Mooney, Jonathan. The Short Bus, A Journey Beyond Normal. St. Martin's Griffin; NY: 2007.

Subject - Mooney drives his 'short bus', the Special Ed. bus, across the US meeting folks who are receiving or received special education services in the past. He ponders the idea of 'normal' deciphering just what does it mean.

Perry, MD, PhD, Bruce D. and Maia Szalavitz. The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog. Basic Books, A Member of Perseus Books Groups; New York: 2006.

Subject - Dr. Perry shares stories of children with whom he's worked over the years, children who have suffered trauma at some point in their lives - children who "can teach us sbout loss, love, and healing" (Perry: Summary).


What I've Learned About The Brain

The brain has always fascinated me, since my first psychology class in high school.  How do we learn? How do we remember? What makes us do what we do? What's the difference between mind and brain? 

The brain is a complex structure with many hidden components still waiting to be discovered. Imaging technology has opened many doors into the workings of the brain, but not all doors yet.  

Here is some of what I've learned:

  • For the most part, the left side of the brain holds much of the language center, both receptive (what we know/understand/hear) and expressive (what we express/say). 
  • Our brains can compensate for damage on the left side by transferring some language tasks to the right side. 
  • When there is damage through trauma, stroke, tumor, etc. on the left side of the brain, it affects the right side of the body
  • Thankful for the plasticity of the brain.  We can teach an old dog new tricks! 
  • For those who have suffered a stroke, tumor, or debilitating brain trauma, when expressive language is compromised, assume that the person is still hearing and understanding
  • No two brain insults/injuries are the same. Characteristics vary extensively. So do not provide 'cookie-cutter' responses. 
  • It is a long and difficult road caring for a person who has a brain tumor, brain injury, stroke or other insults on the brain.

No one can possibly understand the all-encompassing aspect of this situation unless you walk within the shoes of those affected, such as the caregiver's shoes.  It is life-altering, to say the least. Even the tiniest glimmers of movement, such as lifting or bending a finger or twitching the mouth can be rewarding positive milestones of hope. What the rest of us take for granted on a daily basis, is a huge accomplishment to think about and act upon with those who have compromised brain systems.  Patience and flexibility truly are virtues we all need to experience in this world of compromised brain systems.  Always maintain hope.

Hope is what drives you forward in times of need.

To ask questions or share information please email:  katedross22@gmail.com