Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Myrna Orleck-Aiello did a presentation at the Techology and Persons with Disabilites Conference 2005 in California titled "Employment Outlook for Individuals with Disabilities."
Below her contact information, I have posted six paragraphs taken verbatim from her presentation. Following that is the link for the website where you can find her complete speech. A very interesting read and truly inspiring thoughts! ~sapphoq healing tbi

Employment Outlook for Individuals with Disabilities
Presenter(s)Myrna Orleck-Aiello

TCS Associates11410-P Georgia Avenue
Weaton, MD, 20902
Phone: 301-942-9766
Fax: 301-9429-9110

Myrna Orleck-Aiello is the author of all that follows. I post it here in hopes that you will check out the rest of her presentation. The words are hers, not mine. Enjoy!

We are often confronted with a broad spectrum of misconceptions and doubt when we use the word "disabled." I am here today to shatter prejudices. To me, ignorance and fear are unquestionably the greatest of disabilities. I strive to replace this lack of knowledge with insight. I aim to change fear into hope and promise.

A person with a disability seeking employment has undoubtedly already surmounted character-forming obstacles and comes armed with courage, determination and dedication.

When faced with a disability, options are clear. All of us learn very early how to go about our lives constantly finding or creating alternatives and taking those abilities we do have to a higher level. My father often reminded me of the wondrous compensating attribute which is the human mind.We also learn very early that success comes only with patient and dedicated hard work. Nothing comes effortlessly as we try to overcome our specific disability. But success will come, and along with it a deep indelible sense of accomplishment, improved self-image, and most of all an embedded conviction that hard work without doubt brings the rewards we seek.Such formative years make courage second nature, for without it we are lost. Courage is our companion every day of our lives, supporting attitudes, pushing us to dream, and helping us conquer space, time, doubt, and also our fears. And it's also the key to our aspirations. The men and women among you living with disabilities are the most daring dreamers, and I stand before you as a testament to the fact that our dreams and ambitions are LIMITLESS.

Each one of us is born with different talents, different skills. Most people are born with five senses. They say that when you lose one sense the others compensate for it. In my case, I think the compensation I got for my deafness was common sense. Certainly I think that families and friends of disabled people underestimate that extra sense. They undervalue what persons with disabilities can do and they certainly do not always believe that they have as much to offer society as everyone else. Persons with different and alternate abilities can be worthwhile productive members of the economy and job market.

Changing attitudes begins with providing opportunities. Words alone are too often relegated to the filing cabinet. ACTION is needed now. We not only need workers with disabilities, but we need people with disabilities to occupy leadership roles and policy-making positions. Only then will the interests of these minorities be for and by the minorities.In the private sector, opportunities will come through education and training. Corporations must be made aware that there are tools available right now, that allow disabled workers to perform at the same level as their peers.

The miracles of the universe will bloom for those who dare to dream. In the words of Helen Keller, "I am not afraid of storms for I am learning to sail my ship." I am a woman, I am disabled, and given the right tools, Not only will I see, but also seek. Not only will I hear, but also listen. Not only will I speak, but my words will carry wisdom. Not only will I go the distance, but also go the extra mile."


Sunday, September 24, 2006

TETRIS 9/24/06

Tetris is one of my favorite games. I started playing Tetris on the advice of a friend after my car accident. As I concentrated on getting the little pieces to stack up, I was working on things like increasing my attention span and learning how to compensate for my vision-related perceptual difficulties. I found a wide-screen hand-held model. Anyone with a traumatic brain injury might consider trying Tetris.

For those of you who want to read about the history of Tetris and a bit of controversy surrounding it, here is one link: .

sapphoq healing traumatic brain injury

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Sleep Apnea Strongly Linked to Depression

sapphoq healing tbi says: Here's some stats for those of you who have not heard me repeat them a gazillion times before:
The most common area of injury to the brain in a t.b.i. is the left frontal-temporal lobe region-- the region that is responsible for the regulation of seretonin reuptake and is thought to be involved in major depression.
50% of all patients with a diagnosed traumatic brain injury also have a sleeping disorder.
33% of all mental health outpatients have an UNDIAGNOSED tbi.

If you have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and are suffering from irritractible fatigue, get to an ear-nose-throat specialist and get screened for sleeping disorders. I am glad I did!

Article pasted from

Sleep Apnea Strongly Linked to Depression

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Sept 18 - Sleep-related breathing disorder (SRBD) has a robust association with depression, according to results of a longitudinal study funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine for September 18.

Based on their findings, the investigators advise that, for patients with SRBD, "Medical treatment (eg, continuous positive airway pressure therapy) or behavioral modification of SRBD (eg, weight loss) may help mitigate or prevent depressive symptoms."

While cross-sectional studies have suggested a relationship between the two disorders, there have been no population-based, longitudinal studies of SRBD assessed by polysomnography as a risk factor for depression, according to lead investigator Dr. Paul E. Peppard and colleagues, based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study started recruiting subjects who were employees of state agencies aged 30 to 60 years in 1988. Subjects were scheduled to undergo overnight polysomnography every 4 years.

Degree of sleep-related breathing disorder was defined according to apnea-hypopnea index (none = 0 events/hour, minimal = 1 to 4 events/hour, mild = 5 to 14 events/hour, and moderate or worse as 15 or more events/hour). Assessment of depression was based on Zung self-report depression scale and with antidepressant use.

The study cohort was comprised of 1408 participants with 3202 sleep studies.

The authors observed significant dose-response trends of increasing risk of depression with increasing SRBD severity. After adjusting for age and gender, the odds ratio of depression when compared with no breathing disorder was 1.6 for minimal SRBD, 2.0 for mild SRBD, and 2.5 for moderate or worse SRBD (p value for trend < 0.001).

Fully adjusted longitudinal data showed that a two-category transition (for example, from no SRBD to mild SRBD) was associated with an odds ratio for depression of 3.3.

The risk of depression was not altered much by adjusting for other cofactors, such as daytime sleepiness or use of benzodiazepines, Dr. Peppard's team reports. Nor was the association between the two disorders reflective of specific components of depression.

Dr. Peppard's team speculates that, "If SRBD is causally related to depression, it seems likely that pathways initiating with cardinal features of SRBD, for example, sleep fragmentation and intermittent hypoxia, are involved."

Arch Intern Med 2006;166:1709-1715

Thursday, September 14, 2006

CSIndy: Personal space (September 14, 2006)

CSIndy: Personal space (September 14, 2006): "Personal Space
Spirit of the 'now' "
by Chrissy Roller

As a 12-year-old, Patrick Jones was on a swing when its chain broke; he fell down, head-first, and broke his neck. Decades and seven additional concussions later, cumulative damage has left the Scotsman with a traumatic brain injury.
"Once you have one, you're more likely to have another," he says. "A subsequent, lighter concussion can cause more damage than the initial injury."
Jones experiences chronic vertigo, fatigue and difficulties with attention deficit. He explains his condition as an inability to tune into one television channel; instead, he receives all the signals at once.
To avoid too much brain stimuli, Jones lives a bit like a hermit in Green Mountain Falls with his wife and 3- and 5-year-old daughters. His desire to keep things simple extends to his dress; he wears a kilt because it is "the most practical, comfortable garment a man can wear."
Yet Jones also creates detailed, fine art canvas prints fusing photography and poetry. Later this month, he'll debut his "photographic poetry" at the Brain Injury Association of Colorado's State Art Show in Vail.
His artwork attempts to capture 'the spirit of the 'now''; since he lives with short-term memory loss, Jones has no choice but to be solely in the present at all times.
"I have the time and space to discover and play with whatever God's trying to bludgeon into my brain at this moment," he says.
Still, for a husband, father and artist, some days are harder than others.
"It's hard to be around my daughter because of the toddler energy," Jones says. "I usually remember the concept of, OK they're toddlers. But on hard days, I have no idea."
He feels he has "maximized therapy from the medical world," so he has turned to sadhana therapy, a contemporary alternative method that mixes yoga, chiropractic care, and deep-tissue massage, or Rolfing.
"It's like living in a Category 5 hurricane," he says. "But with therapy, it's a Category 4.5."

— Chrissy Roller

sapphoq healing tbi says:
Rock on Patrick Jones!!!
I have experienced many of the same difficulties as Patrick Jones from my own traumatic brain injury. I have also found creative endeavors to be healing in their own right. The computer art that I do, working various puzzles, forcing myself to think, physical activity, chiropractic care, and solitude have all contributed to the cognitive progress that I have made.
As I continue on my path, I find that I am increasingly resistant to becoming traumatic brain injury. Part of healing involves expanding our horizons and destroying the "t.b.i. box" that we might have been initially content to dwell in. Survivors are commonly referred to as "t.b.i.'s" Newsflash: I am not a t.b.i. Or, to put it another way, I am not a traumatic brain injury. I HAVE a tbi and certainly I have some permanent neurology from it. But I can never be my labels. None of us really can be.
Here's to all people everywhere that we all understand that in a deep and revolutionary way.