Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tracking My Development (nobody else has)

"Cognitive was first...when my eyes were open. I already had hearing. Then was social. Next was fine motor. Just wiggling. It has taken lots of therapy to get to the movement seen. Speech followed. It was only sounds. Finally gross motor."

It has taken me 12 years to get my hands moving to be seen in one frame. They hadn't been working together. My right was paralyzed and in my lap. Now I'm moving it. That's 12 years of research wasted! My right hand is still not great, but movement can be seen and discerned.

There has been order. Development closely follows the progression of childhood development. Skills may be attained fast or slow, though. When I say slow, that could be years. I believe that has to do with neural wiring available. Working on a skill creates wiring. So this process can take as long as a person takes to grow.

The left hand is the hand I am using to type. I used marbles to mostly get to what you are seeing. In the hospital, the over-bed table had a compartment tray. The activity nurse had a container of marbles in her closet. She put some marbles in a compartment on the tray. I'd move those marbles one by one to another compartment. An Occupation Therapist would know I was doing tactile exercise.

You can see that my right hand is coming along. I'm in no hurry, though. Right now it is able to move and is consistent. Next would be grasping objects. I do this a little bit now, but want to get better. (As of 4/4/2018, I mostly am. I use an inferior pincer grasp, or my thumb against the side of my finger.)

What you see now is typed with my left index finger. I use assistive technology on the computer, as in making capital letters. After arms might be legs, but I don't get physical therapy. I do what I can. That is more than nothing, but progress is slow. Walking will come eventually. A Physical Therapist would do it faster.

My speech wasn't tracked at all. I went from making sounds with private insurance to fully talking now? That area is weak. Talking fully came mostly in the hospital and nursing homes. I was a Medicaid patient there and did not receive any speech therapy. I'm now Medicare and continue not to receive any therapy. My speech will continue to get better, though, because I made environmental changes years ago. (Basically use my words...I gave up my communication board.)

I am going through all the steps of development. It's a pity it is not tracked. The government now says I'm in a coma, so I can't be followed. I don't think people are so gullible as to fall for that one. I don't look like I'm in a coma. 

I do my best to note everything I go through now, but there are gaps. There was absolutely nothing from 2002-2009. 2002 is when this started and 2009 is when this was published in a magazine The rest can be followed on here. 

I haven't even addressed the cognitive area. I don't want to even go there. This has mostly been physical. Like I said before, I had to get my arm going so I could express my thoughts. My cognitive skills are probably way off the charts.


UPDATED:  4/4/2018

Sunday, April 12, 2015

50 + 50

When I was little, my cousins called me Doogie Howser.

I already had the beginnings of genius, that first 50 in the 50 + 50. Pull-out in school started in the 4th grade. I was sent to the 6th grade for reading. Before that it was piano. I had heard people say "prodigy."

I moved when I was 15. I tried one high school and didn't like it. I started the next school year at a neighboring town's school. My school records had been lost, though. I was pissed. I took the test in December to get out of high school.

I started at the community college while still 16 right before my birthday. I had an AA by 18. That was in Business, but you will see I lacked focus. By age 19, I had a BA in Psychology. (Two different degrees during my undergraduate years- that's lack of focus!) I got my MA at 24 in yet a third area, Special Education. Degrees in three different areas show I wasn't focused. The first change can be common, but to do it again? I didn't know what I wanted or where I was going.

That above video is long, but I took something away from it...a prodigy alone does not make a genius. Something else is needed...grit, or focus plus drive and determination.

"Grit is a personality trait which is encompassed by a passion and resilience to achieve one's goals. Overcoming obstacles and hardiness are also components of this personality trait. A gritty personality could also be described as ambitious, tenacious, and having perseverance. High achievers and successful people who have overcome obstacles are often described as having grit especially if they come from humble origins." I would say that nearly being dead is a humble origin.
I became focused on myself when I had a severe brain injury. All that knowledge and skill were going there. This is where I probably get the second 50 in 50 + 50. I actually made a conscious decision to use existing knowledge and skills when I got out of the hospital. Only my family seemed to be aware of those skills.

My first caregiver was terrible with math. She needed to do her timesheets. I didn't have a calculator, and I couldn't use pen and paper. I figured her timesheets in my head.

I thought...for a brain injured person to get out of the hospital and live on his or her own, they will need a photographic memory and have excellent math skills. They will have to be a genius!


I'll add to what I have done....

After I got my BA, I started as a substitute teacher. In anticipation of my degree, I had already taken and passed the teacher's test. I taught, and then a few months later I was hired on full-time in this county I currently am in as an Employment Specialist for disadvantaged youth. The next year I was hired at Head Start as Parent Coordinator.

I left Head Start for a full-scholarship at San Francisco State University. It was to get an MA in Special Education with a concentration in Early Childhood Education. I ended up holding 2 P/T jobs while there; an after-school recreation specialist for special education students, and a night-shift care home supervisor. The home was an ICF/DDH so the standards were higher than typical care homes. The home was for children.

I graduated and had my first child that same year. I went to work for California's Regional Center system. This large organization is a state mandated service for the developmentally disabled. I was a Children's Service Coordinator. I was there 3 years.

I then went to UCP in the same city as a Program Manager of Early Intervention. I was there 5 years. By this time I  had both my children. I home-schooled them which can be seen as another F/T job.

I left for a small town high in California's Sierra mountains. I was a children's behavior therapist. In addition, I volunteered as an On-call Crisis Social Worker about every other month. I was also the vice-president of the Sierra County First Five. I taught a class on special needs children for a couple of weekends for the local community college.

I had my own brain event of which I shouldn't have recovered. I wrote this.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Hand Development

Less than a year ago I could press a button with my paralyzed hand. I documented it with a picture. Now I do more, and I document it with a video.

Certain signs are hard for me to do because some fingers are still wired together, neurons that fire together wire together, For example, my pinky is wired to my ring finger. When I make the 'W' sign (three fingers up) I have to use my other hand to hold my pinky down. Wiring together is temporary. As further wiring occurs, fingers individuate.

For the most part, my ring finger and middle finger aren't wired together anymore. Finger individuation is possible. Any difficulties I refer to an OT. The Occupational Therapist can work on next skills to be learned.
This next picture clearly shows my right hand as fisted. My fingers were wired together.

My fingers didn't stay wired together, but there is a great deal of time from the first picture to the video.

I make progression, but it is slow. I am still unconscious on paper, and this should be updated.