmed and hawed, grumbled, made a few noises about who does she think she is. I did tell him that Kelly is on the governor's board of nutrition in Maryland. To that, he grudgingly admitted that "maybe she knows something". So, he ordered the tests. Lo, and behold, I have a vitamin D deficiency.
Kelly Dorfman was the first person, after all these years, to try and do something about things that I have been complaining about to all my GP's.  Gosh, the vitamin B deficiency has been showing up on all my basic blood work. I have been complaining about lack of sense of smell and too much gas to every doctor.
She also decided to work on a cognition portion a bit further. She is adding phosphadytl serline. Also, she is going to help out the motor apraxia by including the supplement, piracetam.

One thing about Kelly is that she is very particular about where she sources her vitamins and supplements. She avoids using the major chains because so much is imported from China and the quality is uncertain.
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Meeting with the Nutritionist: Taming The Stomach and Sharpening the Brain

Wheat.Image via Wikipedia
I met with the nutritionist, Kelly Dorfman, who was recommended to me by the folks at a total approach. Kelly Dorfman really knows her biochemistry. I told her about my nonverbal learning disorder, motor apraxia, hearing and vision problems. At first, she thought my problems could stem from some problems that many women face during menopause or perimenopause that seems to manifest themselves as a kind of brain fog, confusion, or absentmindedness. But, upon hearing the full story, I think she understands there is a lot more to it.
During our first meeting, I also told her that I am a little overweight, and that I have a lot of gas. She thinks I have some intolerance to wheat so she put me on a gluten-free diet. Not a strict gluten-free diet, but told me to eliminate pasta, bread, and crackers. She said that by doing that I would also start losing weight. Sure enough, I did. Also, she has me taking some probiotics: PB eight, and DSL. Within a couple days, my stomach was calm and a lot of gas has gone away. Unfortunately, now that my stomach is used to not being aggravated by wheat products, it gets very annoyed when I see something I'd like and decide to eat it anyhow. So, I have replaced pasta, bread, and crackers with potatoes and rice. I really don't miss them. It's just if I'm at a party and see a nice pastry, I kind of liked to eat it.
Kelly Dorfman decided to tackle my cognitive problems with a large dose of fish oil, vitamin E, and a supplement called phosphadytl choline. I feel a lot sharper, and with my stomach calm, I feel very much inside my body. I feel "in there". I feel connected to my body. It's very funny because for a number of years I haven't felt like I was very connected. I had this very strange sense that I was inside my body but I have lost the ability to see all a lot of things. Now, I feel like they are coming back.
A couple weeks after taking the supplements, I have lost 10 pounds so that is a good thing, too.
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