Saturday, July 30, 2011

Military Intelligence Looks for Integrative Cognitive Neuroscience Computer Architectures

I am going to to take a little side trip off of me and my therapies and think about other things relating to the brain.  My Gentle Readers know  I am all things about the brain and that periodically I go on rambles through various aspects of  other disciplines such as  technology, ecology, etc as they relate to brainSo, Gentle Readers pick up your hiking staffs and lets venture a little further afield from my latest therapies.
Results from an fMRI experiment in which peopl...Image via Wikipedia
I saw this article about military intelligence efforts to model the brain and particularly, for processing video.  For those of you not in the know about military acronyms.  IARPA is the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity research agency that reports to the Director of National Intelligence.  It was copied from DARPA the Defense Advanced Research Projects Activity that is part of the Defense Department.  In addition to basic research on purely military technologies, DARPA helped kick start things like the  Internet and GPS into being.

BBN – these days owned by US arms giant Raytheon – says it has won a $3m deal from IARPA to "explore how the brain processes massive amounts of fragmented data". The funding comes from IARPA's backronym-tastic Integrated Cognitive-Neuroscience Architectures for Understanding Sensemaking (ICARUS) programme.

Like its military counterpart (Darpa [sic]) , IARPA focuses on high-risk research: that is, on research which is unlikely to deliver anything (and if it does, as in the case of the internet, what it delivers may be something quite other than what was expected). Thus there's no great likelihood that we'll see brain-like computers able to interpret information as well as a human can in a few years as a result of yesterday's deal.

If we do, though, BBN believes that the new gear will help the US spooks with various tasks they struggle to achieve today – in particular that of getting useful intelligence out of huge video files delivered by various forms of overhead surveillance.

When I tool about the various proposals here, I really don't see anything that any type of sensory cognition be it visual cognition, auditory cognition, etc. to the higher order functions of sense making.  I am wondering how limited this approach will be.  It seems that some computer professionals have met up with neuroscientists and they are looking at all kinds of information processing models that vaguely seem like computer models thwacked on top of a brain and not much to do with how visual processing relates to higher order cognition.  Somehow, this is ignoring a lot of how the visual system operates to collect visual information.  It seems that people responding to this proposal are looking at the visual system as a pipe that dumps encoded representations of sight into a machine that will process the contextual information. 

Here is a developmental optometrist's view on pattern recognition

 I am wondering if there is something more in understanding the neural substrates of vision that would help out computer scientists with automating pattern recognition.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Organizing: I'm an Innie and My Husband is an Outie

As I said in a previous post, I am restarting my organizing kick.  I had started to organize myself before Interactive Metronome therapy but had to take a break during therapy.

As I talked about in a previous post, I feel much better and now want to do everything... that is, everything at once.   Sigh.  Now that is no way to be organized, is it? 

Time ManagementImage by Intersection Consulting via Flickrstatic vs dynamic time management systemsImage by fwconsulting via FlickrAlso, I am finding that my original organizing strategy is not working.  I had originally thought about organizing things before I started organizing time, (that is, finding a time management strategy that actually works).  I thought I could shovel the floatsam and jetsam of the tide of stuff leisurely at my own pace. Then, freed from the tyranny of stuff, I could think about creating a schedule and pick up the pace a bit.  My original strategy was not to get my schedule messed up because I have to take the time to find something.

Now, that I am excited about being able to do other things with myself like paint pictures and move my body in dance and exercise, I want to do other things and not just chores.   In fact, I think it is necessary to do some sort of rhythmic exercise in order to keep up the gains of Interactive Metronome.  So I don't want to spend all my time just shoveling the mound of stuff.

Being excited about doing things, while a wonderful feeling, actually interferes with organization.  For example, I am really excited about painting.  I am really excited about a couple projects and feel a biological drive to do them... like I'VE GOT TO DO THIS!  It is hard to calm down as I am really exhilarated at the thought of painting a couple pictures.  One will be a self portrait from a wedding picture.  Another will be a color field picture.  (I am so into relating to color emotionally and really like Rothko).  And, another will be playing around with gels.  But, have I done any of them yet.  No.  I just can't find the time to do it. So, I am a whirly gig of emotion.Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue?, 1966. T...Image via Wikipedia

I have errands to run and a few organizational projects like tackling the paper mess in our house, repairing some clothes, scanning pictures into the computer and organizing my computer that are also not getting done.  Also, not getting done.

The other problem is that I am not living along.  I have a husband who makes his own contribution  to the pile of stuff.  It is, if I may say so, a rather large and generous contribution to the pile of stuff.  We also have different organizational styles.  I am an Innie and Hubby is an Outie.  I am focused on putting stuff where I can't see it.  Hubby likes things out.   I wish stuff would stay in the closet.  Hubby wants his stuff outed.  For me, there are good reasons to stay in the closet. I have problems processing crowded visual fields... so if there is a lot of mess it is just hard on me to focus on things. TMI.  Too much information.  Literally. Also, I have found it is easier to clean when you are dealing with a flat plane.  The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain.  That is,  stuff stays in its spot and you can run by with a duster quite easily.  So I stuff things in drawers.  Not always organized but out of the way. Hubby views things quite differently.  He likes things out where he can see it and touch it.  He loves crowded visual fields as he is quite visually spatially oriented.  So what to do.

Many marriages have foundered on this basic question of how to organize stuff.  My husband and I have a good marriage and we don't want to be separated by stuff.  Yet, it does irritate us.  Fortunately, we look at each other's capabilities and try to make allowances for each other's weaknesses.  

So what to do.  I did write down most of the things to do in Toodledo on my iPhone.  For those of you not familiar with Toodledo, it is a great list manager with scheduling and alerts.  However, I don't think I am going to keep to today's list of things as I have lost something important and have to scurry about to find it.  So today's schedule is a bit pre-empted and I will have to resort and reorganize for Monday.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Antifreeze & Seaweed in Your Ice Cream? Oh, It's in There

Cherry ice-creamCherry Ice Cream Image via WikipediaAlthough I am trying to stick to water ice (which has its own set of issues when you eat out, especially with artificial colors and flavorings), I thought, given the heat and the tendency to increase eating ice cream, that this article was timely.

"Does your ice cream contain seaweed? Sounds like an ice cream flavor for Oscar the Grouch, but if your ice cream contains carrageen, it's got seaweed. Carrageen is a food additive derived from seaweed to keep ice crystals from forming and to give ice cream that thick, silken texture we all know and love. It replaces more expensive -- and fattening -- ingredients.

But seaweed isn't the only weird ingredient lurking in your ice cream. It also contains beans ...

Guar gum, derived from guar beans, is another common thickener found in ice cream, chocolate milk, buttermilk, and other thick 'n' rich dairy treats.

And while I'm at it, I might as well mention that there could be antifreeze in your ice cream as well. Propylene glycol is actually the less-toxic cousin to ethylene glycol (antifreeze), but it's often used to keep ice cream a little soft.

Antifreeze & Seaweed in Your Ice Cream? Oh, It's in There | The Stir:
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Drowning in My Own Nose

heck yea i do the neti potImage by * debris * via FlickrI've been faithfully stuffing my medicine (bupedisone) up my schnozz and scrubbing it clean.  However, I have to give my nose some down time after I play with it or else my nose runs a lot.  If my Gentle Readers remember, I am crawling on all fours each night, putting my head on the ground and snorting bupedisone.  I am also doing a nasal lavage and washing my nose with sudimed and honking out the gunk.  Using the sudimed is kind of like using a neti pot.  However, I don't get the yoga cleansing technique of Jala Neti.  

There are other types of nose scrubbing associated with yoga.  I don't think I am up for trying them and I'm not entirely sure about the efficacy or safety of things  like Dugdha Neti ( Neti with Milk) or Sutra Neti( Nasal Cleansing Using a Cord).  Other yoga techniques  "Seethkrama Kapalaneti") involve taking  saline solution into the mouth and, leaning forward, force it out of the nostrils.

I had quite an episode the other night.  I did my evening routine and snorted and honked.  I had thought I was quite thorough and laid down to go to sleep.  I turned to grab a cuddle out of my husband and I thought the oceans had sloshed out of their seabed.  Somewhere up in the ethnoid or frontal sinus, there was some left over liquid so that each time I turned my head, my sinuses sloshed.  Honestly, it was like having ocean tides in my sinuses!  There was an ebb and flow as if there was some sort of  moon beckoning the nasal tides. 

Then I started honking and snorting up such a fierce storm that my poor husband was kept awake past midnight.  We both started giggling so hard and howling each time I went into my honk fest.  Finally,
I evacuated to the guest bed to carry on.   My poor husband.  I think he married a goose.  

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Michael Phelps ADHD Swimming Lesson: Advice for Older Women with ADHD

Michael Phelps, the Olympic Gold Medalist with ADHD, has 8 pointers for older women with ADHD:

1. Find your passion
2. Set a goal that is good for you
3. Start somewhere, anywhere
4. Hyper Focus is a good thing
5.Do you trust
6. The mobilization to achieve your dreams
7. Add to a positive attitude
8. Keep swimming. Keep swimming. Keep swimming

Michael Phelps' ADHD Swimming Lesson – Eight Gold Medal Advice for older women with ADHD

Monday, July 25, 2011

Research Provides Important Insight Into ‘Systemizing’ Theory Of Autism

Major brain structures implicated in autism.Image via WikipediaA new study from Cambridge University has for the first time found that autism diagnoses are more common in an IT-rich region.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) funded study, published in the
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, has important implications for service provision in different regions and for the 'hyper-systemizing' theory of autism.
Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Director of the Autism Research Centre (ARC) at the University of Cambridge, led the study (which was conducted in the Netherlands) with Dr Rosa Hoekstra, a Dutch autism researcher based at ARC and The Open University.

The researchers predicted that autism spectrum conditions (ASC) would be more common in populations enriched for 'systemizing', which is the drive to analyse how systems work, and to predict, control and build systems. These skills are required in disciplines such as engineering, physics, computing and mathematics.
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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Getting an Organizer On Board

Hercules                                  Hercules
Space, the final frontier
These are our voyages
To Boldly go Where No One in Their Right Mind Has Gone Before.

Hubby and I have decided that we've had it with parts of our house which never seem to stay organized.  The Fifteen Minute Fling where we run around like mad for 15 minutes hurling stuff around is great for shoveling back  the tide.  However, it seems like it is an epic battle of Sysyphean proportions.  We get the house in order and the great stone of an ordered house rolls back down to the bottom of the hill crushing us under its weight. We Fling it back and the House Rolls Down Hill Again. Up/Down, Up/Down. 

Hubby grew up in a very organized house.  His mother was a veritable Martha Stewart, wise in the ways of the home.  Her home was immaculate and well ordered.  Unfortunately, he did not acquire his mother's habits.

I did not grow up in an organized home.  My mother was not Martha Stewart.  Somehow I always knew  that a home was not supposed to be run this way; roommates confirmed this.

Statue of Lord Shiva in Delhi                     Shiva Image via Wikipedia Well, I have decided to end the Eternal Cycle of Order and Disintegration -- there's a cosmic Hindu tale(think Shiva)--and have begun to plot the Herculean labor of cleaning the Aegean stables.   

 After a few arguments and a series of discussions of how the home is to be ordered and gaining some ground  and then losing some ground in pushing the household boulder up the hill, I decided to go for a home reincarnation and get an organizer to help appease the household gods and get the home organized.

We met our home organizer on Saturday and had the great walk through of the home.  We deliberately did not clean up for two reasons:  1) it is too hot.  We have had temperatures near 100 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius) and 2) there is no sense in misleading someone.  She needs to know the downside of our rather unsustainable efforts. 

Contrary to the task of Hercules, we are not going to have to clean it in a day.  But instead, we will space it out over a series of weekends starting in September.

The point is that we are not going to just clean the house but institute a system that we can adhere to.  Something simple as we can't cope with too much and we just don't want to do housework.  There.  I've said it.  We just don't like doing it. 

Social Media Time ManagementImage by Claudio Vaccaro via FlickrI think having an organized house and a system to keep it that way will help with Time Management.  Chores take longer when you don't know where things are.  We seem to waste alot of time on fumbling around just trying to start the matter at hand.  I have been thinking about executive function and no executive functions in disorder.  But, where to start: Time vs Space.  Eternal philosophical questions, eh?  I have done a little bit of Time Management with an iPhone.  So, now, I will choose Space, the final frontier.
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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dancing Bhangra and DDR Universe 2

Last night, I hornswaggled my husband into going to a Bhangra class.  Hubby usually hates dancing but he had such a good time at an Indian wedding that I decided to try him out in Bhangra.  Also, learning a new dance step would give me a sense of how well learing new dance steps in the real world would look like.Indian film dances usually follow filmi songs.Image via Wikipedia

For those of you not familiar with Bhangra, Bhangra is an Indian dance from the region of Punjab which is now shared between India and Pakistan.  Bhangra is a folk dance celebrating the harvest and like all good folk dances is pretty lively.  Like a lot of things, East meets West and  Bhangra's traditional strong drum beat is getting mixed with rock beats and hiphop.  If you saw the movie, Slumdog Millionaire, you'll get the idea.  If you didn't see the movie, here's a bhangra video.

Indian Bhangra dancers- One of the many perfor...Image via WikipediaWe had a lot of fun.  Bhangra involves a lot of hip shaking like Middle Eastern belly dancing and a lot of "drama" so you can really ham it up with seductive looks and "come hither"/"no, go away" arm movements.  I had a scarf with lots of jingling coins wrapped around my hips so whenever I shook, I made a lot of noise.   Hubby had a scarf tied around his chest so he jangled, too.  It's quite tiring so after a two hour lesson, we were pretty pooped out. 

I found I could keep up with learning new moves pretty  easily.  Unlike previous efforts at learning a dance movement, I wasn't zigging while I should have been zagging.   When the group was all going one way, I was with them.  I don't think I was quite on the beat as much as I should have been but I noticed a number of people in the class weren't either.  I did have some difficulty periodically getting my hands moving with one movement while my feet were doing something else.

Hubby was bouncing along to the beat and was having a lot of fun.   He jumped up and down and was waving his arms. Unlike other dance classes, he looked like he was having fun.  Maybe we will try zumba next as he seems to like bright spirited dances.   I don't think he has moved his body with such abandon and release since he was a child.

I have also been doing DDR (dance dance revolution) on the Xbox 360.  DDR is a lot more work as I do get feedback when I am not on the beat.  So I do less dance and more footwork just to stay on the beat.  I think I don't worry so much about being on the exact beat in real life class but DDR gives you the feedback when your foot doesn't hit the floor at the exact moment.  In order to start passing the dances in game mode, I am working through lesson mode in order to get my feet moving around a lot better.  At times I feel like a centipede who can't move because his feet are all going in the wrong direction.  Oh Well.   I keep the game programmed on basic and just try to keep hitting the beats with my feet. Well, maybe, like a lot of things, if I work at it, I will get better at it.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Great series of posts from Len Press about Stereopsis, 3D vision.  I was particularly struck by this passage about how stereopsis relates to spatial judgement, ie how you keep yourself oriented in space.

Stereopsis is also a quale that serves as a barometer of binocular efficiency, and a compass of sorts when it comes to spatial judgment.  In today’s terms we might say that it’s an important feature of the visual system’s GPS (Global Positioning System).
Here’s one practical example.  I was walking down the block this morning and heard the sound of jackhammering in the distance.  My attention was drawn to a work area in the region of the red awning, which is the building that I wanted to enter.  Is the work being done at the entrance, so that I would be better served by entering the rear of the building?

If you have excellent stereopsis you can make that judgment from a considerably greater distance than if your stereoscopic localization is poor.  Coarse/qualitative/magno pathway or second order stereoscopic judgment is what we’re talking about here.  Booklet tests of stereopsis like RDS figures or Wirt Circles yielding fine/parvo pathway/first order stereoacuity won’t necessarily be a good index of your judgment here.

As you draw nearer to the building, particularly if your stereopsis failed you at a distance, the fact that the work area is beyond the red awning becomes much more obvious.  If the work area was indeed within the red awning, it may have been only a nuisance that you walked an extra block to find this out, and would have to backtrack and re-route to the rear entrance of the building.  If you’re driving, and you have to make an analogous judgment, getting it wrong may cause you to stop short or swerve into the next lane to avoid encroaching on the work space.  Now your compromised stereoscopic perception can be a potential road hazard to other drivers instead of a mere nuisance.

For The Whole Series on Stereopsis, see the following:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Vision Therapy and the Budweiser Dog

I wasn't sure how to use the Variable Tranaglyph kit for home therapy so I made an appointment with my vision therapist to go over things.  She ran a little baseline test with HTS software to see how I am doing.  This test is being projected on the wall from the computer so that it is closer to real space as opposed to the normal use of a computer screen.   I am doing so-so with Base-In:  14 correct and 12 wrong. Some of this is to be expected as I am focusing on a wall at a distance.  When you are focusing on a wall, your eyes will want to diverge as opposed to converging.
 Spuds MacKenzie in an adImage via Wikipedia
However, I am doing great with Base-Out:  60 correct with 3 errors. I am Spuds MacKenzie, the Budweiser Dog.  You know, the bull terrier with the big nose and the eyes on each side of its head.  

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Griffin Hammis LLC

Interesting company in Montana, Griffin-Hammis Associates.  that works with customized employment for people with disabilities. As defined by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability and Employment Policy (ODEP):  “Customized employment means individualizing the employment relationship between employees and employers in ways that meet the needs of both. It is based on an individualized determination of the strengths, needs, and interests of the person with a disability, and is also designed to meet the specific needs of the employer.

Customized employment involves:

  • Identifying specific job duties or employer expectations that are negotiated with employers;
  • Targeting individualized job goals to negotiate based on the needs, strengths, and interests of the employment seeker;
  • Meeting the unique needs of the employment seeker and the discrete, emerging needs of the employer;
  • Starting with the individual as the source of information for exploring potential employment options;
  • Offering representation, as needed, for employment seekers to assist in negotiating with employers;
  • Occurring in integrated, non-congregate environments in the community or in a business alongside people who do not have disabilities;
  • Resulting in pay at at least the prevailing wage (no sub-minimum wages);
  • Creating employment through self-employment and business ownership;
  • Facilitating an amalgam of supports and funding sources that may include Workforce Investment (One-Stops/Career Centers), Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), Medicaid, Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs), Schools, Social Security (SSA), families, and other partners coordinated in ways to meet the needs of the individual

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Saying GoodBye to Flat Land

As my vision improves and I gain more depth perception, I am leaving a world that is defined by shapes and entering a world that is defined by mass and space.  It is an interesting adventure.  I always thought that I would be completely happy to leave Flat Land but now I am having some second thoughts.  Not that I am going to give up the quest for 3D vision and depth perception but I do have a sense that there haven't been advantages to living in Flat Land.  Unfortunately, I haven't taken advantage of them or realized that they could be advantageous.

A cyclops with a gunImage by quinn.anya via FlickrFor one thing, if you have monocular vision , you can see shapes quite nicely and, in fact, better than the average person.  Flat Land is Shape Land, where the world presents itself as a collection of shapes.  If you see the world as a collection of shapes, you are supposed to be able to be a superior draftsman.  Alack and Alas! I don't have the motor skills to capitalize on this skill. So I have carried these images around in my head and have never put them down on paper.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Focus! FOCUS!!!

We often go wandering around the next town over from us called New Hope, an artsy fartsy community and paid homage to our favorite store, Topeo.  Topeo is a gallery of fine American Arts and Glass Art.  It is truly an AMAZING place.  However, Topeo is more than a store and is really a fantasy land in glass.  Please go to the gallery on the website to see pictures of the wonderland.  

It is even more interesting now that my eye sight is improving and I could see a lot more of the curvature of the glass and see the various objet d'art pop out at me.  I also just had my first 3D moment with a person.  There is a very pretty salesgirl and all of a sudden her head popped out as all the glass was popping out at me.    Needless to say, this was all very jarring.  I mean, it was really cool. But kind of bothersome at the same time. 

Of course, this all happens as she is talking to me and I am supposed to be looking somewhat normal having an everyday conversation.  Part of me was just having my eyes dart all over the place.   I'm revelling in the new sensation even as I am a bit discombobulated.   And then another part of me is like Focus! FOCUS!  FOCUS!!!!!  Look at her Eyes and PAY ATTENTION!!!  She doesn't know what is going on and you are going to make her feel uncomfortable.  So, I got my eyes off the glass and her head and put them gently on her eyes and we continued our conversation.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Update on My Hearing

I've been noticing a number of things going on with my hearing that I thought I'd like to share.

Prior to this last round of Interactive Metronome (IM), I have noticed that I have been having problems hearing consonants.  When I did my last bit of Brain Fitness, I noticed that I could not detect many of the swoops in the 500 Hz range as the program progressed.  I could do fine on the early round of 500 Hz swoops but on the later round of 500 Hz swoops, I couldn't hear the swoops at all.  500 Hz is very important as it is the range for many consonants.  When you can't hear the swoops, you can't hear the articulations that distinguish between say dah and gah.  I just don't always hear consonants correctly.

When I went to my high school reunion, I had a funny misunderstanding with some one.  She was saying that she worked for the Royal Bank.  To my ears, it sounded like the World Bank where I had worked many years ago.  So I started chatting on about the World Bank and she was chatting about her experiences at the Royal Bank and we were happily misunderstanding each other until I realized that she was talking about a Bank in New York City and I was talking about a Bank in DC.  Whoops.

On the other hand, after this round of Interactive Metronome, when we went to a wedding reception, I found I could hear a lot better in noise.  It was a very noisy Indian wedding with lots of really Bhangra music.  Previously,  I would be asking people to repeat themselves a lot in such a noisy environment.   This time, I only had to ask once during the whole evening.

Also, I think my sensory processing has gotten much better.  Before IM, I would have wanted to leave the party early.  In the past, processing too much noise has overwhelmed me.   I think bhangra music would have just exhausted me. 

Dancing to the music at the wedding was a lot of fun.  I think I kept time pretty well with the Western Beat but at times, the Bhangra beat was hard to follow.  Bhangra has a lively rhythm for example, One. One. One. Ah-ha. One. One. One. One. One. One. Ah-ha. Ah-ha. One. The groom started to dance with me and wanted to clap and slap my hands to the beat.  I couldn't get the motion together so we just stuck to slapping hands.  Even that got messy at times. 

So, the beat goes on.  I'll keep you posted.

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Jumps in Vision and Interactive Metronome and Bucks County Architecture

I have noticed that my depth perception has taken a big jump up since I did Interactive Metronome (IM).  I don't know whether this is a bit of serendipity since I have been doing some eye exercises in free space that are designed to  help with fusion and relaxation of the eyes or whether IM helps with timing and information processing and that helps both the eye muscles and the higher order functions of perception.

I am really starting to see buildings and trees as mass, as big dimensional objects that have weight to them.  Also, the various additions, dormers, and cornices really stand out.  I live in beautiful Bucks County which is filled with old Pennsylvania fieldstone homes and walls from bridges and ruined mills.  As I go by these homes, I can really see the modulations in the coursed stonework stand out.  The walls aren't just brown multicolored planes but bumpy texture.

When white settlers first came to Bucks County, they built a lot of log cabins some of which still remain.  I can now see the filler between the logs as relatively flat and the logs stand out from the filler.  Before I just would have seen brown and white stripes making up the cabin.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Kicking Organization

I am restarting my organizing kick.  I had started to organize myself before Interactive Metronome therapy but had to take a break during therapy. 

As I talked about in a previous post, I feel much better and now want to do everything... that is, everything at once.   Sigh.  Now that is no way to be organized, is it? 

Also, I am finding that my original organizing strategy is not working.  I had originally thought about organizing things before I started organizing time, (that is, finding a time management strategy that actually works).  I thought I could shovel the floatsam and jetsam of the tide of stuff leisurely at my own pace. Then, freed from the tyranny of stuff, I could think about creating a schedule and pick up the pace a bit.  My original strategy was not to get my schedule messed up because I have to take the time to find something.Time ManagementImage by Intersection Consulting via Flickr

Now, that I am excited about being able to do other things with myself like paint pictures and move my body in dance and exercise, I want to do other things and not just chores.   In fact, I think it is necessary to do some sort of rhythmic exercise in order to keep up the gains of Interactive Metronome.  So I don't want to spend all my time just shoveling the mound of stuff. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A More Inclusive Work Force

In recent years, there has been a dramatic rise in the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (A.S.D.). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 730,000 people in the U.S. under age 21 have an A.S.D. It’s much harder to estimate the number of adults on the autism spectrum because only in recent decades has the condition been regularly diagnosed.
Some companies are designing whole work environments to accommodate people with differences.
What is clear is that almost all people with A.S.D. — which is four to five times more prevalent among males than females — struggle to find work where they feel comfortable and valued and where their abilities are well used.
In the coming years, there is going to be a wave of young people with A.S.D. graduating from schools and embarking on careers. It will take significant changes in workplaces across the country to accommodate them.
There is much to learn. On Friday, I reported on a Danish company called Specialisterne, which can supply a piece of the answer. Specialisterne trains people with autism to work as consultants in large companies where they excel at jobs like testing software and managing data. The model has inspired similar initiatives in a variety of countries, including the U.S. Thorkil Sonne, the founder, notes: “There are so many people who do not fit in today — who have skills but cannot find a way to make use of their skills.”

A More Inclusive Work Force

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Thoughts on Finishing Second Round of Interactive Metronome

I finished my second round of Interactive Metronome (IM) last Friday. On the assessment most of my scores were between 30 and 50 milliseconds except for toe tapping which scored 80 milliseconds. I'm not too worried about toe tapping because in the exercises it was running around 50 milliseconds. During the exercises, I have been running mostly 30 and 50 milliseconds which puts me in the good range. Overall, I have improved 44% since I started this round of IM. I think that I have improved about 150% since the very beginning of therapy.  Literally.Metronome 3Image by nigel_appleton via Flickr

My therapists have noted that I seem a bit less robotic and a lot more fluid in my motions. So that's a good thing. I have one more round of IM scheduled for later in the year and then we will probably move on to Captain's Log. I have been thoroughly exhausted by IM and have been spending my time lumping about or sleeping after each session. When I finally finished IM, I was still pretty tired for a few days afterwards. Also, I started feeling a little bit mentally wifty after IM but that has worn off. Tinnitus also flared up a little bit but is wearing off. I went back to using my sound oasis for a bit or listening to a relaxation tape.

My last week of IM was spent in that never never land when you are too tired or worn out or sick to do anything but you aren't able to sleep or have just slept too much. I was so tired my eyes were worn out and I couldn't read. You try clapping your hands or tapping your toes for 30 minutes straight. So, I listened to music, relaxation tapes or listened to a course on counsciousness by John Kihlstrom on Itunes. It was pretty interesting and I will be blogging on it anon.

After IM, I do feel a lot mentally sharper-- I don't know how to describe it. But I feel like I am clearer and somehow that, for the first time, my body is starting to function the way that it is supposed to. I have noticed that my depth perception has improved dramatically.  My hearing has improved somewhat.   More about that anon.

On the one hand, I feel like running out and doing all these things. I am thinking that since my body is now responding in a normal range, that I'd like to run out and play tennis and the violin and piano and dance.  I'd like to do more things with my hands to see how they really are working together.  I'd like to  I have recently painted a picture and have gotten more involved with a church group. On the other hand, I feel like I want to do all these things and am not well organized. I want to do everything at once and I want to make up for lost time. I will be blogging more about getting organized as well.

On the one hand, I feel like I am very mentally clear. On the other hand, I am starting to notice when my attention drifts and that is not what I really want to have happen. It's like I'm herding sheep and a bunch of them are straying and I have to stop and lasso them back into the herd. I do get back on track but I start to think that maybe those sheep should never have left the pack in the first place.

Well, I will have the next two months off.  I have my post assessment chat in six weeks and then we will be scheduling the next round of IM. 

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