The Road Ahead for the Blog–Part 1

I wanted to take a moment to look forward about where I would like to go with my Blog.

This assessment includes looking backward about how far I have come with my Blog.

Self-assessment is one of the gifts from my rehab.   After my accident and before I got to rehab, I had an immense difficulty learning from my mistakes.  When you cannot learn from your mistakes, you make the same ones over and over.   Making the same mistakes over and over again is very frustrating, to say the least.

I am grateful to rehab for giving me back the tool of self-assessment and new learning.  Having lost these abilities and having re-gained them, I am very aware of their value in my day-to-day life.

When I started my blog, my goal was to write a blog post once a week.   I have accomplished that.


Since September, I have written a post each week.   So that is roughly 8 months of practice doing a post once a week.

I must admit that doing that writing hasn’t been easy to add to my schedule.  But it has gotten easier with time, overall. On the rough weeks, I get my a post out by Sunday. On good weeks, I get it done earlier in the week.  But whether my blog post gets published on Tuesday or Sunday, I have been successful in getting one out every week.

Working something new in my schedule is always tough for me.  Its a piece of executive functioning that my brain is still working on.   And I have other things in my schedule that I need to stay on top of, like moving forward my son and family’s life and a lot of doctors appointments.  (I am still working on re-establishing my team of doctors here in Austin).   So managing all that takes a lot of work and compensatory strategies.  So that has been a tremendous challenge.   But I am managing it and it has gotten easier.

My process is usually to write a draft early in the week, give it a day or two, and then go back and edit it and finalize it.   That has been really helpful to let it percolate and go back to it.

Sometimes I realize that the topic I first wrote about isn’t what is compelling to me to write that week, so I start anew.

I had tried to post a picture on my blog.   I seemed to have dropped the picture around the holidays.   It was fun to do them and to think of the theme visually.   However, I haven’t learned how to post a picture, so I was dependent on someone else doing that piece for me.   Since it was hard enough coordinating my own schedule, I found needing to wait for someone else to help me with that piece was something I did not want to work on just yet.  It added to my frustration too much and I find I do better when I don’t do things that add to my frustration level.   I have enough frustration to manage with out adding more.

One thing that I have noticed is that I am not good at writing headlines.   I chuckled with I realized this.   I chuckled because as I reflected on whether this was a brain injury thing or not, I realized it may not have been a strength before my injury.   I recall my dissertation adviser, Kip Viscusi, telling me that I needed to learn how to write snappy headings for my dissertation.   While I remember when he said that to me, I don’t recall if I learned to write better headings after he made that suggestion.

And, one of the reasons I have difficulty with the title is that I typically sit to write one thought, and as I write I realize that that one thought is usually five thoughts.  Or that articulating the thought is much more complicated than I realized before I started writing.    So as I try to articulate the thought in a simple way, I sometimes forget to look as to whether the title syncs up with the body of the text.

Another thing that I am cognizant of, but haven’t yet figured out how to do, is make my blog more accessible.    I couldn’t use the computer for three years after my injury and still have to use compensatory strategies to use the computer.    So I am very aware that I want to make my website and blog as accessible as I can so that someone who has visual issues like the ones I have recovered a lot from, but still have, would be able to read at least some of my blog and website.

I reconnected with the accessibility community at SXSW.   I hope to get more help on improving my computer skills and knowledge to make using the computer easier and more efficient for me.   And to improve the accessibility of my website and blog.


Read More - The Road Ahead for the Blog–Part 1

Vision therapy — Part 1

Of all the therapies that I have had, I believe that vision therapy has helped me the most.

I wanted to write about vision therapy today because the NeurOptometric Research Association (NORA) is holding their annual meeting this week in Cary, North Carolina.

I wish I could be there.

Many of the speakers at the meeting will be discussing how vision therapy can help with recovery from persistent symptoms following mild traumatic brain injury/concussion.

Here’s the program:

A friend of mine, Cavin Balaster, is keynoting at the conference.  I am so excited for him.    He will be talking about how vision therapy has helped him with his recovery from a severe brain injury.

I first met Cavin about two years ago at a Brain Injury Association of Texas conference where I was speaking.   Like I said, Cavin had a severe injury after falling from a tower in Brooklyn, New York.  His recovery started with coming out of a coma.  His early recovery was at Mt Sinai Hospital in New York City.

I met Cavin after he was released from the hospital and inpatient rehabilitation.   He and his mom had returned to Austin to begin the next phase of recovery.

Like me, Cavin was doing vision therapy which he started in NYC.   By the time I met him, he was working  with Dr Denise Smith OD here in Austin who I had begun working with also.   Cavin and I bonded quickly as there are not many people who have been fortunate enough to know about vision therapy and who have experienced the improvements that come from it.

We also noticed, while eating lunch together with his mom, Kim, that we both were choosing what we ate quite carefully.  We both wanted to eat to support our brain injury recovery as best we could.

A month ago, I invited Cavin to join me to watch the Dewey Winburne awards at SXSW-Interactive.   The Dewey Winburne awards are awarded to entrepreneurs and technologist who increase accessibility worldwide.  The Dewey Winburne awards are very special part of SXSW for me.   My former mentor, Dr John Slatin, at the then-Institute of Technology and Learning at the University of Texas (now the Accessibility Institute) was very involved in the accessibility community here in Austin.  Dr Slatin had learned to overcome loosing his eyesight later in life, and he taught me a lot about compensation strategies in his life.  He also helped me launch my speaking career.  He motivated me to write about how I was improving after brain injury and my efforts to find rehabilitation and get back to work.   He told me that there was little information about how to return to work in the blind community and that he imagined there was even less literature about doing it in the brain injury community.    John also got me involved in contributing to making website accessibile for people with cognitive disabilities.

Here is info about the 2014 Dewey Winburne awards:

I invited Cavin to watch the awards as he is the first person that I know who has done a successful Kickstarter campaign to support his book about his recovery.   Many in the vision therapy community reached out to support his endeavor because of his enthusiasm and improvement and his passionate desire to help others.

I will talk about teh benefits of my vision therapy in a later post!

Read More - Vision therapy — Part 1