Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Swallowed Up By The Iphone 4 -- Or a Little Knowledge is a dangerous thing.

The keypad of the Motorola RAZR V3t also known...Image via Wikipedia
I haven't posted in a few days because I have been swallowed up the by my new Iphone 4.  My problem is also that I know enough to be dangerous and I sat and futzed around moving contacts and pictures over from my Motorola Razr.  My Mac is in the shop so I was stuck moving  my stuff from the Razr to a PC and then to the Iphone.

Bluetoothing ended up slinging my bits into the ether (not ethernet!  Bad joke for the technologically knowledgeable) as I was having a hard time getting the PC to shake hands with the Razr or Iphone.  The computer and the cell phones really didn't want to pair... an ill-mated ensemble!  But after enough nagging and moaning,  like a bad old couple, my electronics finally went to bed with each other and swapped what they needed to swap.

Had I known less about technology, I could have finished earlier.  After getting the pictures moved, I could have just typed my contacts into the iPhone and saved myself a number of hours diddling with Outlook, iTunes, and   the Window's Bluetooth services...

Had I been on a Mac, I would have been finished much sooner.  But now back to the world, and the dirty dishes in the kitchen sink.

I haven't had problems with reception, yet... but will keep you posted.

Theoretically, this is going to make me more organized... you know, help with problems with executive function.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Auditory Processing Disorder: Me and the Work Place

As Rosie O'Donnel's son will find out later in life,  children with auditory processing disorder do grow up to become adults.  There isn't much written about adaptations needed for adults with APD and the success that people have found trying to get workplace accomodations.  So I've got to roll my own. I found this information at APDUK, an Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) organization in Great Britain.  The colored passages describe some ideas for an APD IEP (Individual Education Plan) that I am modifying to get some ideas for an ADP IWP (Individual Work Plan).

Hope for an amblyope

"She is also an amblyope. One eye has an acuity that is at least two lines on the Snellen Eye Chart worse the other eye. This is probably why she is not binocular - she opted to pay attention to the information coming into her brain from just one eye - actually, she did not do this on purpose, it just happened and therefore she does not experience double vision. You need two eyes to point to the same place in space AT THE SAME time in order to experience three-D vision."

Eye Can Too! Read: Hope for an amblyope:

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

I got my New Iphone 4!: What an Iphone Means for Accessibility

The default Home screen of the iPhone 3GS show...Image via Wikipedia
Oh, Yipee Skipee! I got my new iPhone 4!

I have been pecking like a chicken at my new toy and am just starting to customize it for me. Unlike other people, I'm not having any of the problems with left handed use or connectivity problems so far.

I am having some problems pecking at the keyboard.  Here's a good explanation of keyboard features on iPhone.
Of course, I have been loading it up with apps. I've found apps to help with Auditory Processing Disorder, Tinnitus, and Executive Dysfunction(Time Management and Organization).  In addition to the default applications provided, I have added:

Friday, June 25, 2010

Me as a Little Urchin Eating Watermelon

IMG_6646 vfImage by Franie Frou Frou via Flickr
Well, my progress with motor skills isn't just a straightforward path and sometimes seems to wander about.  The other day, I bought a watermelon and sliced it into cubes so that I could store it more easily in the refrigerator.  There is nothing nicer than ice cold watermelon on these hot days.  Given the heat, I put on the coolest thing I could find:  my husband's white T-shirt.

So, I start cutting the watermelon in half and then quarter slices  and carving out my cubes of its juicy, red flesh and munching on chunks. Cut, carve, munch... Finished slicing the watermelon and started to cleanup when I noticed that I had nice round spots of watermelon all over my T-shirt and watermelon juice on the counter and a face wet with watermelon..

Have I really progressed from that child eating a watermelon?  I thought all this physical therapy that I've been doing would have cleared up hand-eye coordination and motor skill problems... but apparently only so far. 

The other thing to ponder is masking.  Hiding behavior that's not socially acceptable.  When I'm with other people, I try to control myself.  But when I am at home alone especially when I am tired or absorbed in something else, sometimes I snarf.  After therapy. I thought my snarfing days were over, but apparently, not.  Therapy has cleared up the worst of my lousy motor skills and slopping about... but not everything, at least not yet.
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Wild Divine Tames Musician's Wild Feelings Before Performance

Journey to the Wild Divine significantly reduces performance anxiety for musicians.  A recent study in the journal, Biofeedback, showed a 62% decrease in anxiety after playing the biofeedback game, Journey to the Wild Divine.
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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Update on Vision Therapy 6/23

SOS in morse codeDots and Dashes Image via Wikipedia
Today, we worked on some reading exercises with the Dynamic Reader... Marianne pushed my fluency up to 250 wpm but I lost reading comprehension with my score coming in at 70% ... I'm usually at 90% reading comp.
We also worked on peripheral vision with me focusing on a dot in the middle of the screen and letters popping up in random places. I hope I am not cheating by glancing to the sides... It's hard to tell.  Marianne doesn't think I am.

We also did some more audio-visual integration on the computer with me listening to a sequence of sounds and then selecting a visual pattern of those sounds in reverse.  So if I heard 2 beeps, 3 beeps 4 beeps, I would select 4 spots, 3 spots, and 2 spots.  Doing audio-visual integration work will help me follow instructions when I am working:  as people talk, I can focus on a written task; when I am working on a task, people can talk to me and I can follow instructions.

Finally, we worked on the accomodative system (the focusing system) by doing an exercise with flippers (2 pairs of glasses that you changed for each step of the exercise) where I looked for words in a bunch of scrambled letters.  Working on the accomodative system before helped decrease my prescription so that I am not as far-sighted as I used to be, but I think that I am plateauing in terms of this dimension of vision.  The real reason to plug away on the accomodative system is that it helps the muscles that are necessary to 3d vision.
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Good Tips on Using the Brock String

Brock String Video shows some good tips on using the Brock String, one of the basic exercises to acquiring 3D in space.
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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Other Folks Finding Autism Over Age 40, Me, and Susan Boyle

Billy Joel - River of DreamsBilly Joel Field of DreamsImage via Wikipedia
Other folks besides me are waking up to diagnoses of learning disabilities and autism at mid-life.  It's good to know that I am not alone... so much of the discussion of my condition is with children.  It's nice to see the adults holding forth.  Blogs that I have been reading include: Falling Into Place, Aspie Teacher and  Journeys With Autism.   Reading these blogs makes me rethink my whole diagnosis of Non-Verbal Learning Disorder( NLD) -- there are now days, I think I have it and don't always want to face the fact that I have NLD, or, maybe not, as many of the gifted and talented suffer from bits and pieces of problems on the autistic spectrum.  For the time being, I will leave this question to greater minds than my own, as Autism Spectrum is marked by heterogeneity... There are no two of us alike as the science now stands

Where our commonality is:

Does Your Child Stand With One Leg or Arm Wrapped Around the Other?

Body of LightImage by aeneastudio via Flickr
 "I have recently noticed that many of the children with the most severely delayed laterality and directionality skills stand or sit with one leg wrapped around the other. They often twist their bodies when standing, and seem to be holding themselves together with the right hand grabbing their left side and the left hand grabbing their right side. I think that this postural habit exacerbates the problem by making it difficult for the child to know which body parts belong to the right side and which to the left. I have begun to coach parents to discourage their children from using these positions as another way to address the child's visual spatial problems which they sometimes express as being 'confusing.' I'd love to know whether others see the same correlations."

Eye Can Too! Read: Does Your Child Stand With One Leg or Arm Wrapped Around the Other?:

I used to sit like this.  I never knew that it meant that I had delayed laterality and directionality-- in other words, why I have problems knowing my right for my left, or problems that I used to have reading maps (always had a problem orienting the darn thing), 

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Computer based Reading Exercises in Vision Therapy

It may come as a surprise to readers of this blog, but apparently, I read at a jr. high school level of fluency(the ability to read connected text rapidly, smoothly, effortlessly, and automatically with little conscious attention to the mechanics of reading, such as decoding).   In vision therapy, we are doing the Home Therapy Solutions' Dynamic Reading and I have been reading about Martin Gaye and Bruce Springsteen.  Sometimes I wonder if I am cheating a little on the reading comprehension tests because I do know a little about the subject matter.  But having the material presented in chunks of a running text,  makes me use my eyes properly as I can't jump about like I normally do.
Computer based office therapy
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Misdiagnosed Vision Problems Can Be Mistaken for ADHD

PONTO DE CONVERGÊNCIA (Convergence Point)Image by jonycunha via Flickr
ADHD can really be a vision problem relating to depth perception and 3D vision.

According to Vision Help,, "treatable binocular vision problems (like convergence insufficiency)  causes poor attention, concentration and reduced ability for near-centered visual tasks, such as reading and paper pencil activities." These vision problems can be misdiagnosed as ADHD because a person won't sit still while doing close-up work such as writing or drawing.

Apparently, a lot of the population has problems with 3D vision.  It is estimated that 10-15% of the population have problems with 3D vision.  As 3D technologies in movies and TVs become more prevalent, companies analyzing these industries are noticing problems in selling such devices due to eye discomfort. 

A Blogger, Mark Schubin cites a November 2009 report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), “Eyes Wide Open: 3D Tipping Points Loom.”  The report notes that the top two factors that could limit adoption of 3D technology are that approximately 20% of the people who attended a 3D movie didn’t like the experience, citing issues such as eye fatigue and discomfort of the eyeglasses, and about 5% of people are ’stereoblind’.  The full report can be downloaded here:

Vision Help has a nice 5 part series on 3D vision written in a manner that the lay person can understand  the issues are with 3D vision.

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Seeing Through The Tongue?

TongueTongue - Image via Wikipedia
A British soldier who was blinded by a grenade in Iraq three years ago said his life has been transformed since he was fitted with a prototype BrainPort device that allows him to "see" with his tongue.
More on Seeing Through The Tongue
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Pioneering Ideas: Are voluntary medical courts a step in the right direction?

 "With the passage of the health care reform bill, it looks like health courts may finally be closer to becoming a reality. But as Harvard Professor Dr. Michelle Mello points out in a recent post on the AMN Healthcare blog, there are still lingering concerns about how these courts will be implemented.

Through her work at the Harvard School of Public Health, and together with leaders at Common Good, Mello is at the forefront of the health court movement. Despite being initially optimistic about health courts being included in the initial drafts of legislation, she is concerned the final bill creates a voluntary court that has limited adjudication powers. As the AMN post points out, “the current system would remain in place as a backstop to (a) voluntary health court.”"

Cass Sunstein has been advising the Obama Administration on health courts
Pioneering Ideas: Are voluntary medical courts a step in the right direction?:

This is interesting because if there is any proven link between autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders and the environment, there would be a lot of litigation.   It would be good to have a court system that could weed out spurious litigation but still provides justice.

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Poor Reading Fluency May Indicate a Learning-related Visual Challenge

kids' reading nookImage by ooh_food via Flickr
 "Efficient readers move their eyes quickly across a page of text decoding words and processing meaning. The most efficient readers even scan and recognize familiar words by their shapes. It takes more than good phonetic skills and a good visual memory to read fluently though. People who have deficits of their saccadic eye movement skills can't usually do it. Because their eye muscles are not developed well enough for them to control where to point their eyes, they may not be able to maintain a fixation long enough to process the word or its meaning. When they lose the fixation, they also lose their place in the text."

Eye Can Too! Read: Poor Reading Fluency May Indicate a Learning-related Visual Challenge:

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Milk Allergy: Milk additives in sweeteners

Milk Allergy | Allergy: "Everything from egg substitute to artificial sweeteners can contain milk. Some artificial sweeteners are made with milk components that may or may not cause a reaction, as the amount of milk protein is so small."

I'm starting to come to the conclusion that artificial sweeteners are just bad things.  There is just too much fooling around in making them.  I was recently at a "Food Politics" conference where they found a study that said that the artificial sweeteners are getting people hooked on eating too much.  Splenda is 6 times sweeter than sugar.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Seeing Yourself See: Interview with Beau Lotto

This image (when viewed in full size, 1000 pix...Image via Wikipedia
Seeing lightness and color are the simplest sensations the brain has. And yet even at this most basic level we never see the light that falls onto our eyes (called the retinal image) or even the real-world source of that image. 
Rather, neuroscience research tells us that we only ever see what proved useful to see in the past. Illusions are a simple but powerful example of this point. Like all our perceptions, we see illusions because the brain evolved not to see the retinal image, but to resolve the inherent "meaninglessness" of that image by continually redefining normality, a normality that is necessarily grounded in relationships, history and ecology.

But, by "seeing yourself see," in other words by actively exploring how your thoughts, feelings, beliefs and even the colors you see reflect your physical, social and cultural ecology, only then is it possible to understand the source of coherence and conflict within and between individuals.

Put another way, only by accepting my own humanity can I accept the humanity of others. "Seeing myself see" creates the opportunity for this acceptance. Illusions, then, were not the point of my talk, but simply a tool for encouraging this process.
Resolving uncertainty is essential to our survival. Hence our fear of ambiguous situations is palpable -- e.g., the inability to resolve sensory conflict between the eyes and ears can result in nausea (like seasickness). And yet it is only by embracing the unknown within education, science, art and most importantly within our own private lives that we will find new routes to more enlightened ways of seeing and being.
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Vision Therapy Pyramid and the Six Components of Vision Therapy

Visual Therapy in actionVision Therapy in Action Image by See A New You! via Flickr
Six Components of Vision Therapy:
  • Visual Accuity
  • Visual Spatial Skills
  • Visual Efficiency
  • Visual Analysis
  • Visual Motor Skills
  • Adaptation Through Vision.  
Great Diagram Explaining the Vision Therapy Pyramid
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Traits of Girls with Asperger and Autism

Autism Awareness Ribbon, Colorful Puzzle Piece...Image by Beverly & Pack via Flickr
Girls with Aspergers have different symptoms than boys.  They aren't studied as much because they are much rarer.  Girls seem to try to have relationships and want relationships whereas boys don't.

This gender dynamic doesn’t necessarily affect girls with Asperger’s when they are very young; if anything, they often fare better than boys at an early age because they tend to be less disruptive. In 1993, Catherine Lord, a veteran autism researcher, published a study of 21 boys and 21 girls. She found that when the children were between the ages of 3 and 5, parents more frequently described the girls as imitating typical kids and seeking out social contacts. Yet by age 10, none of the girls had reciprocal friendships while some of the boys did. “The girls often have the potential to really develop relationships,’ says Lord, a psychology and psychiatry professor and director of the Autism and Communication Disorders Center at the University of Michigan. “But by middle school, a subset of them is literally dumbstruck by anxiety. They do things like bursting into tears or lashing out in school, which make them very conspicuous. Their behavior really doesn’t jibe with what’s expected of girls. And that makes their lives very hard.”

No doubt part of the problem for autistic girls is the rising level of social interaction that comes in middle school. Girls’ networks become intricate and demanding, and friendships often hinge on attention to feelings and lots of rapid and nuanced communication — in person, by cellphone or Instant Messenger. No matter how much they want to connect, autistic girls are not good at empathy and conversation, and they find themselves locked out, seemingly even more than boys do. At the University of Texas Medical School, Katherine Loveland, a psychiatry professor, recently compared 700 autistic boys and 300 autistic girls and found that while the boys’ “abnormal communications” decreased as I.Q. scores rose, the girls’ did not. “Girls will have more trouble with social networks if they’re having greater difficulty with communication and language,” she says.
And so girls with autism and normal intelligence may end up at a particular disadvantage. In a new study published in May, a group of German researchers compared 23 high-functioning autistic girls with 23 high-functioning boys between the ages of 5 and 20, matching them for age, I.Q. and autism diagnosis. Parents reported more problems for girls involving peer relations, maturity, social independence and attention.

Autism - Mental Health and Disorders - Brain Development - Genetics - Girls - New York Times

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Oddly spaced handwriting could indicate a visual perceptual developmental delay

"When a student has a delay in the developmental visual perceptual skill of visual figure ground, they may not be able to space the letters within words adequately. First graders whose letters vary widely in size may not be aware of how their work differs from the model because of delays in the development of their visual processing skills. Students who put extra wide gaps between letters within words or between words within a line may also be attempting to cope with an underdeveloped set of visual perceptual skills."

Eye Can Too! Read: Oddly spaced handwriting could indicate a visual perceptual developmental delay:

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

If you can’t coordinate your body movements, you can’t coordinate your eye movements

Here's a clip from WOW Vision that I found very interesting in integrating body movements and vision therapy.

"There is a phrase that I heard when I first started here, and I’ve never forgotten it. “If you can’t coordinate your body movements, you can’t coordinate your eye movements.” I have found this to be so true. When a patient doesn’t have good control over simple body movements, then it is difficult to control the eyes in a coordinated fashion because all of the mind’s attention is on controlling the body, not the eyes.

Here at Wow Vision Therapy, we work on not only eye movements but body movements as well. We do something called “Chapters” which is a series of coordinated body movements that focus on being able to make the upper half of the body move in sync with the lower half of the body. As the difficulty increases with each Chapter, vision plays a more significant role in the successful completion of them by requiring balance or noticing simultaneous movements between the arms and legs. Just in the short amount of time I have been here I have seen many children graduate from the program that are less clumsy and are able to ride a 2-wheel bike now when they never could before. The coordination learned through the combination of vision and movement during the Chapters plays a significant role in this successful outcome."

EXCELerated Vision:

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Here's a Treat for the Visually Oriented

Here's some nice pictures of patterns found in nature.
Pattern Pictures
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Buffalo Model for Diagnosing CAPD subtypes

10.1371 journal.pbio.0030137.g001-LThe Ear and the Auditory Cortex Image via Wikipedia
The Buffalo Model is a conceptualization of auditory processing disorders (APD) based on the results of a three-test battery. Each test takes a different look at auditory processing and together they provide more than 30 indicators that help to identify APD and what types of problems it represents.

Prior to evaluation with the Buffalo Battery pure-tone thresholds, tympanometry and acoustic reflexes should be carried out to determine the status of the person's peripheral hearing and middle ear functions.  There are 3 tests that are used to determine which subtype of APD that a person belongs to:
  • SSW Test -
  • Phonemic Speech Test - focuses on the discrimination of individual speech sounds, the degree to which they are remembered effectively, and how such sounds are synthesized into word.  The great neuroscientist, Luria,  noted that these three functions are specific to the auditory cortex of the brain, where phonemic decoding takes place.
  • Speech-in-Noise Test - is used to analyze a person's understanding when foreground speech is competing with background noise in the same ear
The Buffalo Model is made up of four major categories:
  •  Decoding Category -  the brain has problems decoding sounds
  • Tolerance-Fading Memory (TFM) Category
  • Integration Category
  • Organization Category 
These categories can be mapped to different therapies:
  • Decoding problems:   Phonemic training, emphasizing individual speech sounds.
  • TFM problems:   Speech-in-Noise (SN) desensitization and Auditory Memory Training.
  • Auditory Organization problems:  Sequencing. Remembering Strings of Numbers
  • Integration problems: Dichotic Listening Training and some non-auditory approaches.
  • Localization of Sound problems:  Localization Clock Training
Buffalo Model for diagnosing CAPD subtypes

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