Archive for January 21, 2014

They Look Normal

Have you ever notice how we naturally tend to judge people without even being aware of it.  Maybe a guy walks by and we look at him and think “man why doesn’t he do something with his hair”?  Or maybe a woman walks by and we think “doesn’t she realize those pants look awful on her”?  I know petty as it may seem we all have done it or do this on a regular basis.  What about those times that we are in the store and we see a child that has an awful tantrum?  What is your first thought? “Those parents need to learn to get their child under control” or “If that were my kid I’d take them home and give them a good spanking or time out”.  Does this resonate with you?  Have you actually gone up to the parent and made a negative comment about their parenting skills?

We’ve all heard the saying “you should never judge a book by its cover”.  In life this applies  to people and situations more then you may realize.  Let’s go back to that child in the store and take a closer look at what might really be going on.  We have a mother that is taking her child to the store.  But what you don’t see or know is that this is a child with a disability.  Well how can that be you say because “they look normal”.  Ah here is the kicker….they look like any other child on the “outside”, but on the inside they are “wired” totally differently.  This trip to the store has over stimulated the child and all the noise, lights, crowds and waiting has caused this particular child to go into “sensory overload” and they are actually in physical pain over it.  All the child can do is meltdown to deal with it.  So the parent is doing everything they can to try to calm the child and get them out of the store.  I have experienced this first-hand as I have one of these children that “looks normal” but is wired differently.  And yes I have experienced the comments and looks from those “judging the situation” and my “parenting skills”.  I also work with children that “look normal” but actually have different disabilities even from my own child.  There are a lot of these individuals out there in our communities.

I hope that this blog post affects us all by nothing more than making us take a moment to stop and think when we witness something out in the community with a child, teenager or adult that may seem “odd” even though they may “look normal”.  Give them the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe their brains are just wired differently.  This doesn’t make them any “less” than anyone else…just different.

Guest blog by Deanna Rouse an advocate and parent of a child with one of the invisible disabilities.

Epilepsy and Medical Cannabis

Guest Blog by Jamie Sagona – Self-Advocate and friend.

I came across a New York Times article, which led me to a Huffington Post article,

which led me to a Tedx Talk video that blew my mind. It inspired my to do a large

amount of research into medical cannabis and its use for the treatment of seizures

(among other things). It has been a long time since any treatment for epilepsy or any

medical conditions for that matter has gotten me so excited or given me such hope.

One of the more cutting edge treatments gaining notoriety for treating seizures,

even the most severe seizures in children, is not what you might expect. It’s

medical cannabis. A specially derived extract from a plant that has been bred to

have no psychoactive effects, but more analgesic and anti-inflammatory qualities.

It has essential no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive element found

in cannabis, and it has a high concentration of the non-psychoactive element

cannabidiol (CBD).

So far, there have been no reported negative side effects from taking medical

cannabis. Pharmaceutical treatments for seizures often cause one if not several of

the following: weight gain, fatigue, kidney damage, liver damage, depression, and

cognitive processing problems, among other problems.

A non-profit organization in Colorado called Realm of Caring developed this special

strain of medical cannabis and distributes it to children and adults with various

medical conditions, including epilepsy.

Children that were taking numerous pharmaceuticals and still having hundreds of

seizures a week are now seizure free or virtually seizure free after just one dose of

this cannabis extract. Not only are they seizure free, their cognitive and physical

development has rapidly improved as well. Research currently being conducted

indicates that this improvement my not only be a result of the lack of seizures, but

also due to a property of the medical cannabis.

The irony is that as far back as 1949, research conducted in the United States

showed that cannabis a good treatment for seizures. I am on a quest to learn more

about medical cannabis and its effect on seizures. What I have learned is just

the starting point for me. More research is being done every day internationally

to discover the medical properties and uses for medical cannabis. Luckily,

everyday more information comes out and more formal research studies are being


I think it is not only important for me to share research regarding cannabis as a

treatment for epilepsy, but also as it relates to treatment for medical conditions

such as Alzheimer’s, Arthritis, Anxiety, Glaucoma, Depression, Multiple Sclerosis,

Cancer, Chronic Pain, PTSD, Parkinson’s, Migraines, Nausea, Tourette’s Syndrome,

HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, and Crohn’s Disease. And these are just a few of the medical

conditions that we know of so far. Pass it on.