Mar 212016
 

Julianna’s Adventures

Help 5 Yr.-Old Julianna Raise Funds for CMT Research

Julianna's Adventures

Who is Julianna?

Isn’t she a beautiful Princess?  She’s a little Princess with a lot of wisdom and an imagination that doesn’t quit.  As described by her mother:

J is smart, opinionated and kind. She thinks everything looks better embellished and is happy almost all of the time. She dislikes conflict and messy hair. Her middle name is Yuri.

You may have learned of 5 year-old Julianna, who has a severe version of CMT (Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease) on CNN back in 2015.  Her story went viral when she expressed to her mother that she wanted to die at home (not at the hospital) the next time she gets “that” sick.  That’s the short story.

Though despite all the obstacles Julianna is up against, Julianna has had a vision.  A dream.  Her vision – to publish a book and donate all the proceeds to the CMTA foundation.  She’d love nothing more than to be able to help CMTA find a treatment for those who suffer from CMT disease, even though it may not become available to her soon enough.

Well, guess what?!?!  Julianna’s vision has become a reality. Julianna’s Adventures has been published and you can get a copy now.

About Julianna’s Adventures:

“I can’t walk but I can talk…” — Julianna Snow, age 5 Julianna supports all things beautiful, adventuresome and sparkly. Above all, she loves LOVE. Julianna has a severe form of CMT (Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease), a hereditary neuromuscular disorder. In her stories, she takes us to a bright, sweet and joyful world where there are no limits. Proceeds of this book will benefit the CMTA (CMT Association).

  • 66 pages, full color
  • features 3 adventures: stories by Julianna, illustrations by Christine Stalie
  • $20.52 (plus tax and shipping) on lulu.com
  • all proceeds will go to CMTA

Have you heard this quote?

If you think you’re too small to make a difference, youve never been in bed with a mosquito.” —Anita Roddick 

Julianna is proof that no one is too small to make a difference.  You can help her make a difference when you buy her book, Julianna’s Adventures.

For the long of Julianna’s journey with CMT visit http://juliannayuri.com/.  The stories, written by her mom about her little Princess are priceless.  The intricates you learn about Julianna are exceptionally heart-warming.  You’ll feel compassion as you hear what Julianna and her family endures.  You may shed some tears.  For sure though, you’ll close out the site and be left thinking about not taking life for granted.  Yours.  Your children’s.  Your loved ones.

Juliannas Adventures

Julianna and her family are working really hard at raising funds for CMT research.  Be sure to check out other fundraising events happening at http://juliannayuri.com/current-fundraising-events/.

#JuliannaStrong #GoJulianna #Julianna’sAdventures

**Finger Click Saver is posting this for nothing more than to help Julianna Snow raise funds for CMTA – to see her vision become a total success. 
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Mar 062016
 

Educate Yourself About Pong Pong – It’s Dangerous and Easily to be Had

pong pong seed

That. Above.  It’s the outer shell of the Pong Pong tree seed.  Inside is a seed known as a kernel.  When you watch the video below, you will see what the actual seed looks like inside.  Keep that image in your mind forever.

Not well known in the USA, Pong Pong is very well know in India and Asia.  It’s nickname is “the suicide tree.”  When ingested it disrupts the heart.  Now that a death has occurred in the US from ingesting the Pong Pong Seed purchased on the internet, it’s time that us Americans, especially parents, seriously educate themselves on the danger of the Pong Pong Seed.

Wikipedia shares this:

Cerbera odollam is a dicotyledonous angiosperm, a plant species in the Family Apocynaceae and commonly known as the suicide tree, pong-pong, and othalanga. It is a species native to India and other parts of southern Asia, growing preferentially in coastal salt swamps and in marshy areas but also grown as a hedge plant between home compounds. It yields a potent poison that has been used for suicide and murder.

Its fruit, when still green, looks like a small mango, with a green fibrous shell enclosing an ovoid kernel measuring approximately 2 cm × 1.5 cm and consisting of two cross-matching white fleshy halves. On exposure to air, the white kernel turns violet, then dark grey, and ultimately brown, or black.

The mom in this video lost her transgender child (woman) to a Pong Pong seed.  She purchased it over the internet for $5.  She died a slow painful death and confessed at the end what it was that was ingested.  Emergency Response didn’t know a thing about Pong Pong Seed; therefore they couldn’t treat the woman.  The woman died.  A piece of her mother died too.

Now her mother is on a mission to educate others, especially parents, on how dangerous this seed is (a must watch).

 

It saddens me that she lost a child.  It saddens me that her child felt there was no other way to overcome what she was going through.  Though, as her mother stated, if being able to save just one other person from the death of a Pong Pong seed by putting her experience out there – she’s done good.

Did you know, suicide amongst 10 – 22 year olds is the second killer in the U.S.; though suicide is prevalent for all age groups.  Now that this Pong Pong seed has been in the forefront worldwide, one would hope that someone wouldn’t obtain Pong Pong with the intent to commit suicide.  Though when under mental duress those individuals don’t think clearly.

Unfortunately, I believe that we’ll be hearing more deaths occurring from Pong Pong here in the U.S.  and it saddens me.  What are your thoughts on Pong Pong – the suicide tree?

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Feb 102016
 

Ways to Clear up Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Bad breath (Halitosis) can damage your confidence, ruin a first impression, or incite gossip. Although not a life threatening condition, sometimes chronic halitosis requires medical treatment. In rare instances, surgery is even necessary to correct the problem.

Usually a result of poor dental hygiene, bad breath can occur when you are dehydrated or even when you are ill. Some sicknesses cause these foul odors and may actually be the first warning that you need to see a doctor.

Many home remedies are known to be effective at treating bad breath. Activities that encourage good saliva flow help to cut down on the presence of odor causing elements in your mouth. Rinsing your mouth out with salt water or brushing with baking soda are common techniques for treating bad breath at home. To find out more and to learn ways to combat your bad breath problem, checkout the infographic below.

Clear up Bad Breath (Halitosis) Beating Bad Breath Guide Infographic
Presented By TheraBreath

Do you or someone you know, suffer from bad breath (halitosis)?  What remedies have you tried?  Have they worked for you?

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Jun 292015
 
**This is a sponsored post with Mums the Word Network and Amwell. Reviewer received a free visit to facilitate an honest review. All opinions are those of an FCS team member.

Amwell telehealth

Times have certainly changed in the healthcare industry as to the options available when needing to be seen by a doctor.  To that list of options one can include Amwell Telehealth Urgent Care Service.

I can remember when doctors did house calls in addition to office visits.  That stopped – probably because of the increase in the population and/or insurance purposes.  We then needed to be seen solely in a doctor’s office.  For an emergency – to the local Emergency Room at a hospital we went.  Next came Urgent Care Centers being placed into communities – giving individuals another choice of when and where to be seen.  And now one can add to the list of choices – Telehealth Urgent Care services.

Amwell Telehealth is just that – an online Urgent Care service.  Amwell is found on the web, or through an app (android & IOS).  The beauty of this service is that one doesn’t need to leave their home to be seen by a doctor for a diagnosis of simple ailments.  Most often the doctor can prescribe prescription meds (unless your state doesn’t allow this), when appropriate.

Who Would use Amwell’s Service?

Anyone who finds the need for a doctor that doesn’t fit in the realm of needing emergency services.  You don’t want to be wasting time with a tele-visit if you’re thinking you’re having a heart attack or if you’re having suicidal thoughts –

A few reasons people go online to see a doctor:

  • I feel like I should probably see a doctor, but can’t really fit it into my over-booked schedule.
  • I’m flying tomorrow and can’t get out of work.
  • It’s difficult for me to get a doctor’s appointment.
  • I’m not sure if I should go to the ER or not.
  • My doctor’s office is closed and I don’t want to go to an urgent care clinic or hospital
  • I just moved and don’t know any doctors in my area.
  • I just need a second opinion.
  • I’m between jobs and have no coverage.
  • I have a question about a loved-one’s health and would like some advice.

Some of the most common conditions that can be diagnosed and treated online:

  • Bronchitis
  • Cough
  • Sinus infection
  • Sore throat
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Pinkeye
  • Flu
  • Sprains and strains
  • Cold
  • Respiratory Infection
  • Headache
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Weight concerns
  • Smoking Cessation

Who are the Doctors You’d be Speaking to?

  • The doctors you would see would be licensed physicians in your state.

Does Insurance Pay for These Visits?

  • Many insurance companies will pay for the online visit.  However, should you not have insurance, a 10-minute visit is $49.00.  For readers of Finger Click Saver’s, save $10.00 off your first visit with the promo code: LOVEAMWELL10.

Our Thoughts

***Let me say this first!*** 

***If you can capture an image of what is going on – do so before beginning your visit.  There is a place for you to upload images once you’re logged in.  I hadn’t realized that, and wished I did, as the provider could have actually seen what my shingles looked like at the time of the visit.***

Onto our Amwell visit.  We found Amwell is so easy to use.  You can utilize them on the web, or through an app (android & IOS).  Sign up was simple!  Within five minutes, I had myself signed up online, (children under 18 can be added to your account).

Because I don’t have a camera on my PC, I downloaded the app to my iPad.  Fast and simple to do.  I then logged into Amwell.  I was asked to choose the reason for my visit (Medical, Nutrition, Psychology).

amwell telehealth ipad visit

I then needed to answer the following prior to being seen:

  • What the reason was I wanted to see a doctor for?
  • I was asked what my medical conditions are
  • What medications I was on
  • What my billing status was IE: insurance, no insurance

The available provider was already seeing a patient, so I was asked if I wanted to wait in the “Waiting Room.”  I thought it was super kosher that I was provided with a profile of the doctor I would be speaking with.  Had I not liked her credentials, I could have waited until other providers became available.

That said, in reading the provider’s profile I was very much at ease in speaking with her; so I opted to wait for her to come aboard.  My wait was less than five minutes before she connected with me.

amwell telehealth ipad visit

Once connected with me, the provider introduced herself.  We had a glitch where she couldn’t see or hear me and since they ask for a phone number in case of any issues, she called me immediately on my phone.  She had me refresh the app and we were then good to go.

One of the very first things that I was asked was what state I was from.  This is to ensure that the provider is licensed to practice in the state you reside.  After that, we went over my medications and conditions list.  Next came my question I wanted answer to.

The issue for me at hand, was that I was wondering what I could take to help with the pain of shingles.  You see, I had been diagnosed with shingles on my upper left butt cheek the day before my Amwell visit.  The pain I was experiencing had already started three days before, but gradually progressed as time went on.

By the time I had my visit the pain was not only from my backside through to my pubic bone, but headed down my leg and into my toes.  It was becoming increasingly hard to sit.  My thighs were feeling heavy and crampy.  I wanted to know if I could take Motrin around the clock to aid in that pain, or if there were something else that would help my pain.

The provider was amazing at explaining how shingles pain works.  She reassured me that the medications I had been given was an aggressive treatment plan for me.  I was informed of a couple other meds that I could be put on for neuropathy pain; however any narcotic – including morphine and any anti-inflammatory, would not work for shingles pain.  Her advice to me was to see if I could wait it out rather than go on another medication specifically used for neuropathy pain.

The provider I spoke with was extremely professional.  She spoke in terms that I could understand.  She answered any questions I had.  Would I use the Amwell Telehealth service again?  ABSOLUTELY!  I was left feeling that I had received the care and advice I was in need of.

Have you ever used Amwell Telehealth, or a similar service?  What was your experience – please share.

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Jun 022015
 

Lymphedema

What is Lymphedema

Lymphedema is a disorder that affects the lymphatic system. This condition can have some serious consequences, but unfortunately the diagnosis of these problems is highly subjective. There is no standardized test and every case is different. Usually a doctor must collect a body of evidence and weigh each variable before coming to a conclusion.

Below are the most common means in which lymphedema is identified.

Size Increase of Body Parts

A common trait associated with this illness is the swelling and enlargement of body parts. Normally doctors look for about a 10% volume increase. An arm or a leg that increases in diameter by two or more centimeters is suspicious. While this may seem straight forward, taking accurate measurements of body parts is problematic. Torsos, abdomens, hands, and feet all have irregular shapes. To complicate matters, it can be impossible to determine what the normal size should even be. Without a precise measurement of original dimensions, it cannot be determined that there is any true swelling at all.

Symptoms Survey

In addition to the swelling and size increase associated with this illness, skin color may change around the affected area. It may become sore or sensitive. Patients may experience tenderness and decreased range of motion. In some instances, it can feel warmer to the touch. While some of these symptoms are acute in certain cases, they don’t all have to be present. In fact, symptoms may be so mild that the patient does not even recognize the problem. There are products developed by many companies to help those suffering with the symptoms of Lymphedema.

Bio Impedance

Some doctors will measure the fluid levels in the surrounding tissues to balance their analysis. Higher levels of fluid indicate a problem with the lymphatic system. While this method helps to clarify the conditions, it is not actually FDA approved. Doctors must consider all factors in each case and rely on their best judgment and expertise.

Lymphoscintigraphy

This imaging system can map out and reveal much about a patient’s lymphatic system. The information obtained using this procedure can do more than just spot areas suspected of lymphedema. This equipment is complicated and requires special training to analyze results accurately. If more basic tests have not led to a conclusive diagnosis, the use of one of these devices may become necessary to clarify the matter.

Do you or someone you know live with lymphedema?  What has your/their experience been like?

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Jun 012015
 
*Sponsored – All opinions are those of an FCS Team Member

life credit company living loans

 

Cancer knows no boundaries.  It’s the most feared word to come out of a doctor’s mouth.  It’s the hardest word in the world for a patient to hear.  Granted the treatments for cancer have come oh-so-far, but those treatments come with a price tag.  A price tag that one often can’t afford – often robbing people of all their resources.

Luckily, when my father-in-law was told that he had cancer, three times now, he had good insurance.  Some of the treatment expenses weren’t covered though.  Like the PET scans that he had to undergo twice, at a tune of over $3500 for each one – weren’t covered.  And luckily he had retirement funds to tap into – of course at a price for doing so – to help with those expenses.  But what if he hadn’t?

Seriously, what if he hadn’t?  Being married he and his wife made way too much money to qualify for financial assistance through the treatment centers.  State assistance programs couldn’t be tapped into for the same reason.  There are so many cancer patients that fall into this category.

That said, should one find themselves in need of financial assistance – especially those that don’t have good medical insurance, or the elderly that aren’t able to pay for a Medicare Gap policy, there may still be a way to pay for expenses through tapping into their life insurance policy.

The company called the Life Credit Company assists one in doing just that.  They provide individuals with what are called Living Benefit Loans.

life credit company living loans

About the Life Credit Company

We are a licensed consumer lender that provides unique financial solutions to the cancer community. In December of 2012, we launched the Living Benefit Loan Program, which has already delivered over 15 million dollars of funding and improved the lives of countless individuals.

How Can the Life Credit Company Help?

The Life Credit Company provides Living Benefit loans through tapping into one’s life insurance policy to cancer patients and those with other serious medical conditions.  Furthermore, one does not lose their life insurance and their beneficiaries remain the same.  Loan proceeds can be used by the borrower for any purpose without restriction.

Criteria for a Living Loan

If one has at least $75,000 of coverage and has been diagnosed with cancer or another serious medical condition, you may qualify for a life insurance loan.

How Much Money Can They Loan?

A Living Benefit loan makes it possible for cancer patients to receive up to 50% of their life insurance policy’s death benefit today without any loan payments or incurring any out-of-pocket expenses.

Example – if you have $100,000 of coverage, they can loan you up to $50,000 secured solely by your policy.

How is the Loan Paid?

The Living Benefit Loan is repaid from the policy’s death benefit proceeds with the remainder going to the insured’s family.

Future Premiums are Paid

They even cover all of the policy’s future premium payments.

Life Credit Company Perks

  • A FREE No-Obligation Consultation
  • No personal liability
  • Quick Loan Approval – Loans are approved within 3 days upon receipt of a completed application
  • Types of Policies accepted – term, group, universal, FEGLI, variable and whole life insurance (to name a few)
  • One’s credit doesn’t matter – there are no credit checks
  • No spending restrictions – one can pay off bills, consolidate bills, take a vacation

Read Testimonials of Cancer Patients Who Used This Service

What are your thoughts on Living Loans?  I think that they are a great alternative when in need.  I’d much rather lose part of my life insurance benefit over losing my home or having to take out a personal loan to repay the debt incurred from a medical illness.

Of course, everyone’s circumstances are different, and before jumping into anything, it’s important that one is fully educated on all the details of a Living Loan and how it would effect their financial situation.

What are your thoughts on these Living Loans?

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Mar 092015
 

Headaches Caused by Muscle Spasms – Feels Like a Migraine but Isn’t

muscle spasm headache

There are many types of headaches.  There are many causes of headaches.  If you’ve been wondering why migraine medication isn’t working for you; could you possibly be suffering from headaches caused by muscle spasms?  As a sufferer of these types of headaches for nearly 20 yrs. now, I’d like to share my experience.

You see, I used to wake with a major headache every day that went on for months on end.  I would’ve welcomed someone taking a drill to my head to relieve the pressure and pain.  I would still welcome a drill to my head if I manage to set one off today; however – I now know enough of what I need to do to make them go away.

So what sets the muscle spasm headaches off (for me)?

  • Simply sitting down in a chair
  • Anything that requires the use of my upper back muscles/lower neck muscles (painting, shoveling, carrying grocery bags, lifting heavier items such as boxes)
  • Squatting
  • Not sleeping with my neck-support memory foam pillow
  • Sleeping/lying down too long
  • Not getting up from my desk every 30 minutes or so
  • Sewing at my sewing machine
  • A new desk chair that doesn’t set the same as the old one

How I got to be where I am today:

My OB-Gyn took me off birth control.  That did nothing for me.  So I went to see my primary care physician.

After seeing my primary care physician and being given all kinds of drugs that did pretty much nothing other than make me sleep, sleep, and sleep; I was sent to see a Orthopedist.

He performed many types of tests, including a nerve test.  He had no answers for me.  I was then sent to see a neurologist.

The neurologist performed a battery of tests.  She gave me different medications.  Back then, Imitrex was new on the market. She gave me a script for home injections but made it clear to me that if I wasn’t experiencing a true migraine that the injections wouldn’t do a thing for me.  And that they didn’t – other than to cause me anxiety every time I needed to stab myself.

She then ordered a Cervical Traction Device where you fill the bag with water, hook the strapping up to your neck/head and dropped the bag, which is hung over a doorway.  That device actually felt pretty good…seriously!  I would ask to be hooked up to that whenever someone was around to help me.

Amongst seeing all the docs – I frequented the ER for relief more than I want to think about.  I was given Stadol Nasal Spray on more than one occasion.  I loved that drug, but it wired me so much that I couldn’t sleep.  Severe sweating became an issue.  The drug was addicting.  At the onset of it wearing off, I needed more.  I wanted more.

Had I stayed on that drug I would be a full-blown addict of it.  You see, shortly after coming off it I learned that the drug was more addicting than cocaine and heroine…no wonder I wanted more!  That was my first experience as to what it would feel like to be addicted to a drug and it wasn’t a good feeling.

Then for some reason I needed to go to the chiropractor.  I was telling him about the headaches.  He said, “I can help you.”  Really?  Let’s do it!  He worked on my neck.  I went back every couple of weeks for adjustments and over a few visits I had some relief.  I could now tell where the headaches originated from – the left side of my neck.

The muscles from the top of my left shoulder upward into the neck and side of the head…I could feel them ache/throb (at the time, I had no idea that a feeling like that was considered spasming).  Though, the relief wasn’t 100%.  He suggested I invest in a memory foam pillow with neck support.  I got one!  That’s how badly I wanted to get rid of all the pain.  The pillow did help a bit; though – I was still waking every morning with a headache that would proceed to worsen as the day went on.

So I went in to tell my physician what I was doing.  She suggested I try taking 800 mg. of Motrin and 10 mg. of Flexeril, along with an ice pack to my neck, when I first felt the muscles spasm.  Well – go figure!  That worked!  I finally got them under control to where the headaches were tolerable and not as frequent.  At a follow-up appointment she suggested I take 10mg. of Flexeril when I went to bed at night – to see if that would keep them at bay longer.  Sure enough – it worked!  I no longer awoke with a headache.

Nearly 20 yrs. later, I’m still doing the same regimen.  I take the meds at the onset of feeling the muscles spasm, use my pillow, and if I can’t get the pain to subside to where it’s tolerable – I take another Flexeril (muscle relaxant) and lie down with an ice pack.  I still frequent the chiropractor.

Once in a blue moon – like every 6 months – I will suffer with one that keeps me down for a day or so.  If I find that I am feeling a lot of tightness within my neck muscles day after day – I know it’s time to see the chiropractor again.

I will tell you that when I was experiencing the headaches – I had given up hope on ever getting any relief.  I thought I was doomed with living the rest of my life in major pain.  Now I look back and think about how I had helped myself by seeing all the specialists, along with running my mouth to the chiropractor and listening to my body.  Sometimes it really does take a village to make things work out for the better.

Do you suffer from headaches that feel like your head is ready to explode in which migraine medicine doesn’t do much for them?  Maybe you’re having headaches caused by muscle spasms too.

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Mar 052015
 

Tips from Sleep Number on Resetting Your Sleep Clock

daylight savings time sleep number tips

Daylight Savings Time brings about a lot of changes.  In the Spring – we see longer days.  In the Fall – shorter days of daylight.  It’s a great time to remember to replace your smoke detector batteries and fire extinguishers.  And don’t forget to change the clocks!  Yes, I’m bad at the last one – sometimes it’s weeks before they all get changed.

Though, I think the worst thing about Daylight Savings Time is how it messes our sleeping up.  I am not bothered too much by it – but let me tell you as far as my kids – it’s a two-week battle getting them back on track.  Of course, the teen doesn’t believe mom knows what she’s talking about; therefore she comes home from school exhausted wanting to take a nap.  I let her – because if I don’t – life isn’t all that much of a pleasure.

There are proven facts of what can help one with resetting their sleep clock.  These tips from Sleep Number from Sleep Number’s new sleep survey on resetting your sleep clock may be just what you need if you suffer from the change.  The teen – she’s going to be reading these – maybe she’ll listen to Sleep Number (mom can only hope).

o    15 more minutes According to new national sleep survey from Sleep Number, over half (54 percent) of the respondents don’t feel they are getting enough sleep to be at their best. And when we lose an hour of sleep due to DST beginning, that sleep loss is even more evident. To make the time adjustment easier, don’t boil the ocean; start going to bed 15 minutes earlier than the night before… do this for 3-4 days.

o     Live in the future. On Saturday, live your life as if it’s already an hour ahead. For example, drink your last cup of coffee at 11 am (because that is really noon). Since caffeine has an approximate half-life of 6 hours, you don’t want to consumer caffeine after noon as it may impede your sleep.

o     Put down the screens. Survey results indicate that people who use devices in bed are more likely to feel they don’t get enough sleep (51 percent). Always make a screen-free zone about an hour before bedtime, which gives the eyes and mind time to relax before getting shut-eye (and allows the sleep hormone melatonin to trigger sleepiness). People in the Western region of the U.S. are the biggest tech-in-bed offenders, with 66 percent of respondents bringing devices to bed.

o    Monitor sleep to improve it. Fifty-eight percent of people wish they knew more about how to improve the quality of their sleep, yet only 16 percent actually monitor their sleep (versus 41 percent who track exercise and 43 percent who track diet). And, women are more likely to focus on improving their sleep compared to men. Sleep Number’s SleepIQ technology offers a simple solution to those who want to know better sleep.

Visit the Sleep Number site to read more helpful tips on resetting your sleep clock.

*This post is brought to you by Sleep Number
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Feb 022015
 
Assisted Typing on the iPad

25 Years Later He Typed “I love you” to Me via Assisted Typing

words 1st assisted typing session

This was one of several assessment tests performed. The word was first spoken by the iPad. Then 3 boxes 3/4″ square appeared randomly on the screen containing one letter in the word. When a word was spelled correctly – it appeared on the screen with a check mark. He got them all! The last one was completed – we were just too excited to see that he got all 5 words correct…thus no check mark.

A monumental day happened on January 22, 2015.  My severely disabled, soon-to-be 31-year-old son with spastic quadriplegia diagnosed after a brain hemorrhage from an attempt to remove a brain tumor at 3-weeks of age – he typed his first sentences in nearly 25 years – 25 years later and he typed “I love you” to me!  Read on to see how this day transpired.

This all came about where I had said to the Physical Therapist who was working on his wheelchair back in Nov. 2014 – I wished Facilitated Communication never stopped.

You see, back roughly 25 years ago our school district implemented Facilitated Communication.  If you’re unsure what that is – it’s now referred to as Assisted Typing and consists of a person who assists an individual with disabilities in typing.  They help control the arm/wrist movements so that the individual has an easier time in pointing to the letters they want to use to spell their words, forming sentences, if they wish.

My son – who had a very limited vocalized vocabulary at the age of 6, did very well with facilitated communication.  Sure – not every word was spelled correctly – for instance “milk” was “mlik” but he got his point across.

The problem – the school district stopped any use of facilitators as there were too many individuals typing that they had been abused and/or sexually abused.  Many superiors didn’t believe that these individuals were making the complaints themselves – but rather – the facilitator stating that was what was typed out and then reporting the incidents.

And that, my friend, ended Facilitated Communication for all individuals in our state unless they could facilitate their own typing 100%.  Sure I could have continued on with the facilitating myself, but when there’s a crap load of individuals working with a child – it’s rather hard.

Back when it was known as Facilitated Communication, and my son was involved with it, typing was limited to a sheet of paper with the alphabet/numbers on it; though some individuals had smaller typing devices – but not many.  There weren’t many to be had.  They were expensive at that.  However, through the years – devices have evolved to where there are many, including the iPad.  And, they renamed Facilitated Communication to Assisted Typing.

So back to where I spoke with the physical therapist.  She stated that maybe this could all become a reality again.  That the company she works for had received a grant where a Speech Therapist who is extensively trained in Assisted Typing was working with individuals in the here and now; and if I’d like, she’d see if the therapist could fit my son in.  Wow – are you kidding me?  Please do!

An appointment was set up for him to be assessed to see if he was a candidate. Let me tell you, he ACED that assessment. He was assessed with the use of an iPad, and though considered legally blind (he has optical nerve damage in his left eye from a brain hemorrhage), he did an incredible job.

He spelled sight words – 6 of them – when asked to (above). He saw the dots that he had to tap so that they would go off sounding like a firecracker and then disappear from the screen. He was asked to pick out words on a grid – he got 98% of the words correct.

Now onto the next session – session #2.  This session I had no idea what to expect.  The therapist started out with asking him to pick out words again.  He did that very well.  Now, this is very hard for my son.  The muscle control and focusing for a long period of time (> an hour) – really wears him out.  In fact, after the first session – he fell asleep while we conversed devising a game plan.

In seeing this, the therapist decided to cut the second session short.  BUT FIRST – she wanted to see what he could do using the keyboard on the iPad.  Mind you – the keyboard that pops up is small – the letters are small and a plastic overlay was placed on the keyboard portion of the iPad to make touching the correct letter easier.

But… guess what?  Take a look:

Assisted Typing on the iPad

He was asked to spell his name with her assisting his movements and he did just that.  BUT – before the therapist could ask him to type something else – he began to type a word.  That’s the “get…and he continued on to finish the sentence.

Baffled – baffled at what he was trying to say is an underestimate of what was going on here.  None of us (his sister and his day support person was with us) had no idea what it was he was talking about.  Sure we have a dog – but she’s 90 lbs – he’s not putting her in the dresser.

So the therapist tried to pinpoint where any of us would find this ‘puppy’ because – yes two of us went looking!  Was it a Barney Tape that had a puppy in it?  Was it an Elmo tape?  That’s where the N n y n comes in.  Then he went off on his own accord again – typing out the “doesn’t mean its there.”

The joke was on us…seriously!  Duh – he stated to us “Get into my dream”  why were we even looking for a puppy somewhere?

Lastly he was asked by the therapist – “Is there anything you’d like to say to your mom?”  Without hesitation, he began to type again.  And this my friend is where you see the “I love you.”

I stood there crying, hugging this child of mine, that had never had been able to express “I love you” other than when he spoke “I O U.”  Did I/we really know that he knew what that meant?  NO!  No idea.  The “I O U” could have been part of his vowel repertoire he spoke since learning his vowels from the Wheel of Fortune show he started watching when he was 4-5 yrs old – for all we knew.

So I am letting the world know that January 22, 2015 will go down in history for me.  For him.  For those who were with us and witness the Assisted Typing session that day.

I was never so proud of this child of mine that I was told would be a vegetable when he was an infant.  Proud – proud that he remembered what to do with the pointer finger…what to do with that keyboard. Crap!  That keyboard doesn’t even come close to the paper with the ABC’s in alphabetical order he used 25 yrs ago.

I had no idea he knew where the letters even were on a real keyboard.  I had no idea he knew what a period was and where it went.  I had no idea he knew how to form a complete sentence – with punctuation.  Do I give a crap about the rest of the sentence structure?  Absolutely not!  Not the spelling of any word.  Not there being any capitals.  Not there being any apostrophes.  I don’t care!

And as I type this – I am in tears.  What else has he wanted to say all these years?  Assisted Typing – we are on a roll – and this child of mine – his voice will be heard completely now.

If there’s one thing that I could say to any new parent with a child that has health issues of any caliber – do NOT EVER give up on yourselfon your child.  For that matter – any child/adult that has experience adversity involving the brain.  Miracles do happen!

Thanks for letting me share this monumental Assisted Typing day with you – seriously, miracles do happen.

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