Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sad cyberbullying story,2933,583948,00.html

Police suspect cyberbullying may be the cause of 15 year old Phoebe Prince's suicide. Now here's the part that REALLY makes me mad...bullies continued to post insulting messages on Phoebe's Facebook page AFTER her death. Bullies had taunted this girl through Facebook, text messaging, and other media. Really, this story is sad and makes me pretty mad.

Facebook's page on what to do if you are being harassed/cyberbullied can be found here:
Facebook Help

You can find additional free help here:

A video from them for kids/preteens about what to do to prevent and deal with cyberbullying:

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Autism Women's Network

There's a great resource out there for anybody concerned with issues of women on the autism spectrum. It's called the Autism Women's Network. I asked Sharon daVanport; the AWN's Executive Director &
Radio Show Host; if she would mind answers a few questions. She was more than happy to:

How would you describe what the Autism Women's Network is?

Our mission is to provide effective supports to autistic females of all ages through a sense of community, advocacy and resources.

The Autism Women's Network is a networking community of autistic females, their families, friends, and supporters who can share their experiences amongst a diverse, inclusive, and supportive environment. Our website publishes wide variety of articles relevant to the autism community as a whole. Some of the articles are original stories and others are contributed to AWN from our members who originally posted them on their blogs or web pages. Please let us know if you are interested in submitting a story to AWN; we are always interested in reviewing material from Contributing Writers. You can reach us at: AWN Contact Form.

What inspired you to create the Autism Women's Network?

With a diagnosis of Asperger's, I made most of my initial contacts with the autism community through primarily Asperger's Groups. For the better part of 2009 I was continually challenged to raise awareness for all females on the spectrum as opposed to only those with AS. It didn't take me long to realize that I was better suited for a more inclusive environment.

In addition, an overwhelming consensus from females on the spectrum was their desire to be part of a non-judgmental networking community. They believed it was essential if they were to continue moving forward toward solutions and answers pertaining to matters specific to females. We looked hard at the issues which had not been working in the past, and we developed a strategy to move forward in a new and positive direction.

You must be very excited about the official launch of the forums! Who would you encourage to join the forums?

Most definitely females on the spectrum. In addition, family members, friends, educators, psychologists, and anyone in a supportive role to females on the spectrum.

Typically the males who join will pop over to the forum & say a quick hello with a brief introduction. It's nice to have a show of support from others in the autism community who may not intend on utilizing the forum personally, but will take the time to send their encouragement and well wishes our way.

What kind of topics are discussed on the forums?

AWN Forum topics are designed to inspire meaningful discussions which focus on issues relevant to females on the autism spectrum. It is our goal to successfully accomplish a portion of AWN's mission by building an interactive community whereby these discussions can take place.

Some of the forum topics are: Ask a NT, Special Interests, Art Gallery, Potpourri, Parent's Palace, Bullies and toxic People We Encounter, and many more. A few more topics which cover discussions on food, autism news, and relationships are:

Bon App├ętit Share your favorite recipes, cooking tips, GF/CF info., & all things food related.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it... Autism news around the world.

Relationships A place to share your experiences, advice, & suggestions regarding family, dating, friends, & coworkers, etc.

An new addition which is coming soon to our forum is E-Mentoring. This will be under the leadership of AWN's International Director form Australia, Katharine Annear. E-Mentoring will give people the chance to have one-to-one support, advice and guidance from a volunteer who is independent from their ordinary life.

E-mentoring allows mentors and mentees to keep in touch by having conversations online, through a website. The mentoring relationship is facilitated by a safe and stimulating web-based environment (AWN Forum) which allows mentors and mentees to:
• Post messages
• Share information
• Discuss news items
• Access resources

** We are finalizing details on another Discussion Board for the Forum which will address issues of domestic violence, abuse, and the vulnerabilities of females on the spectrum as it pertains to these serious matters. Stay tuned for these additions to the Forum coming soon.

What is your online radio show about?

AWN Radio allows our organization to keep the lines of communication open pertaining to autism news, hot topics, authors, parents, educators, and individuals on the spectrum who come from all walks of life. AWN Radio allows us to reach a larger audience with participation from our listeners via the chat room and phone lines.

Though we strive to keep our programming consistent with our mission, we aren't exclusive to topics pertaining to only autistic females. We definitely have a diverse guest list which include males, females, autistics, and neuro-typicals.

Do you have any events coming up?

AWN is currently planning a few community events for April during Autism Awareness Month. Details will be posted on our website just as soon as the events are finalized.

Several AWN Directors will be speaking at conferences, workshops, and support groups throughout 2010. The Autism Women's Network will also be in attendance at numerous autism functions for networking purposes throughout the year.

Considering the statistics of only 1 in 4 autistics being female; do you think autistic women's concerns are taken seriously?

I believe we are slowly making progress in this respect; however, it is undeniable that we still have a long way to go.

AWN is dedicated to educating others about the unique qualities specific to autistic females. Recognized experts agree that furthering our knowledge specific to these issues will lead us to a greater understanding of the spectrum as a whole.

It would therefore benefit all of us to heighten awareness with regards to these matters. AWN is dedicated to keeping the focus on matters specific to females on the autism spectrum, and we extend an invitation for our community to join us.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sensory Processing Disorder: Not Just Spirited book giveaway and interview

Due to unexpected move and low entry count; this giveaway has been extended until JUNE 1st, 2010. Thanks for your understanding!

Today I'm delighted to bring an interview and giveaway from Chynna T. Laird, the author of "Not Just Spirited: A Mom's Sensational Journey With Sensory Processing Disorder". When I first found out about the book, I was interested, being as I myself have sensory issues and many on the autism spectrum do. Although my issues are related to Autism and Septo-Optic Dysplasia, I enjoyed reading the book. One thing I loved about it was it's 'real' but hopeful; and never suggests anything that could harm a kid. Anyways, on with the interview! (Giveaway details at end)

1) What inspired you to write "Not Just Spirited"?

Not Just Spirited started off as journal entries. I’ve always been someone who journals away anxieties or worries or simply to get thoughts down on paper. When you go through something where people around you either don’t ‘get’ what you’re saying or aren’t listening, you have to have a positive way to work through those emotions or they’ll eat you alive.

Whenever we hit a frustrating point I thought. “You know, there just have to be other parents out there going through this stuff. And that’s just not fair!” I swore that once we got over our major hurdles, I’d do what I could to help other parents get to the information they needed. That’s when I put the journal entries and stories into a book form. Our story isn’t the same as other peoples’ are—it’s our unique experience. But the emotions we felt as parents are fairly common—frustration, isolation, worry, stress, not understanding what was happening to our baby, etc.

If anything, the book can help validate those feelings and, at the very least, inspire parents to keep going on their path…to keep moving forward.

2) What were some of the signs of Sensory Processing Disorder you noticed?

As you know, there are many symptoms and no two children show the exact same ones. And it wasn’t until much later that we figured out what her odd behaviors meant. When we first brought her home from the hospital things weren’t as noticeable but she startled easily, cried a lot, turned her head away from us when we spoke to her and fussed when we held her in any way other than laying her on top of a pillow and walking around with her.

By the time she got to three months old, she cried most of her day. She was a terrible sleeper because every tiny noise woke her up. She needed to be in constant motion and not just gentle rocking. We had to go full force, almost like the motion where you’d be swinging them to toss them onto their bed or something soft, you know? As she got older, her signs got stronger:

she covered her ears all the time, even when noises weren’t that loud (eg: diaper tabs)
she gagged around new smells or actually smelled things that shouldn’t be smelled (eg: clothes, cooking utencils, etc.)
she fought us with every single hygiene task, like bathtime, getting dressed, brushing teeth or hair
she avoided playing with toys that were noisy, flashy, played music, popped out at her, felt funny or smelled.
She avoided playing with other children or people.
She was clutzy, held things too tightly, broke things easily (I can’t count the amount of crayons we went through!), or didn’t hold things tightly enough.
She often lost her balance or tripped on things that weren’t there.
She often scratched at her skin or eyes, pulled on her ears or nose, hit herself in the head, pulled out her hair, and actually tore clothing right off her body.

Later on, her need for routine was so rigid that she had to have everything in an exact place or she freaked out until it was. If we missed a step in a usual routine, she couldn’t go on until we re-did that task. Her sense of touch was so sensitive that it affected what she wore, who could come near her, what she ate and what she played with. She couldn’t seem to get her hands to do things the way she wanted them too (using a fork or spoon, doing fine detailed crafts, writing or games with tiny pieces.) And she needed visual cues or pictures when you taught her something new or explained something to her or she didn’t seem to ‘get’ what you were talking about.

It wasn’t the quirks she had that made us wonder. It was the severity of them, the duration of her fights when things bothered her and the fact that one day something that bugged her to the brink of a fit lasting hours one day didn’t even seem to phase her the next—some days it was hour to hour!

I was so relieved to finally figure out what it was so we could build from that understanding.

3) What were some solutions you found that worked?

It took a long time figuring this out but what finally worked was exposing her to things. Honestly! Now, I’m not saying we shoved her hands into pumpkin goo or made her touch shaving cream right off the bat! We learned that slowly exposing her to sensations then giving her the tools to cope with how those sensations made her body felt was the best solution for a girl with such a high sensitivity level and such a wide range of sensitivities.

Some days she still avoids things, which is fine. But we always encourage her ‘just to try’ then guiding her to a safe place to calm down.

Things that worked for Jaimie are frustration balls (we call them “squeezy balls), fidgets, chewy toys, hammock swings (we have three different kinds of swings to work with what her needs are at a given time), headphones, textured cushions, mini-tramps and deep pressure massage.

Another form of therapy that worked for Jaimie was Integrated Learning Systems, or iLs, incorporated into her SPD OT. Most importantly was sticking to a regular Sensory Diet, including balancing out her nutritional needs, and maintaining her routines.

We also have A LOT of calendars in our house that we use to work Jaimie through upcoming events, pictured charts to work her through new tasks and stickers for EVERYTHING to put up on calendars. It’s amazing how little things like that make such a huge difference. When she knows something is going to happen and understands the steps involved, she handles it so much better.

4) What did you try that didn't work?

Play Therapy worked with helping Jaimie learn to use play as a way to communicate because for the longest time, she wouldn’t communicate with us at all. She didn’t even try speaking until she was way over three. We realized later on that was because communicating with us meant we had to do it back to her and she wasn’t always able to handle that interaction. But after a year, it stopped working. It was because there was no focus on her SPD needs.

In home therapy was great with initial assessments and stuff but that wasn’t the right choice for Jaimie. There was no separation from her therapy and her safe place, you know? Once we chose therapy outside of our home she was much more receptive to practicing her Sensory Diet.

Psychiatric therapy and drug therapy were suggested right off the bat. Of course, they were just focusing on her behaviors, not the underlying causes of those behaviors. We were told to put Jaimie on anti-anxiety and anti-depressants when she was only three years old! We aren’t ‘anti-drug’ and know that it works with some kiddos who have additional problems but we refused to use drugs for a disorder when we had no idea how those drugs would affect her nervous system. We filed such treatments as a last resort after trying other holistic approaches.

‘Sterile’ therapies where Jaimie had to be in a hospital environment or ‘observed’ by several professionals all at the same time didn’t work either. Jaimie reacted best to one person in a warm environment working with what she was comfortable with then slowly introducing her to new things.

5) What were some reactions by doctors and professionals to the sensory problems?

This is a great question. In the beginning, all we wanted was for someone to just listen to our concerns, tell us what was going on then put us in the direction to figure out how to help Jaimie. But people weren’t understanding our concerns. We were told that she was ‘just spirited’ or ‘testing her boundaries’ and that everything would work out. It never did. It wasn’t until Jaimie had a sensory meltdown so severe that she injured herself, me and her baby sister at the time (not purposely but when you’re throwing yourself around with your eyes screwed shut and screaming, you don’t look around you.) that our pediatrician finally got on board with us. He’s an amazing doctor, very supportive (now) but it was a long, frustrating road.

After her initial assessment by an occupational therapist (OT), we were guided to a local community resource. At first she dealt mainly with a Play Therapist but the psychiatrist who headed Jaimie’s case was very “pro-drugs” and tried convincing us to consider drug therapy. We wouldn’t. She diagnosed Jaimie with severe anxiety (Separation, General, Social anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder, OCD) stressing that for a child with her level of anxiety, she needed help in order to focus on the therapy at hand. We kept refusing.

After a couple more years, we found out about a fantastic SPD clinic here in our city (YAY!) and decided we were going that route. The psychiatrist wasn’t happy about our choice. She felt that Jaimie’s anxiety hadn’t gone away the entire time she’d been at the clinic and that if we ignored her anxieties, she’d only end up getting worse. Her exact words to us were, “Jaimie has severe anxiety, Chynna. Yes, she has sensory issues and the anxiety and those issues seem to work hand-in-hand—each one affecting and intensifying the other. But those SPD OTs only see the child through sensory lenses—everything is because of SPD. At some point, you will both have to realize that your child has a mental illness and that you need to get her proper care. Just be open-minded to drug therapy.”

Let’s just say that was the last session we had there. The point of me sharing that with you is that parents need to see their child as a whole and be sure that whoever treats their child sees her as a whole. If you don’t meet every angle of your child, she isn’t going to thrive. Once we ‘got’ that Jaimie had SPD but also needed help with her nutritional needs and anxiety at the same time, we focused on all areas and she started doing much better.

6) What should somebody do if they think their kid or themselves have Sensory Processing Disorder?

The first thing to do is write down everything—symptoms, triggers, what calms the child (or themselves)…everything. Then research places in his area who deal specifically with people who have sensory sensitivities or SPD. If you have trouble finding someone in your area, visit the American Occupational Therapy Association ( or the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists ( or even the SPD Foundation ( to find someone. It’s very important to find an OT who is specifically trained, for years preferably, with people who have sensory issues. If you’re looking for your child, find a person who has experience dealing with children or focuses mainly on pediatric OT.

Once you figure out your child’s, or your own, specific needs things can start getting better.

7) Do you have any other tips that could make life easier on someone dealing with sensory processing issues?

Even with therapy and the Sensory Diet in place it can still be a trying time helping our child cope with SPD. Basically, patience is key. Go with what works at a given time then change things up a bit when you notice your child isn’t using the same tools or exercises. My good friend, Lori, tells me to watch Jaimie with ‘sensory glasses’ on. That’s how you can tell when something sensory is going on that needs action or when she’s just being a grumpy seven-year old testing her boundaries. Because above all else Jaimie is just a little girl.

Parents, or adults with sensory issues, would do great connecting with other parents. That helps ease feelings of isolation or frustration. Sometimes just talking to someone who understands what you’re going through—whether on the phone or online—can be enough to make you feel better.

You can find Chynna's blog at

I received a copy of the book to review, but also one to giveaway!

To enter, tell me anything about sensory processing problems. (whether it be a tip, an experience with your own child/you, a statistic, quote from a site, etc...)

Extra entries (please leave one comment per entry)
*Follow me on Google Friend Connect
*Follow me on Twitter (AspergersKitty)
*Follow Chynna on Google Friend Connect

Residents of U.S. and Canada are welcome; winner will be picked on noon March 1st, 2010.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

To Write Love on Her Arms

Wondering what that new item is on the side of my blog? It's by SocialVibe and by taking a few minutes to do easy things like answer a poll, it helps To Write Love on Her Arms.

To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.

Soon, To Write Love on Her Arms is opening an online crisis help site called ImAlive. Please take a minute and click on the SocialVibe box to help To Write Love on Her Arms

This is issue is so important, both to the autism community and bloggers.
If you are in need of help, here are some resources:
For Telephone support:
Here is a list of our hotlines in the US

(800)442-4673 .....1-800-442-HOPE -- same routing as 1-800-SUICIDE

(877)838-2838 .....1-877-Vet2Vet Veterans peer support line

(800)784-2432 .....1-800-SUICIDA Spanish speaking suicide hotline

(877)968-8454 .....1-877-YOUTHLINE teen to teen peer counseling hotline

(800)472-3457 .....1-800-GRADHLP Grad student hotline

(800)773-6667 .....1-800-PPD-MOMS Post partum depression hotline

For a list of hotlines outside the US go here:

For email support 24 x 7:
It may take a few hours or more to generate a response

For online chat support now:
(none of these are 24 x7 but will tell you if online counselors are available)

You can also check the front of your phonebook for local numbers or even call emergency services.

A miracle in Haiti
After being trapped in his collapsed home for 3 days, 2 year old Redjeson Hausteen Claude was reunited with his mother.

(photo by Gerald Herbert/AP)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Misunderstandings about me...

I think there's some misunderstandings about me among people. I'd like to clear them up, because it really sucks when people think you're something you're not.

*I do not hate parents of autistics. Never have, never will. I have a bit of a hard time understanding them at times, because I more often can see their child's side than theirs. I do know having a special needs child or adult is very stressful. I see this in my own stepmom and father all the time.

*I do not oppose treating autism. It's when people want to do something that is dangerous that bothers me. Or when a company is cheating people out of money by selling a treatment that doesn't work. A person is better off autistic than dead. And the more money wasted on miracle snake oil is less that can be used to actually help anybody.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Vaccines, kids, autism, and Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition

What a title! Now to explain it. One day while looking at things on Twitter, I came across the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition. I was impressed! People who know what they are talking about and work hard to get children life-saving vaccines? Sounds nifty! And to make the rest of the story short, I asked for and was given the chance to interview them by e-mail. So, without further delay....

What and who is the Colorado Children's Immunization Coalition?
The Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition (CCIC) is a state-wide independent, nonprofit organization that works to promote improved access, delivery and demand for childhood vaccinations to keep Colorado’s kids healthy.

Parents often have questions about vaccines. New parents want to know when their child needs to be vaccinated. Some parents need assistance in finding free or low-cost vaccines. Other parents have questions about the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

CCIC is here to answer those questions with accurate, credible and current information about the vaccines that keep kids healthy. The organization welcomes all questions and dialogue about vaccines.

To learn more about childhood vaccines, become a CCIC member or make a donation, visit or any of our social media channels:
Facebook -
YouTube -
Twitter -
Mom Blog –

Where does the funding come from?
CCIC and its membership are committed to avoiding conflict of interest or even its appearance in accepting financial support from corporations with vested interests in how consumers, the health care community, and education professionals regard their products. To assure that conflicts of interest do not occur, CCIC's Board of Directors has determined that acceptance of general or targeted gifts from any source, and CCIC's subsequent relationship to these donors, shall be governed by our Gift and Sponsorship Acceptance Policy. CCIC does not accept funds from businesses that manufacture or distribute vaccines. To see a full list of our supporters and read our annual report visit

What vaccines would you recommend infants receive?
We recommend that parents follow the CDC recommended vaccine schedule - - for their child’s vaccination. Vaccines save lives and it’s important to follow this tried, tested and true schedule.

Are they safe?

Vaccines are among the safest things we do for infants and children. The United States currently has the safest, most effective vaccines in history. Vaccines are tested for years before they can be used by doctors. Once they are being used, vaccines are continually monitored for safety. We vaccinate to save lives and without them countless children would not have the gift of good health.

What is your opinion of the alternative schedule proposed by Dr. Sears?

The biggest medical problem with the delayed schedule is that it leaves babies open to disease for a longer period of time. If a baby is vaccinated by the CDC’s tried, tested and true vaccine schedule, that baby will have immunity to over 14 diseases by the age of two! With the CDC recommended schedule, babies visit their doctor five times in the first 15 months and receive protection against up to 14 diseases in as little as 18 shots if using combination vaccines, or as many as 26 shots if using individual antigens.

We immunize children so young against these diseases because infancy is the time period that kids are MOST vulnerable to life-threatening diseases. The people at greatest risk of dying from vaccine-preventable disease are the very young and the very old. We vaccinate to save lives.

On the delayed schedule, by 15 months of age children will have only received immunity against eight diseases. They miss out on measles, rubella, chickenpox, Hep A, and Hep B. By 15 months, children on this delayed schedule are given 17 shots and visit the doctor’s office 9 times - almost twice as many visits to the doctor as the CDC schedule.

Is there any scientific proof of vaccines causing autism?

No. I wish I could end there, but parents deserve proof.

We have been battling the false connection between MMR and Autism for over a decade. It all started in 1998 with Dr. Andrew Wakefield and his survey of 12 children in which he concluded that 6 of the 9 children’s parent or physician linked the onset of developmental regression with the administration of the MMR shot. This study set off the fire storm around the MMR vaccine and this study has been closely scrutinized and questioned.

It is to be noted that by 2004 10 of 11 of Dr. Wakefield’s co-authors had retracted the interpretation and just this year, the Sunday Times ( reveled evidence that Wakefield fixed the data of his 1998 study.

As good stewards of science and holding public health as its number one priority, in fall 2000 the CDC and National Institutes of Health convened to examine the MMR vaccine to see if it did cause autism. After examination of the science behind the issue,
“they rejected the causal relationship between the MMR vaccine and ASD based on the facts that there was a lack of epidermologicic evidence and lack of biologic models.”

Other countries also examined this issue, trying to recreate Dr. Wakefield’s results. The JSPN article outlines numerous studies which have examined this issue. Here are a few highlights:

In 2002, scientists in Denmark studies over one million children and found no difference in the risk of autism between MMR-vaccinated and unvaccinated children.

To pile on more evidence, even through Japan has withdrawn the MMR vaccine in 1993, autism rates continues to increase there.

In February of this year, The US Court of Federal Claims found that “after reviewing 5,000 pates of transcripts, 939 medical articles, 50 expert reports and hearing testimony from 28 experts” that MMR and thimerosal-containing vaccines do not cause autism.

Just recently on September 22, 2009, the National Health Service (NHS) Information Centre found that autism rates are consistent among adults is identical the rates of autism among children -at about 1%.

Autism is a serious concern for America’s children. Autism is continuing to increase even though we’ve eliminated MMR as a cause. We need to put funding and attention to finding preventative measures and treatment for these children that goes beyond vaccines.

Wordless Wednesday: Silly brother

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Glad to Give Baking program

Glad to Give

I love to write about companies helping charity. Childhood cancer is a cause close to my heart after seeing my friend struggle with her toddler's cancer. So I was impressed after finding Glad's Glad to Give site. Glad helps you put together a bake sale for Cookies for Kids Cancer. Also, Glad matched all funds raised by Cookies for Kids Cancer in November and December 2009, up to $100,000. It may be too late for you to help in that part, but you can still hold a bake sale with the kit and give the funds to Cookies for Kids Cancer.

Cookies for Kids Cancer is a great charity. Here's a bit about them:
"Cookies for Kids' Cancer was created to raise awareness of and funds for pediatric cancer research. But it all started with a kid fighting cancer and his parents’ desire to help him and others.

When 2-year old Liam was diagnosed with a deadly form of pediatric cancer called Neuroblastoma, his family learned quickly it is a cancer that only about 30% of children survive. They were shocked to hear the reason for such terrible odds was directly related to how little money was being spent on research by both the government and the pharmaceutical industry. Pediatric cancer is the leading cause of death by disease for children under the age of 18. Why then is it not a priority to develop new and better treatments for the children of our nation and the world? It is this very question that prompted Liam’s mom and dad, Gretchen and Larry, to get involved and to do all they could to help save their son."

If you're not up to a bake sale or like me have no baking skill; you can buy cookies online:

The smell of a giveaway!

Right now my room smells like Birthday Cake! It usually smells like hamster, but Lee's Crossroads Candles sent me a Birthday Cake reed diffuser to try! I think my family enjoys it as much as I do; considering they don't have to smell hamster in the hall. Lee's Crossroads Candles sells a huge selection of wonderful scented candles and reed diffusers. Reed diffusers can be a great alternative for somebody who is worried about fire. Other items Lee's Crossroads Candles sells areelectric candles, pillars, votives, primitive country candles, scented carpet fresheners, jelly jars, fixins, and even scented toilet paper. I love the selection of scents, they have so many to choose from. Some I think sound good are: Hot Chocolate, Apple Pie, Sugar Cookie, Fireside Embers...really, you should go take a look for yourself!

What's wonderful for my readers is Lee's Crossroads Candles is offering a giveaway here! You get your choice of item and scent from their site! So how do you enter? There's many ways (make sure to leave a different comment for each one) :

First (required) : Leave a comment of what item and scent you like best from Lee's Crossroads Candles along with your e-mail address.

Extra entries:
*Create an account at
*Follow me on Twitter at AspergersKitty
*Follow me on Google Friend Connect

The giveaway will be closed on January 31st, 2010 at noon. The winner will be picked by's random number generator.

Disclosure: I have received a free Birthday Cake reed diffuser and allowed to host a giveaway in exchange for this review.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

One mom shares story of regret over skipping vaccine

Warning: Very sad.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Paul Offit, Amy Wallace, and Conde Nast being sued!<~~ Copy of suit <~~~ Blog article on Science Based Medicine blog about the suit.

Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center is suing Paul Offit, Amy Wallace, and Conde Nast (the publisher of Wired magazine).

Apparently, somebody publishing the truth and not bad science is grounds for being sued. What in the world? If they have such solid evidence of their vaccine theory, why do they feel the need to *sue* somebody for disagreeing with them? If their evidence is unshakable, why not publish that?

Really, this has me flabbergasted...

Check out Wired on the stands right now!

The issue of Wired magazine on the stands right now has my letter printed in the Rants and Raves part!
Thank you for your article. I am autistic, and I am sick of the anti-vaccine movement. They waste time and money that could go toward helping autistics. I’d love to see Jenny McCarthy be as passionate about job training, respite care, social skill classes, and providing communication devices to poor families as she is about spouting anti-vaccine lies. It would be nice to see Generation Rescue replace its dangerous practice of promoting chelation with the practice of promoting proven safe treatments. Hopefully your article has gotten more people to understand how destructive the anti-vaccine movement is.
Brandy Nichole Wilson
Virginia Beach, Virginia

Wired Rants and Raves

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Goodbye, Rain Man

Laurence Kim Peek
Nov. 11, 1951 - Dec. 19, 2009
Kim Peek is best known as the inspiration for the character Raymond in the 1988 movie "Rain Man". Although the character in Rain Man is autistic, it was later determined Kim Peek is not autistic. He had savant syndrome as well a malformed cerebellum and missing corpus callosum. Kim Peek's memory amazed many in that he memorized over 10,000 books (including phone books) as well as what day of the week a date falls on. Despite his exceptional memory, tasks such as brushing his teeth and dressing himself proved to be daunting. When Kim was a baby; the doctors said he would never talk and his parents should put him away. Kim's father has spent years with his son touring to educate people about disabilities. I may not know Kim Peek personally, but I've known of him. I'm sad to hear he has passed, but I know he lived a rich life with a loving father taking care of him.

Want to win a HP 110 mini netbook?

If you want to win a HP 110 mini netbook, you should go comment over at Multiple Blessings on this post:
Multiple Blessings
The netbook features Windows 7, intergrated wireless technology, a built in webcam, and so much more. It has a 10.1" display yet is 1" thin and weighs around 2.35 lbs.

The HP ll0 mini netbook costs around $329.99 but you could win one for free. Go check out the Multiple Blessings blog post to learn the details:
Multiple Blessings

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Mug & Tea Leaf interview

I frequent the Online Sweepstakes message board and noticed one of the members has a shop called The Mug & Tea Leaf What really impressed me was The Mug & Tea Leaf is donating 100% of their January 2010 profits to St. Jude's and a local food bank! So I did a little Q&A to find out more.

Q: What inspired you to donate January's profits to charity?

A: We often donate to worthy causes (3, 4 times a year; around 1 time per quarter) - it is what our company is based upon - Being as green as humanly possible and charitable! We thought that to start the year off right and in positive form - why not donate the very first profits of 2010?

Q: Why did you pick St. Jude's and a food bank?

A:The economy has really taken a hit and people who were fine before have found themselves in dire situations. In our society, food is often taken for granted - as though our cabinets and refrigerators magically fill themselves at night. Food banks help those who need it with one of the most important necessities in life - healthier foods and temporary peace of mind. St. Jude's turns no one away as long as the child qualifies medically and they do not treat on the basis of the parent's ability to pay. I cannot imagine being in that position, whether or not I had the ability to pay. For a parent going through that, it must be a true beacon of hope.

Q: Could you explain the Green Tea Project?

A: The Green Tea Project is a project that started just after the company was formed. Upon buying and opening a ready-made salad at the store, we found plastic package after plastic package: one for the salad itself, one for the dressing, one for the croutons, and one for the cheese. It was a horrific waste of resources that will take eons to break down. So we formed the Green Tea Project. Basically, we made our products 100% Earth-friendly. Here are the details, starting with the outside and working in.

*Box filling - we use cute, shredded recycled lavender paper. This is very easily reused, recycled, or tossed in the compost bin.

*The box - the box your tea arrives in is attractive, durable, heavy card stock. We do not paste our name all over the box and it closes on its own - so after your tea is gone, it makes a perfect gift, keepsake, or storage box. No need to worry about it saying "The Mug and Tea Leaf" all over it - reuse it as many times as you want or use it to give a gift to someone else. If you really like our product, you won't need reminding via the box and, therefore, we've saved it from the landfill by making it 100% reusable.

*The package - the package that the tea is actually in is made of waxed paper, which easily breaks down, even in the compost heap. It keeps the tea fresh, but you don't have to worry about a plastic bag that will last forever in the dump.

*The tea bags - we believe simple is best, so our tea bags do not have a string, little tab at the end (as most do at the end of the string), or both of the staples that are usually included with the tea bag (one to hold on the string and one to keep the bag sealed). We use heat-sealable bags, making sure that extra cotton (in the string) isn't wasted, paper isn't wasted (the tab), and metals aren't wasted (or even near your tea!) using the pointless staples. Just drop in the tea bag, let sit, and retrieve with spoon or other utensil - easy peasy and a lot less waste.

*The tea itself - tea is delicious, but what do you do with it after it is done? Not only does it easily break down (it is plant matter, after all!) if you throw it away, but it is fantastic for the compost bin, potted plants, or just emptying the bags into the yard. The tea breaks down and provides essential minerals and nutrients to plants.

Q:What's your favorite product you sell?

A:My favorite product to sell is anything the customer wants to us to create. For example, a customer requested something herbal with a citrus twist and a hint of bite, so we created a lamb mint tea base with organic orange peel and a dash of black pepper. The pepper brought out the light tones of the lamb mint and the muskier tones of the organic orange peel.

Q: What made you decide to open your own business?

A:I decided to open my own business because I wanted to do something positive for the world. I did not really have dreams of being the biggest tea company in the world (they sell tea bags 100/$1, I cannot compete with that). I did want to create teas that people really enjoyed and instantly knew the quality. We painstakingly create, measure, and refine the teas to make sure you get exactly what you want. And by creating a product that customers would want, I would be able to take some of those profits and put them in the hands of the charities that truly needed them. With an eco-friendly bend, I was able to create a company that cares about both the Earth and the people that inhabit her.

Q: What is your advice for anybody else looking to start their own business?

A: If you want to start your own company - do it! People talk about writing books, losing weight, learning a new language and all that is wonderful as long as you take that first step. Be forewarned, it is hard work and it is easy to cut corners - but don't - they easily show. And do it the legal way - don't just throw up a store online and hope for the best; instead, form a company (sole proprietorship, LLC, whatever works best for you), and put all your efforts into it. Almost all the information you will ever need about business can be found online.

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