Archive | April 2019

First Day Back At Swimming

Last Thursday, I went back to swimming in five months. I had to stop for the winter. It felt really good to get back in the pool. My instructor has me using one noodle that’s really buoyant, and it seemed to really help me. Let’s lay out the progress I have made getting over my fear of swimming over 15 years:

  • 2004: Horrible fear & using an Aqua Jogger
  • 2005-06: Swimming with no floatation devices & just my gym teacher
  • 2007: Calmer in the pool
  • 2011: Fear minimizes & swimming in deep end with only two noodles and my teacher. I’m more relaxed in the water, but I still don’t have the capability to use goggles
  • 2018: I start swimming at the YMCA. Now I’m starting to be able to use goggles

 

I have made tremendous progress with swimming over the last 15 years. I can’t wait to see what 2019 brings!

Another Story of Inspiration: Soul Surfing with a Swimming Goal

“Spring has sprung. The grass has ris. I wonder where the flowers is.”

Although I am not a heat lover, I enjoy being a waterbug. I had a fear of drowning growing up, but I always dreamed of participating in water sports like snorkeling, swimming, boating…I have always had a profound interest in going snorkeling.

There were just two problems with that: 1) I couldn’t swim, and 2) I had a lot of masks. Every time I went underwater, I came up with water in my mask, causing my body to flail all over the pool!

But, did that end my snorkeling dream? No.

I encourage you guys to watch the movie Soul Surfer. It’s about a girl that was a surfer, loses her arm in a shark attack, and she eventually goes back to surf in Regionals. She went on a retreat to another country and while she was there, she taught kids about surfing out of love. How many acts of love do we see nowadays?

Now, I have a dream that I would like to pursue. It’s snorkeling. Did I fail a hundred times? Yes! Of course I did! But last year, I went back to swimming after eight years and I was able to use goggles for the first summer. So now, I’m like, “Is this dream pursuable?” I have a great instructor. Maybe he can help me.

I may have sunk a thousand and one times, but maybe this time, I’ll sail.

An Amberley Snyder-Inspired Post

Who is Amberley Snyder? Here, watch this YouTube video of her: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7pGEYL0jYU.

I have a confession to make. When I was little, I had so much drive to be as independent as possible. I had a dream of being a firefighter like my grandfather was. I also wanted to be an astronaut (but what little kid doesn’t dream of being those things?).

I went for my Associate’s and then, I got my Bachelor’s in psychology. After that, I got my paralegal certificate. So, as you can imagine, school took a lot out of me, and I took some really tough classes. Now that I’m done with school, I’ve started to work on myself again. It’s not easy, but I need to try to regain some strength and muscle control.

I look at the amazing Amberley Snyder and I ask myself, “Even in my late twenties, can I still become a rodeo queen like this beautiful American icon is?” I’ve begun stretching again, lifting weights, and taking walks.

I may be shooting for the stars, but maybe someday I’ll land on the moon.

A Walmart Experience

Yes! Walmart is my favorite store. I don’t wear trendy clothes, buy fancy Michael Kors bags, or buy fancy shoes (Ick! I dread shoe shopping!) But I love, love, love Walmart merchandise…and the people as well.

I went to Walmart this past Wednesday and I was shopping in the clothes aisle. While I was shopping, there were two store associates and they were signing. It turns out that the one associate was deaf. Now, my signs are minimal, but I know more than people realize.

So I sign, “What’s your name?”

He signed his name. But because my signs are modified, I had to type the rest of the conversation out.

It was pretty neat to have a conversation with someone else in sign language.

AAC Devices for the Visually Impaired

This is probably the last idea for a revolutionary invention that I have, but what about an augmentative communication device for the visually impaired?

I think that there needs to be a way to put braille on an AAC device. Not everybody that has a speech impairment can see. I mean, raised letters were used before braille, but I can’t imagine them on an AAC device. I think that braille would work better on a computer screen.

Again, it’s just my idea. What do you think? Helpful, not helpful or the tip of the iceberg?

 

AAC Device Idea

An augmentative communication device is a wonderful idea. I use one and I love it. I have always pondered, “How would I advance it? What feature would I add to it? What group of disabilities would this accommodate?”

Well, I am proposing a speech-to-text feature on every AAC device to help those with hearing impairments, or those like me that are just auditory and visual learners. It would be like the phone for seniors that when the person on the other side speaks, the conversation is transposed into written text. It would be great for meetings, school or normal conversation. And then, there would be a ‘Save’ button for saving the conversation and the text would be able to be made smaller or larger.
What do you think? Helpful, not helpful or the tip of the iceberg?

Article: Something I Would Like To See Get Invented

Now, don’t take me as the 21st century Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton or Stephen Hawking.  I’m not that scientifically knowledgeable. If I didn’t have cerebral palsy, I’d probably be a historian, horseback rider or an artist. Nor do I understand economics.

However, I do understand therapy. I’m writing my invention idea from a therapeutic standpoint and personal standpoint. So what can I bring to the table to assist a person with a disability?  What type of disability would my invention assist?

I’m proposing a body controller for people with movement disorders that are confined to a wheelchair.

“Heather, you’re crazy. It’s virtually impossible to invent something to help someone with a movement disorder. The best treatments are medicine and exercise.”

Yes, the best treatments for a movement disorder are medicine and exercise. But what about those confined to a wheelchair? Could a body controller help those that are wheelchair-bound? I’m imagining almost like a body brace that would fit on an electric wheelchair and it would also support the limbs. When the person has good body movements, it gives less support. When the person has bad body movements, it gives more support. This would be done with a button. My hope is for this to teach those with severe movement problems better body control so eventually, they gain some independence.

What do you think? Helpful, not helpful or the tip of the iceberg?

Second Post for the Day

Hey guys.  Someone earlier this week e-mailed me a link to share about adaptive driving.  Here it is: https://sellmax.com/assistive-technology-in-cars/.

If anyone has more links that I can share, please e-mail me.  I may write some articles and share them myself.  I want to share some revolutionary ideas that I have, but I am not involved in scientific research so it’s not easy.  But please look for them.

Thank you

A MEGA Apology

I am so extremely sorry that I haven’t gotten to blog.  Let’s just say that a lot of personal things are going on.  I miss blogging, I do.  So, let’s see.  Again, I apologized for not being able to blog.

I’m reading my e-mails and I got a sweet e-mail from a fifth grader inviting me to speak to his class about the challenges that I overcome on a daily basis.  The class saw this website and hopefully, I will get to do this.  It would be a true honor, for me, my family and the past and future community of those with disabilities if I did this.  I wonder if this could open a public speaking pathway for me.  I would love to see where this leads me.

I have to see if I could do this.  I’ll keep you posted.