Monday, June 09, 2008

Updates/Summer Focus Time

There is much on which to report since the last time I wrote. Most activities were expected, planned events, though a couple of others were not.

The weekend of May 23 Wife and I went to Chicago for the Autism One conference. We were very fortunate to have Wife's parents ("Grandma-mama and Granpa") stay with Moose here at Chesterley. We learned a great deal and met some other parents in the same boat. There is a certain energy found in being surrounded by 1,800 others who also have a close connection to a person with autism disorder. It's pretty intense. Jenny McCarthy was the keynote speaker…she's really an amazing spokesperson for the cause. And yeah, she's a hottie too. Hey, just being honest!

We came home Sunday the 25th. On Wednesday the 28th we had Moose's official meeting at the local public school to determine if he is still eligible for special education services. Well DUH – of course he is! Haha. Seriously, the meeting went very well. We continue to be pleased with the available services in our local schools, and the general knowledge that all of the staff members have, from the principal to the teacher's aides, that seems to be consistent among everyone we've met this year. They even allowed me to put on my researcher's hat and really question some of the instruments they use to assess his developmental level. The good news is that we all have similar views on how to use these sorts of data sources: no one instrument can tell the entire story. This is a good thing.

Later that day, I went back to Chicago to help a friend prepare for his wedding. I was the best man. Suzanne and Moose joined in later that weekend. We had a GREAT time. The groom was the best man in my wedding to Wife 11 years ago, so we enjoyed having a couple of days to catch up on old times. We've been good friends for 21 years, but we had not spent that much time together in a long while. Thing is: I caught a nasty head cold on Thursday, and then I wasn't really a good steward of my body the rest of the weekend (I was up too late, eating/drinking too much, should have been in bed). I made a darn good feverish best man, lemme tell ya! LOL. But I've had trouble knocking the cold ever since. Almost gone, but I ended up missing last Monday & Tuesday of work, which is throwing off another part of my summer schedule…

Last week was supposed to mark the beginning of a focused dissertation work time for me. I'm taking a significant amount of time off from working at LMUU each week in order to focus on the diss. Unfortunately the first week of that focused time was thrown off by my illness. Silly thing, being sick, isn't it? So this week will really be the first. My goal is to get a big part of the data analysis done before the end of next month. It's definitely possible. Not sure HOW at this point, but it's beginning to feel sort of like the end of a semester. Usually in the last two weeks of a term, I wonder how the hell I'll get it all done. But then when push comes to shove, I always managed to get by. This will likely be the same drill, I suppose.

Some good news: allow me to toot my own horn for a moment (wait a minute, it's my blog, I can toot my horn as much as I damn well please!). Just before the first trip to Chicago, I learned that I won a dissertation award from my department! Basically I'm getting reimbursed for expenses I've already paid related to conducting the study, like gift certificates to participants, purchasing the tape recorder and tapes, getting the tapes transcribed, and driving to & from SCT last fall multiple times. Thing is: they actually gave me a good amount more money than I had requested. Huh? Did that really happen? Honestly, the most humbling part of this whole thing was that this was a decision of a faculty committee in my program. The faculty read my dissertation proposal, and they liked it enough to actually throw some money my way. Wow. That was a good way to wind up the month of May. Woohoo!

Well, I hope to be updating this blog quite a bit more starting this week, especially since I'll have more time devoted directly to the dissertation work. Yay.

1 comment:

R said...

Not surprised at all that you won an award but that is fantastic! COngrats!

New York Magazine, about three weeks ago, had a great article on autism and the various theories around its causes. Really good. Did you see?