Monday, March 21, 2011

Update on Orthotics and Vision Therapy

Just got my orthotics and I feel like my balance has definitely improved.  I am pretty happy about feeling more grounded.  Got on the Wii Fit and noticed that my Center of Balance is definitely better.

Made my appointment for vision therapy for next week. Good to see Marianne again. She has got a few exercises up her sleeve to push me over the edge into three dimensional vision.  I am really looking forward to this.  I think I am very close but just not there yet.
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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hildegard and the Journey

As my gentle readers know, periodically I interrupt the science and the story of my neurons and  wonder about the why I am doing all this and the what of greater consciousness. 

I mean, there's got to be a point to it all.  As Shakespeare said, "Who would fardels (burdens) bear?"  So, I have been looking at different manifestations of the greater cosmos and have found the neuroscientists right there trying to relate the inner cosmos of our neurons to the cosmos.  I have seen the Buddhists, physicists and neuroscientists come together in discussions between the Dalai Lama and leading scientists and, of course, that makes me wonder about Western religions and their dialog with the inner and outer cosmos. 

Hildegard's preaching tours through GermanyImage via WikipediaHildegard of Bingen, Image via WikipediaA number of folks have been re-examining the life of Hildegard of Bingen, a medieval Catholic saint.  There's a movie coming out around the US this year.  Hildegard was a renaissance woman: nun, doctor, musician, artist, theologian, administrator, playwright, and mystic. She was the "Grandmother of the Rhineland mystic movement,"which included Francis of Assisi, Mechtild of Magdeburg, Meister Eckhart, Julian of Norwich (indirectly), and  Nicolas of Cusa.

In her writings, Hildegard examines the relationship between the inner and outer cosmos.  She sees the human body and psyche as "creation-in-miniature".   "God has arranged all things in the world in consideration of everything else."  We are interdependent with creation and should learn to live wisely within it.  Hildegard expresses her views not only through her writings but through her mandalas linking the personal to the cosmic through and through viriditas–the healing power of the Green. "Holy souls draw to themselves all that is earthy."

I, the fiery light of divine wisdom,
I ignite the beauty of the plains,
I sparkle the waters.
I burn the sun and the moon and the stars,
With wisdom I order all rightly.
I adorn all the earth.
I am the breeze that nurtures all things green.
I am the rain coming from the dew That causes the grasses to laugh With the joy of life.
I call forth tears, the aroma of good work. I am the yearning for good.

Hildegard of Bingen 1098-1179
Hildegard was also into herbalism and healing gardens. Many healing gardens have labyrinths.  I like to think of labyrinths as physical representation of the mandala... meditative walking through healing gardens.  By walking the labyrinths (otherwise known as the path to paradise or Jerusalem),  you can  directly connect the personal world to the physical world to the divine.

Maybe somewhere in here lies the point  to all the therapies that I have been doing.  By restoring my senses of vision, hearing, smell, balance, etc., I can experience the physical world much more fully, and though integrating experiences of the world with the personal world, I may be able to experience a much deeper spiritual world.  In my Journey through the Cortex,  I am walking my own labyrinth.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Painting at the Fleisher

Better version of Goethe-Color-Wheel.jpg, shar...Goethe's color wheelImage via WikipediaThis winter I have been taking two art classes:  on on color theory and the other on Painting Intuitively at the Fleisher Memorial Art Center. The Fleisher Memorial grew out of the Graphic Sketch Club founded at the turn of the century by Samuel Fleisher  for poor children in South Philadelphia

For most of my childhood, art class was a pretty painful experience.  I remember counting the minutes until the class was over. I made some really crappy, disorderly things.  Stuff that was just slapped together without rhyme or reason.

But, I thought with a new pair of eyes that I might try this art stuff out again as long as I honor a few limitations.  I decided not to do anything with drawing.  Copying things is not a strength and I need to do some occupational therapy for fine motor skills.  But I thought it might be good to cultivate some visual skills somehow.  Especially some higher order ones like perception. But maybe instead of trying to reflect the outer world directly, I would start thinking about my inner world.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Nice Story about an autistic woman who is a gymnast.

Kassiane Sibley is a vintage 1982 autistic woman who lives in the Pacific Northwest. She has spoken at conferences across the western hemisphere and is active in Autistic and neurodiversity advocacy. Kassiane "writes when she feels like it" at Radical Neurodivergence, has contributed to Ask And Tell, and has written numerous articles, as well as participated in several interviews. In addition to gymnastics and advocacy, she enjoys swing dancing, other dancing styles, tabletop role playing games, and neuropharmacology.

Read More  at...

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Game On For This Year!

Getting this year's game plan together.  In the middle of the hugga mugga with MIL, I somehow squeezed in some more assessments for myself:  hearing, vision, back, and hand.

HearingMany 18th c. treatments for psychological dist...Image via Wikipedia
I saw my audiologist, Maxine Young to start this year's plan for hearing.  This year, after I finish up vision,  I plan to really focus on hearing and get that straightened out.  After reviewing the results from Brain Fitness, Maxine thinks one of my big problems is working memory.  I was having a hard time with following complex multi-step instructions.  She thinks Cogmed will help with that and gave me a referral to a neuropsychologist who does this.  Cogmed is a software training program consisting of 25 computerized training sessions, each 30-45 minutes long, that exercise different facets of working memory.  Maxine is seeing if she can get the raw scores from Brain Fitness so she can look at different  errors and see if there is a pattern to them.  She is debating about whether I should do Fast Forward or simply review Brain Fitness again. 

Talked with Maxine about the emotional effects of Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) that she has seen with people in her practice.  She says that APD  can cause a lot of anxiety as people are on the alert thinking that they have missed something that was said or that people were talking about them behind their back -- which may or may not be true.  A lot of tension can build up in the head and neck muscles as people crane their heads as they strain to listen.  For some people, they can go quite over the edge and develop a hearing loss induced psychosis where they really aren't sure what is real and what isn't.  She even gets referrals from marriage counselors as one half of a battling couple is shouting, "I TOLD YOU" and the other half is swearing they never did!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Working memory: a better predictor of academic success than IQ? | SharpBrains

 "Working memory is the abilty to hold information in your head and manipulate it mentally. You use this mental workspace when adding up two numbers spoken to you by someone else without being able to use pen and paper or a calculator. Children at school need this memory on a daily basis for a variety of tasks such as following teachers’ instructions or remembering sentences they have been asked to write down."
 Bell curve and IQImage via Wikipedia
Working memory: a better predictor of academic success than IQ?
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