Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Up, Up and Away

Filed under: Blogging,Social Media — by at 11:18 am on Wednesday, April 28, 2010

street level view of Michigan Avenue in Chicago If everything has gone as planned, I’m now sitting on the plane, ready to take off. Chicago, here I come!

I’m off to Chicago for SOBCon2010: a conference for Successful and Outstanding Bloggers. Among other things, expected highlights will likely include a quick trip to the Apple store, a meeting with my friends Amy and Karen atop the ferris wheel at Navy Pier, plus, quite possibly, a karoke duet with Chris Brogan, which, hopefully, will not be YouTube’d!

I will share my adventures next weekend (I’ll be home late next Thursday night ). Until then, here’s a recap of last year’s trip to Chicago:

Make it an awesome week! 🙂

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The Apple iPad: Finally an Affordable Augmentative Communication Device, But Is It Accessible?

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 5:36 pm on Saturday, April 24, 2010

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices enable individuals with speech impairments and those who are non-verbal to communicate. However, for the most part, these devices serve only one purpose: communication. If the individual wants to perform another task, another piece of technology is needed. These devices are typically heavy and pricey; for example, the DynaVox M³ weighs 4lb s11oz and costs $3,285USD; the DynaVox V and Vmax, with somewhat more functionality, weigh 4lbs 11oz and 6lbs 14oz, respectively, and come with hefty price tags of $7,820USD and $8,420USD. Accessories are extra, of course!

Enter the newest, hottest gadget the iPad…weighing a slim 1.5 pounds and starting at $499USD.

Add the Prologue2Go application – communication software for the iPhone, iPod touch and now the iPad – for $189.99USD and you have an augmentative communication device, which does more than communicate, for a fraction of the cost.

However, with its touch screen, how user friendly is the iPad for people with shaky or jerky hand control? Will things be uncontrollably flipping by on the screen or will apps be flying open unwontedly? Will I inadvertently say something I did not intend? Will this device be more frustration than it’s worth?

With touch screens being the next wave in technology, I’m curious to see whether I will be able it use them accurately even with my questionable hand control. Next Wednesday I am off to Chicago for SOBCon2010: Biz School for Bloggers. Thursday is my one free day and, being mere blocks from an Apple store, an iPad may find its way into my possession. (iPads aren’t due out in Canada until late May.)

If I’m lucky, I will also download the right app from the App Store and have a new communication device in time for SOBCon. Taking an unproven, unfamiliar, uncustomized AAC to a lively, highly sociable conference – nothing like living on the edge!

The alphabet card - the ultimate, low tech alphabet cardI’ll also have my trusted, low tech alphabet card with me…just in case!

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Sometimes Having Faith Requires Creative Problem Solving

Filed under: Living with a disability,Motivation — by at 7:29 pm on Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My sleepy Faith kitty Saturday afternoon found Darrell and I making an unplanned trip to the vet and having my Faith kitty sedated for x-rays and blood tests. The results indicate my furry baby has hyperthyroidism and early signs of kidney disease. Oh lovely!

Speaking with the vet about the test results yesterday, there are three ways to treat hyperthyroidism:

  1. Medication: one pill twice a day for life, or
  2. Surgery: to remove the thyroid, but might not get all of the gland if some is further down in the chest, or
  3. Radiation: at a Vancouver clinic. From my crash course in feline hyperthyroidism on Sunday night, cats are then in isolation for two weeks. And, the procedure is expensive.

Leaving hyperthyroidism untreated, at least at this point, can lead to severe illness, kidney failure, seizures and such. Not something I want my cat to go through. Since the last two treatment options sound too drastic right now (I’d need to be sedated first!), that only leaves the medication route.

My cat Faith in a fierce-looking pose Now, Faith is a loving, purring, affectionate cat…with me…most of the time. I call her my puppy-cat. But, only when it’s on her terms. Other times, when she is scared or threatened, she lashes out…with all of how ever many claws she has! Getting her into her carrier to take to vet left my left hand looking like ground meat!

The thought of giving her a pill twice a day for the rest of her life (or mine!) was: Yeah, right! How the heck am I going to catch her, pry open her mouth, pop in a pill and make her swallow…twice a day…without looking like ground meat permanently? I love my cat dearly and will anything I can to give her a health and happy life, but let’s get real here!

The vet gave me twenty pills – one per day to start – to try to get into Faith any way I could. He was as skeptical as I was.

On the wheel home, I began doing what I do: creative problem solving. By the time we arrived home, I had an idea.

I still had several cans of giblets with gravy left from several weeks ago when I was trying Faith on different foods after learning the long trusted Purina brand is filled with crap and could be the reason why Faith had been sick and lethargic earlier this year. She didn’t like the giblets, but she loved the gravy! If I dissolved a pill in a tiny bit of water and then mixed it with the gravy, perhaps the medication would end up in Faith without me needing to lose a body part!

I gave it a shot. Faith licked the bowl clean, spitting out the giblets. In theory, the medicine was now in her! I tried again this morning, making sure yesterday’s success was a fluke. Again, Faith licked the bowl clean. Yes! Two for two!

Great. But, there’s not point buying canned cat food for only the gravy. What I need is kitty gravy made and then frozen in ice cube trays. Then I pop out a frozen cube, thaw and dissolve in a pill. Faith thinks she’s getting a treat while, really, she’s getting her medicine without me losing a limb. A brilliant idea, even I do say so myself!

My cat Faith playing with the camera strap Mom has volunteered to concoct a kitty gravy. (Thanks, Mom!)

Creative problem solving at its finest.

Hopefully, Faith will soon be back on track to being her healthy, playful self and that she will resume her Chief Feline Officer’s duties shortly.

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Springing into My Favourite Season

Filed under: Motivation — by at 10:47 pm on Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spring is my favourite season of the year! I love how life is filled with newness; new growth…

Pink rhododendron buds before bursting open

I love the vibrant colours…

Purple violas with yellow centers

The flowers need not worry about what colours are in vogue – and, yet, they are always beautiful!

Even the weeds are looking their finest…

A flower pot filled with weeds in full bloom

I love the fresh, airy feeling of spring…

A magnolia tree in bloom

After my home being closed up for the winter, spring is time to throw open the windows and doors to let in fresh air.

Spring is lush…

Green shubbery under the cedar trees

before the summer’s heat turns everything brown.

Spring is magnificent abundance…

Tree in full bloom

When these two trees are in full bloom, they are my absolute favourite part of spring in the neighbourhood!

To me, spring is lush, vibrant and abundant life. What a joyous way to live!

What is your favourite season?

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Social Media Empowers Otherwise Silenced Voices: The Discussion Continues

Filed under: Living with a disability,Social Media — by at 12:07 am on Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I’ve been thinking about an earlier post in which I shared these 25 words about social media:

Social media gives voices to individuals marginalized and ignored by traditional media, enabling the world to hear these voices for the first time in history.

Some of the voices I have had the pleasure of hearing, which would not have been heard otherwise, include:

  • Jenna Lumbardt’s story: Jenna is a young woman with autism and who is non-verbal. She shares her story via an email interview, which is then shared on a blog. When else in history would her own voice, in her own words, have been heard?
  • Dave Hingsburger: I have had a professional crush on Dave since being involved with one project many moons ago. I read his blog when I need to hear another’s insight or the perspective of a fellow comrade in this daily battle for acceptance, accessibility and equality. This one video,  in which he shares his experience of witnessing abuse in an institution caring for people with disabilities, is particularly shocking and moving. Where in traditional media would you hear his powerful experiences and words without them being edited or spun a certain way?
  • Tom Rogers: I first discovered Tom on YouTube. He’s a young kid who has cerebral palsy and shares his knowledge and expertise with computer technology via his webcam while laying the floor. He is now also blogging, doing reviews and sharing his opinions on technology. When else in history could a kid in a wheelchair share his passion for computers with a loyal audience? This young guy is going places!
  • Ricky Buchanan: A still undiagnosed disability leaves her completely bedridden most days, yet she leads a very active life online. When else in history could an otherwise invisible (in the sense that she’s not out and about) member of society share her insights of living within four walls? (Watch for an interview with Ricky coming soon!)

This is quite an empowering time for many and, because these voices are now being heard, others are becoming enlightened and aware of people with disabilities.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. How has this shift in media and hearing (or being heard) for the first time these previously marginalized voices impacted you?

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