Autism Awareness

1444358529678

Hi everyone!

I  am super excited about sharing some information and resources about autism.  When I first started my training as marriage and family therapist, I worked primarily with children who were diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder during my graduate internship.  In graduate school we had an opportunity to learn about this disorder, but we never got a chance to really go in-depth.  For me, the best way to understand more about autism to actually get experience working with children autism and I did tons of  research.

Back in the day, not long ago, autism related disorders were all grouped as pervasive developmental disorders (PDD). Some of theses disorders were called Asperger Syndrome, autistic disorder, and childhood disintegrative disorder.  There has been a recent change in the name for autism in the new version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5)  that has now grouped all of these disorders into Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Over the summer, a young lady named Kathleen saw my blog and reached out to share her story and online resources.  Kathleen was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and she is a part-time high school student and volunteer-intern-extraordinaire  at EducatorLabs. For more info about Asperger Syndrome click here. Thank you, dear, for sharing resources and I applaud you for all of the hard work you are doing to educate us about Autism Spectrum Disorders.  I would like everyone to educate and familiarize yourself with Autism Spectrum Disorders.  If anyone else knows of any other resources, please reach out.  I enjoy spreading awareness about mental health!

Talk to you soon,

Brandi

Recommended Resources

Autism Speaks Resource Guide

http://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/resource-guide

Career Assistance for People with Autism

http://www.hloom.com/career-assistance-for-people-with-autism/

National Center for Autism Resources & Education

https://www.disability.gov/resource/national-center-for-autism-resources-education-ncare/

Autism Educational Materials

http://www.autismweb.com/materials.htm

AutismNOW Transition Planning

http://autismnow.org/in-the-classroom/transition-planning-for-students/

Aquatic Therapy for Children with Autism

http://www.saveonpoolsupplies.com/landing/aquatic-therapy-for-children-with-autism.aspx

Autism

http://healthfinder.gov/FindServices/SearchContext.aspx?topic=81

Guide to Flying with an Autistic Child

http://www.e-aircraftsupply.com/aircraft_products/file/guide-to-flying-with-a-child.aspx

Advertisements

Six Steps to Becoming Empowered

wpid-photogrid_1430376384786.jpg

Hey ladies and gentlemen,

I want to take a few moments of your time to share some simple ways of becoming empowered people.  I truly believe that a lot of us have labelled being empowered as achieving a certain level of success, status, and popularity.  If that was the case, then suicide rates and dissatisfaction with life would not be prevalent.  I want to share some personal things that I have done in my process of becoming empowered.

  1. Choose to be authentically, genuine.  I have yet to meet a person who is empowered and phony simultaneously.  I have met people whose words appeared positive and their actions seemed kind.  But something was off.  There is this natural energy that comes from a person who is truthful in character, word, and deed.  If there is one thing that I do hold myself accountable for is authenticity.
  2. Celebrate Others.  On this journey of empowerment, finding beauty and inspiration in others is important.  I have seen that people who have a hard time celebrating and appreciating others have issues with jealousy, competition, and comparison.  You have to choose to be inspired by others instead of crippled by insecurities.  Choose to shine your light by shining on others.  I look to find beauty and qualities in others because I grow.  It’s simple to celebrate others.  Pay compliments, show support, and share what inspires you about a person.  Be authentic in celebrating others. Shine light on others and you’ll shine light on yourself.
  3. Celebrate Yourself.  In this journey of being empowered.  You must take time to celebrate yourself.  Celebrating yourself is not being narcissistic.  It means taking time to appreciate your awesomeness.  I have been guilty of not celebrating my talents and abilities because the people who were around me were not content with themselves.  Celebrating yourself is owning everything about you–your strengths and flaws.  Pamper and splurge on yourself.  Celebrate small successes and accomplishments.  Allow others to celebrate you.  Choose to not accept negative thoughts and voices and remind yourself of those qualities and traits that make you unique and special.  Love yourself and don’t back down.
  4. Invest in Yourself.  The most valuable asset that you have is your life.  Take time to feed your spirit, your body, and your mind.  Your spirit, body, and mind are all connected and thrive on each other.  Your total well-being is essential for being empowered and whole as a person.  Make it a priority educate yourself on your passions, goals, and desires.  Seek to be balanced in this unbalanced world.  You only have one life, one body, one mind and one spirit–each one is vital to your sustainability.
  5. Surround Yourself with Positive, Balanced-Seeking People.  People are essential in your journey to empowerment.  We are created to be relational beings, and our relationships either enhance or drain us.  Some relationships offer nothing.  Toxic and unhealthy connections could hinder and sometimes abort our journey to being empowered.  The beauty is that we don’t have to allow our special relationships to remain that way.  It is important that we connect with people to are actively working on being better and healthy.  Support is great and having good people around you helps push you to be better.   When I see those around me improving, it inspires me to be better. One of my favorite scripture verses is from Proverbs 27:17 is “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens of a friend.”
  6. Check Yourself.   This step, to me, covers all of the other steps.  Checking yourself means staying aware of your choices, feelings, thoughts, actions, and behaviors.  Sometimes we can easily get off balanced for different reasons– some are in our control and others are out  our control.  Make sure that we evaluate ours lives.  Are we doing things to better ourselves?  Are we happy and content with our actions and behaviors? Find ways to handle life changes.  Be honest about where we are and where we want to be.  If there are areas that need improvement, own it and grow.  Evaluate what energy you are giving and receiving.  Get help if you need it and receive help.

Being empowered is a beautiful and freeing way of life.  The journey is not about being perfect.  It’s about being better, healthier, and whole.

We’re in this journey together!

Brandi

Blog Update: Life, Adjusting and Changing (The Extended Version)

Hey everyone!  I have been away from blogging over the past few weeks because I have been recovering from the flu and upper and lower respiratory infections.  I am excited about blogging but honestly I have not been able to do what I have desired to do so with blogging.  So please bear with me with this post.

I am super excited to let you know that my sister, Jessica, will be joining me on this blog.  So please show her some love!  We will sharing our experiences and projects we will be working on.  She has a lot of great things to share and I am super-duper excited about merging with Jess.  Be on the look out:-)

 

 

So, I just wanted to catch you up on what’s been going on with me. I have been feeling disconnected with blogging due to life circumstances.

A lot has been transpired over the past two years. I’ve experienced so many emotions–sadness, happiness, nervousness, excitement, uncertainty…I lost my grandmother in April  2013 which was absolutely devastating.  It was difficult and painful to see someone who I have share so many special moments with and known all of my life pass away right before my eyes. I stayed with her during her first health scare.  I was present when she stopped breathing and was pronounced dead with my family. She was lively, feisty, and most of all giving.  I knew her health was declining, but I never expected for her leave so soon.  I’m allowing myself to grieve.

IMG_4404

In the summer of 2013, I moved  from west Tennessee to the Washington DC area then back to middle Tennessee that fall. I moved back to my hometown in West Tennessee back in the summer of 2014. The moving was exhausting…on so many levels.  I am finally still.

In April of 2014, I lost my dog.  She went blind on the day my grandmother died and experienced some major illnesses that involved me giving her fluids through an IV.  I did a lot to preserve her life and health.  She went lame two months due to health complications. She died year later on the day my grandmother was buried. This seems so unreal.  I am still grieving and I know that it will take time. I never knew that having a pet could change your life in such a positive way.

IMG_0265

Another change that has occurred is that I am back in school working on my doctorate.  I finally took a leap to begin the process of getting my PhD which is dream of mine.  I had a lot of reservations about going back to school, but I knew it was time.  With support and much prayer, I have gotten A’s and one B in all of my classes.  Thank God!  It definitely hasn’t been easy working full-time as a therapist and having busy schedule.

I could go on and on about what’s been going on.

I took a break and I am still on a break from working as a therapist because I have had some really poor work environments.  I really enjoy counseling but I have worked with co-workers who are unhappy and negative.  It is hard to be apart of teams that do not genuinely care for people and who are unprofessional.  I did not go to school to become a marriage and family therapist to be in unproductive environments.

Back in December, Jessica’s dog passed away four days before Christmas.  I called Jazzy my niece. It’s crazy how my sister got our dogs eight months apart and they died eight months apart.  We miss her a lot because she helped us cope with my dog’s death and now she’s gone.

IMG_0368

My body, mind, and spirit have suffered tremendously do to all of the changes in my life. With all of the major life changes that have occurred, I needed a little time to have some fun and enjoy myself.  So, I have been directing my energy towards thing that make me happy. That means I have been doing a lot of self-soothing.  I will be sharing with you all the things that are helping me.  I am getting refocused and re-centered.  We all go through major life changes.  It is so important that we take time to stay as balanced and healthy as we can.

I want to thank everyone who has subscribed, read, or liked something that I have shared on my blog.  I appreciate it!  Be on the look out for more great things!

With love,

Brandi 😉

 

Pretty Ugly Syndrome

 

 

 

image

Hi beautiful people! I’ve been thinking a lot about how to address an issue that so people do not deal with properly. It’s the Pretty Ugly Syndrome. It’s a condition when people focus most of their time on working on their outward appearance and neglect working on their spirit, character, and mind. People with Pretty Ugly Syndrome look good but are not kind, self-absorbed, and mean.

It absolutely fine to look good and feel good. However, it is not good or healthy to be ugly on the inside. The title of my blog begins with “lovely”. I purposely begin with lovely because it is more important to have a kind and loving spirit. I like fashion, but it is just an extension of my creativity.

I want to encourage you to do some self-reflection on what you are investing your time and energy on. Focus on creating a balance of being beautiful on the inside and outside. It is possible. Take time to give back to others, read a self-help book, or learn a new skill. Allow inner your inner beauty to grow and it will radiate outwardly. Deal with the Pretty Ugly Syndrome so that it won’t limit yourself positive love, relationships, and opportunities.

wpid-wp-1415250975954.jpeg

 

wpid-wp-1415250967869.png

wpid-wp-1415250960568.png

Check Yourself Part 1

If you where to ask your family, friends, or co-workers to describe your character, what would they say, honestly?  Think about that.  It’s not so much about what people think but rather the impression that you give.  No matter who you are, we all leave an impression​.  So actually a few months ago, I asked some people that I’m close to about the impression I have had on them. Mind you when it comes to character I am not one to sugar coat the truth so I asked them to be REAL.  So, I sent out a few text messages to co-workers, friends, and family. So, I waited for responses…What I received was very humbling and encouraging.

I think, it is essential to have a “checks and balances” system with a few people in your life so that you maintain integrity and good character. Let me be clear, this is not about finding validation and definition of yourself through others. But rather, having a close person or people who know you well enough to be honest and transparent about your strengths and areas of improvement. They also should have the ability to communicate to you constructively.

Also, it is vital to be aware of yourself. Are you fair and just when you deal with people? Have you been called arrogant or condescending? Do you notice that you don’t get the respect that you deserve in close relationships? On and on…

The reason I am addressing this issue is because I’ve seen too many people who have an unhealthy checks and balances system. Some people are so close-minded that they believe that all is well and that they have arrived to their highest level. Some people are not accepting of the help provided in key relationships. I have even seen people who are extremely opinionated and critical of others get offended when their character is being addressed to them.

People, it is so important to check ourselves. Let’s be aware of our motives, values, and character. Allow positive relationships to enhance us stronger and healthier individuals

I’m ending this post with a very popular quote. “Check yourself before you wreck yourself.”

With much love~Brandi ♥

image