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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Updated Website - www.rachel-schneider.com

Hi CTMS Readers!

In preparation for the release of my upcoming sensory guidebook, Making Sense: A Guide to Sensory Issues, as well as a few other big projects and speaking opportunities in 2016, I've updated my website, www.rachel-schneider.com.

Be sure to check out the site for:



















What do you think of the new site? Is anything missing that would help you on your sensory journey? Leave me a note and let me know!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Jonas' Sensory Aftermath

Unless you're a bear deep in the throes of your wintry hibernation (in which case, how kind of you to wake up for this post . . . and how human of you to own a computer), you undoubtedly know that much of the East Coast of the U.S. was hit by a major blizzard named Jonas last week:
My Name is Jonas
(Having a Weezer moment)




















See the hot pink around the bottom tip of New York State and the island protrusion just beyond? Somewhere between those two masses of land is where I live with my husband, smack-dab in the middle of 18-24" territory, and 24" is being stingy, IMHO. Somewhere I heard that we got upwards of 30". To say it's "snowy" here is like saying the Arctic is cold. It's not incorrect. The Arctic is cold, just as New York City is snowy, but it loses the intensity of meaning somewhere along the way.

This is snowy:
Aww, how adorable you are, you lil sprinkling, you




And this is what our street looked like only 24 hours after the storm started:

Yes, those undefinable lumps are cars
In the cartoony words of one of my favorite artists, Natalie Dee:


And well, normally I do. Like I've said here before, I feel my best in the cold. Between my proprioception and tactile needs, chilly weather helps my body feel connected to the ground. In the cold, I feel the full parameters of my skin, and so I know where I end and where the rest of the world begins. A rarity in my life with SPD.

Snow is a beautiful add-on to my particular set of sensory needs. Aside from the crisp air and sudden quiet, a heavy snowfall typically means a few comfy, warm, safe, tucked-away days with loved ones sipping cups of hot cocoa. It means snow angels and snowy eyelashes and super-soft fleece. But when the snow stops falling, the sky turns blue, and the city I live in resumes its normal buzz, I am left with the sensory aftermath of a snowstorm.

Sure, it's challenging enough for a neurotypical out there right now. The snow is everywhere. For a city that prides itself on walking, New York City, post Jonas, is pretty incredible. Through the feet of snow, brave explorers have begun to make their own snail's path down the frosted city streets. The rest of the pedestrians follow these paths to the footprint, melting the once tiny strides into walkways between snowy caverns. Mounds of snow stand between you and everywhere you need to be. Walking a block turns into a game of chicken - who gets to walk on the established paths and who needs to trek into otherwise untouched heaps of white.

Crossing the street becomes like scaling a frozen fortress . . . or even the Frozen fortress:
If only I could just let it go





Yes, let's talk about ice and slush. It's everywhere. New York City, post-Jonas, is essentially one large skating rink without skates; a solid pond of slippery. It's every 90s kid's wintry Slip-n-Slide dream.

And then there's me and my SPD.

Let me say this. Most days, it's challenging for me to engage with the outside world. It's loud, it's bright, it's in undulating motion. It's an unpredictable cacophony of sensory demands and unwelcome surprises. There are certain things I can rely on. I know that while I am over-responsive to sight and sound and completely under-responsive to proprioception, I can rely on touch and even balance to keep me going. (Fine, I'm no balance-beam-striding gymnast, but let's just say that I have bigger sensory fish to fry than fret over my less-pressing vestibular issues.) Add a pair of thick gloves and heavy boots to the mix and Disney on Ice to the sensory world outside, and I've become even more of an (albeit, temporary) sensory disaster. On this morning's walk alone, I almost fell a total of seven times. Each time I put my gloves on, the lack of cold air on my skin made my vision, hearing, and proprioception even more complex. I couldn't reasonably predict where I could stand, where I could walk, where I could fall, and where I could cross, and so, frustrated and ready to stand firmly on solid ground, I returned home, never happier to be back inside.

I know I've said nothing unusual in this post. Once upon a time, during a very strangely warm winter, there was a storm named Jonas, and many are working to cope with the aftermath of this blizzard. I'm a lucky one - we never lost power, we stayed safe. But I suppose the aftermath of this storm can serve as a reminder to all of us.

Someone in your midst, perhaps even you, lives a life with challenges, be they neurological, psychological, physical, or medical in some way. For this person, a blizzard is not just simply a blizzard. It's not just a beautiful, natural event followed by the inconvenience of dirty snow and overzealous sidewalk salting. It's a temporary shift in ability and a momentary lapse of stability.

It's a sensory aftermath that no doppler radar or even weatherperson can predict.

****
Shameless Self Promotion: Want to learn about SPD from a delayed-diagnosis sensory adult's perspective and hear more from yours truly? Pre-order Making Sense: A Guide to Sensory Issues today!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Sensory Focus Magazine's Winter Edition - Featuring Making Sense: A Guide to Sensory Issues

Imagine my surprise when I opened an email from my friends at Sensory World and found this amazing cover of the winter issue of Sensory Focus Magazine attached!


I'm so thrilled to share another excerpt from Making Sense: A Guide to Sensory Issues with all of SF's readers, and I'm beyond excited to be featured so prominently on the cover. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

FREE Excerpt of Making Sense: A Guide to Sensory Issues



So many of you have expressed interest in taking a peek at my upcoming sensory guidebook, Making Sense: A Guide to Sensory Issues (thanks for the love, by the way, I'm sending it back to you), and I've heard you loud and clear! To whet your sensory literary appetite, I've picked the first seven pages of Chapter 1: A Quick Confession from my book to share with you. 

Why Chapter 1? Good question. 

I actually hemmed and hawed for a while trying to pick the perfect seven-page segment, as prescribed by my publisher, to release out into the blogosphere. Let me tell you that writing a book is an exciting, scary, and complicated process, and nothing has ever made me feel as raw and exposed and invigorated as having 160-some-odd-pages of my knowledge published and pushed out into the world for consumption. And so, I thought about what I'd want to read if I were you and you were me. I am a big fan of starting at the beginning of something. Like former Poet Laureate Billy Collins says in his poem Aristotle, "This is the beginning. Almost anything can happen." You won't really understand why I've thirsted for the knowledge that I share throughout the rest of the guide before you understand where I've come from and what I've experienced, and although I share examples from my sensory life throughout the entire book, the first chapter is where I really get to tell my story. 

And so, let's start at the very beginning . . . I hear it's a very good place to start ;-)

Like what you've read? Let me know in the comments of this post, and then go order my book here

(And apologies for the words "Review Copy" through the text - it's how we have to do it until the book is published. It won't be in the final version, I swear.)








Monday, January 11, 2016

One Month Until the Release of My Book, Making Sense: A Guide to Sensory Issues!


As many of you may know, my sensory guidebook, Making Sense: A Guide to Sensory Issues, is due out the first week of February! This book, based on my popular article, The Neurotypicals' Guide to Adults with Sensory Processing Disorder, was truly a labor of love, and covers everything I know about sensory issues as a delayed-diagnosis SPD adult.


Illustrated by another amazing adult with an SPD-only diagnosis (my dear friend Kelly Dillon of Eating Off Plastic), with a foreword by the talented Dr. Sharon Heller of Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight and Uptight & Off Center fame, Making Sense is truly the first book of its kind.

Book Chapters Include:
  • Living in a Sensory World
  • The Senses, Demystified
  • The Neurological Traffic Jam
  • Sensory Issues across the Lifespan
  • Treatment, Tools, and Techniques
  • SPD and Psychopathology
  • Sensory Issues in SPD and ASD

After reviewing the book, Carol Stock Kranowitz, M.A., author of The Out-of-Sync Child Grows Up: Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder in the Adolescent and Young Adult Years and   the Out-of-Sync Child series, said:


















Order your copy today!

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

A eBook version will also be available for purchase in a few weeks, and a FREE excerpt from the book will also posted to my blog sometime this week, so stay tuned for updates!