Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New News For An Old Year

HI everyone! I'm finally getting around to posting, in time for the last day of 2014! I have got lots of news for today!

First of all, my book With Love, From Angel is now officially available, and you can get it in a multitude of ways!

The full-color version is available on CreateSpace for $20, or Amazon for $18. You can also get it on Kindle for $7.00. But if you buy the hard copy on Amazon, you can also have the Kindle version for free!

The black-and-white version is available on Createspace for $10, or Amazon for $9.00.

If you buy it, let me know what you think of it!

I am also getting ready to start on my new book project, Our Amazing Brains. It is going to be by, about and for kids whose brains work in unique ways! I am hoping to find kids of all ages, who are either diagnosed with something like autism or ADHD, or who are undiagnosed but have minds that work a little differently than most. To participate, kids have to answer some questions about themselves (their parents can help as much as needed), add a photo or drawing of themselves, and show something special that they enjoy doing (it could be a photo of something such as a jigsaw puzzle or block tower that they've worked on, artwork they've created, a story they've written, photo of pets they take care of, a description of a hobby, etc. The sky is the limit.) I am hoping to be able to give each child a copy of the book, and if I make additional royalties somehow I am going to look for a way that I can share it with all of the young contributors. If you know of a kid that would fit well in this project, click the link!

In a rush of other news... Bro, Sunny and Squeak have been visiting! They got here on Christmas Eve, and are staying until January 3. We've been having a lot of fun! They've mostly been staying at my parents' house, but they also rented an apartment in the city for a few days, and I got to stay there with them. We went to the Field Museum, hung out in the city, and spent time in the apartment soaking in the hot tub and playing board games. (Bananagrams is my new favorite!)

I also got a haircut right before Christmas. (My mom cut it.) Here is a picture of my new haircut, and also wearing the new very colorful sweatshirt I got for Christmas that I have been wearing every day since!

So, 2014 seems to be ending pretty well for me. It will be interesting to see what 2015 will bring. Doesn't that sound so futuristic?

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you party hearty!

New Year Graphics

Monday, December 22, 2014

It's Almost Here!

I have fixed up my book, added two more chapters, gotten the front and back covers all ready, and uploaded it to my self-publishing website of choice. Now I just have to wait for them to review my files within the next 24 hours, and then soon after that it should be ready to go!

The bad news is that the book is going to cost a whopping $20.00, even though it is a short book, because it is full color on the inside. That is the rule of the publisher... a full color book costs more to produce. However, because I felt guilty for charging you guys $20.00 per book, I am also making a black and white version. The black and white version is still handwritten and includes all of the drawings and stuff, but it is just all in black and white. I really love bright colors, which is why I had fun creating the original version with all my colored gel pens. But I want it to be affordable to everyone. The black and white version is $10, which I thought would be more reasonable for those on a budget. I will also be offering a Kindle edition, for those of you who prefer e-reading!

I'm excited! I think you guys will like it!

I am already thinking about my next project, too. Since With Love, From Angel is geared more towards neurotypical adults who have children, family members or friends with ADHD or autism, the next one is going to be geared towards neurologically diverse children of all ages. I am going to invite kids to participate in it by contributing their artwork, stories, or descriptions of their special talents and projects, I have made a special page on this blog with more information about it. Here is a link to the page. You can also get to it by going up to the navigation bar and clicking on "New Book Project."

I am really excited about that project too! I do love writing. I am at my best when I have something like this to work on.

Okay, I will let you all return to your busy pre-holiday lives, for now! TTYL!

P.S. While searching for a picture to include with this blog post, I found out that when you type "Neurologically diverse" into a Google Image search, my picture comes up! That is kinda neat, huh?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Please Excuse The Delay

Hi everyone! I was hoping to have the book I'm working on ready by, um, two days ago, so it would be around in time for Christmas. Unfortunately, some complications have come up, both with the book (I like to write in different colors, but the bright pink ink I used on some of the pages does not translate to a scanned version) and in my personal life (I recently went through a traumatizing experience that, even though it only lasted about five minutes, was really upsetting to me and has been replaying in my head over and over ever since. I will write about it eventually, but because it involves my family, I just need some time to process it. A few days or weeks or something.)

So... I'm going to set a new date for the book, and maybe even add some more chapters to it! Here are the chapters I have so far: What I Wish People Knew About Autism, Aspergers In Females, My Answers To Things People Say About ADHD, Bullying, Responding to Bullying, What NOT To say To Someone With ADHD, Autism, Learning Disabilities, Mental Health Conditions, etc, Why Bother Getting DIagnosed, To Med Or Not To Med, Most Important Advice, and a quiz at the end. 

Please let me know if you have other ideas that you think belong in this book! So far it is only 70 pages (which feels a lot longer when you are writing it longhand!) so I'd like to beef it up a little as long as I'm taking some extra time with it! 

If anyone is interested in previewing what I have so far and letting me know which parts suck the most, I would be happy to send you the PDF file! 

In the mean time... I am going to take a short nap, as I am not feeling particularly well today. Goodnight!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

So, It's Official!

 Hi everyone! I haven't written in a few days. For the past two nights, I have been busy doing my autism evaluation. For those of you who didn't read about it or don't remember, a bloggy friend did something really awesome for me... she paid for me to have an evaluation with Tania Marshall, an expert in female Asperger's Syndrome. I have mentioned before that, although I was told I probably had Aspergers by a therapist, and have always identified with most of the things I read about it, I was never officially diagnosed. Because I have an imagination and some form of social skills, at the evaluation I did go in for about 10 years ago (it was at University of Illinois and was free) the psychologist didn't think I had autism, and diagnosed me with ADHD instead. Actually, Tania Marshall told me that about 80% of females with Aspergers also have ADHD, so, I guess it does fit!

So, for the evaluation, the first thing I had to do was write an "autobiography" with some of my memories from childhood. Then I had the "in person" evaluation, which was actually on Skype. She went over my autobiography with me and asked me some questions about it, asked me about the rest of my life, and about my family history and previous diagnoses and junk. 

Then, before the next day, I had to send her something creative I had done (I sent her one of the stories I wrote and showed her the books I've self-published on Amazon), take the RAAD test online and send her the results, and get someone close to me to write a paragraph-long description of my strengths and weaknesses. And finally, last night, I met with her again on Skype and talked some more about my experiences. 

Most of the things I told her, she said they were very typical of women with Aspergers, It was almost funny how everything I said (even the things I thought were unique to me, like how when I was a kid I used to sneak into the classroom bathroom to read when I was supposed to be learning math) was actually pretty common. 

Because Australia is upside-down from us, where she was it was a hot and sunny summer morning, and where I live it was a dark and chilly evening. Yesterday I had also spent the whole day at the Museum of Science and Industry with my dad, and I was really tired from walking around all day. So it was 10:30 at night by the time the session was coming to an end. Tania told me, "Congratulations! You have Aspergers!" She kept asking me if I had any questions, but unfortunately I was so sleepy at that point, I couldn't really focus my brain. I was just glad to hear that what I've always thought was true, was finally confirmed! 

One very interesting thing is, if you go to Tania Marshall's website, you can see that she has written a book about females with Aspergers, called AspienGirl. It makes reference to the "Planet Aspien." The description explains that many girls and women with Aspergers (even before knowing they have Aspergers) have spent their lives feeling like they were aliens from another planet. 

Hmm... sound familiar??? I told you I was an alien! 

The anticlimactic part was when I went downstairs and announced to my parents that I had an official diagnosis of Aspergers. They pretty much said, "Uh, yeah, so? We already knew that!" I tried to explain to them the difference between thinking and knowing. But they were too busy watching TV to listen. 

Some people balk at the idea of getting a diagnosis. I know of parents, in particular, who become very sad when they find out their young child has autism. I think in many cases people see a diagnosis as confirming that something is wrong with the person (or themselves) and that they will never live an ordinary life. For me, though, that is a moot point! I already knew something was strange about me, and I have already not lived an ordinary life. But ordinary has never been a goal of mine, anyways. I'd prefer extraordinary! And maybe, now that I have an official diagnosis, it can help me learn more and do more to move ahead with my life and be independent!

At any rate, I am officially an Aspie... an AspienGirl.  Maybe I've finally found my home planet!

I already said it and I'll say it again, a million thanks to my friend (I don't know if she wants to be identified so I won't blurt out her name) for making this possible for me! 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Cover

I mentioned briefly in my post yesterday that I am working on a book that is sort of based on this blog, that people could share with their non-blogreading friends and family members. I am hoping to finish it by December 15, which is in 8 days. (I'm a fast writer... plus a lot of the work is already done for me, since I am expanding on some of my blog posts!) 

The book is kind of different from usual books, because I am writing it in longhand, with different colors of ink, and illustrating it with my own little sketches. I want it to be like a letter I am writing to the world. 

I have already made the cover, and I thought I would give you a sneak preview! 

What do you think?

If you want to help me out, please tell me if there are any particular blog posts, or any other topics, that you would like to see in the book!

In other news, the first part of my evaluation for Aspergers is tomorrow, late at night. I will let you know on Tuesday how it goes!

I think I am going to cut this short because I have a wicked stomachache from drinking too much lemonade and eating too much flan! (A weird combination, to be sure!) 

Friday, December 5, 2014

No Particular Topic

This is a wayward post with no specific topic. I just wanted to give an update on a few things, so all of my thousands of twelve fans don't think I abandoned my blog! 

Okay. Last time I wrote, I told you about my idea for a learning center type place for neurologically diverse kids. I got lots of feedback from people who thought it was a great idea! I do seriously want to do it someday... maybe someday soon. This is the kind of thing that I wish I could just get up tomorrow morning and start doing. But there is a lot more involved. I don't even know all the things that would be involved! I'd at least have to get a building, get some sort of business license, do a bunch of advertising, and hire some people. I don't think the $209 I have in the bank right now would cover all of this! 

However, rest assured that it is definitely a long term plan. I've been thinking about it every day. In fact, if anyone has any advice on how to start a business, I'd love to hear it! I think I may still attempt to get a regular teaching job for this fall, hoping to work for a year or two to build up funds and credentials. But, who knows... if a job doesn't materialize, I might just put my plan into action earlier! 

Also, a few people have suggested that I should write a book. I am always working on my memoir, off and on. But I also got it into my head to write a book that is sort of based on this blog, that people could share with their non-blogreading friends and family members. So I am in the process of creating such a book. I say "creating" because it is more like an art project. I am writing it out in long-hand, with scratched out mistakes and everything, in different colored ink, with my own little illustrations. I want it to be really me, unedited, as if I am in the same room talking to the person. I am basically expanding on some of my blog entries about autism, ADHD, etc. 

My question to you is, what would you like to see included in this book? Do you have favorite blog entries you think should belong, or specific topics you think others would like to hear about? Let me know!

I hope to have the book finished by December 15. When you self-publish, you can really expedite the publishing process that way! So, it will be ready in time for Christmas, if anyone wants to give it as a gift! 

Meanwhile, I am nervous right now because tomorrow I have to take my grandpa shopping. I am not nervous about that part... he is fun to hang out with... but I am nervous about driving him. The whole reason he asked me to is because my grandmother has vertigo and cannot drive, and my grandpa is more or less blind. But I hate driving other people. I am very self-conscious about driving with other adults in my car. People can be very critical of others' driving skills. I am a safe driver, but I have poor depth perception and a terrible sense of direction. Plus I never know if others think I am going too fast or too slow, breaking too jerkily, etc. 

Only a handful of people have had the exciting privilege of riding as a passenger with me. One of them was my Auntie Em. Unfortunately, when I tried to back out of her garage the first time, I knocked the side mirror against the garage doorway. I told you I have bad depth perception. Other than that, it went pretty well though! The other people have been my parents for very short distances, and little kids who are too young to be backseat drivers. 

Also I have heard from my Aunt Bea, who gives them rides a lot of the time, and she says my grandpa yells at her a lot about her driving. 

So, yeah, something to be anxious about! 

So, I'm going to go scruffle up some dinner now, and I will let you know how it all goes!