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Life Skills Checklist for Special Needs Teens and Young Adults

Life Skills Checklist for Special Needs Teens and Young Adults

This is a list we started working on for all of our kids to set goals for attempting to learn these life skills. Of course each individual living with special needs has different capacities and levels of comprehension. Our special needs son will need help in many areas to achieve this, so in some ways it’s a list for us now – caregivers in the future.

  • Maintain relationships – faith in God, home, church, family, friends, co-workers, community
  • Maintain good hygiene
  • Sexual health
  • Caring for clothes – what you wear (washing, drying, ironing, storing, organizing)
  • Using technology for communication (smartphone, email, tablets, desktops)
  • Tie a necktie
  • Self protection (call for help, hand-to-hand, weapon safety)
  • Vaccinations
  • House cleaning, maintenance and organization
  • House emergency prep
  • Kitchen use
  • Technology maintainence
  • Car maintainence
  • Auto emergency prep
  • Personal finance management (accounts, investing, saving, taxes, budgeting, credit score, protection)
  • Personal insurances
  • Personal document management (certificates, passport, records, social security)
  • Career and Work (interviews, job search)
  • Life Learning and Education
  • Travel – air, land, sea
  • How to comparison shop and find discounts for anything (small and big purchases)
  • Personal etiquette – thank yous, greetings, hand-shakes, courtesies, respect
Context of Play

Context of Play

When our son was diagnosed with autism and behavior & intellectual challenges several years ago, one of the main points the doctor (who had 20+ years experience of working with children) made to us was that everything we wanted our son to truly and meaningfully understand should be wrapped in the context of “play”.

That advice has proved consistently true as our son has grown. Successful communication with a special needs child, preteen, teen, young adult, or adult who deals with autism and behavior & intellectual challenges is naturally and sincerely playful. It receives the most notable response.

I believe it makes the strongest connections and gains trust with the child you love and you want he or she to know that you love them.


Are you considering creating a dwelling space in your backyard or near your home? Here’s some info to consider:

An accessory dwelling unit (ADU), refers to a secondary residential dwelling unit located on a single-family lot. (These units can be referred to as a carriage house, granny flat, mother-in-law suite, auxiliary unit, English basement, or cottage; ADU is the technical term.)

A collection of ADUs built around one larger structure is known as a tiny house community. Both ADUs and tiny house communities are only allowed in certain states. “Construction codes tell you how to build your house,” explains Andrew Morrison, of Tiny House Build. “Zoning depends on where you’ll build your house.” Most of the country’s local building codes have been adopted from the International Residential Code (IRC) for one- and two-family dwellings, which contains size specifications like rooms (except bathrooms and kitchens) must be at least 70 square feet, while ceiling height must be at least 7 feet. Texas adopted IRC in 2001. Texas governor Rick Perry signed a bill to adopt the International Residential Code as the municipal residential building code for the state of Texas. It went into effect September 1, 2001, and gave cities until January 1, 2002 to transition and begin enforcing the new code.

Click here for the different building related agencies in Texas for their ICC info.

Zoning regulations are based off more local factors, and determine the size requirements of your home based on what zone it’s located in.

Click here for the Administrative Rules of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs 10 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 80

Check for deed restrictions. Real estate deed restrictions restrict or limit the way in which a property can be used. Deed restrictions generally run with the land regardless of property ownership. Deed restrictions can also take the form of conditions, covenants and restrictions.

Texas has “unrestricted zoning ordinances”. As you might guess, this (lack of) zoning exists in mostly remote, rural areas throughout the country. The tiny house community Austin LiveWork is an exception, as it’s located 15 minutes outside of the city and is under no zoning governance. Builders are currently planning for tiny resident living over 10 acres of land.

Google Rank Brain

Google Rank Brain

What is Google’s Rank Brain? It is the artificial intelligence (AI) system used for processing search queries.  These queries run at millions per second.  The AI processes very large amounts of written language into vectors (mathematical entities) to communicate with the computer.

If there are words or phrases that Rank Brain doesn’t identify or understand, it begins making guesses for similar data.

Rank Brain is just one of the signals used by Google to determine which search results will appear on the search page and how they are ranked.  Google estimates Rank Brain is responsible for about 15% of searches making it one of the most important of the hundreds of signals used. It is continually growing and changing.

Tensor processing units (TPUs) are being leveraged for this system.

The initial rollout of Rank Brain was early in 2015.  It’s currently thinking…..

Mobile Apps to Progressive Apps

Mobile Apps to Progressive Apps

Mobile, mobile, mobile. Over the past several years mobile reach has continued expanding. For the future, Google is predicting that mobile apps will give way to progressive apps. Their presentation last week at the developer’s conference was very interesting. Mobile versions of websites gave way to mobile apps which are giving way to progressive apps.   I think the concept of progressive apps sounds like the merger of mobile apps and responsive web – joining forces and functions. Package and market it however you’d like, users want similar performance and experiences from whichever device they are using whether they are using in an app or at a website.

Watch the presentation from GOOGLE I/O May 2017

Click here to read more at Google.

Click here to read the TechCrunch article from February 2017.

Why Am I So Tired and Sleepy?

Why Am I So Tired and Sleepy?

Cat Man Do – Simon’s Cat.

Why Am I So Tired and Sleepy? The compound Adenosine (ah-DEN-o-seen) is one factor. Adenosine is produced in the human body by the degradation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the molecule that serves as the “energy currency” for the body’s various cellular functions. The amount of adenosine produced in the brain thus reflects the activity level of its neurons and glial cells. The brain’s intense activity during periods of wakefulness consumes large amounts of ATP and hence causes adenosine to accumulate.

More About Neurons
The neuron is the basic working unit of the brain, a specialized cell designed to transmit information to other nerve cells, muscle, or gland cells. Neurons are cells within the nervous system that transmit information to other nerve cells, muscle, or gland cells.

More About Glial Cells
The glial cells surround neurons and provide support for and insulation between them. Glial cells are the most abundant cell types in the central nervous system. Types of glial cells include oligodendrocytes, astrocytes, ependymal cells, Schwann cells, microglia, and satellite cells. There are about 86-100 billion neurons in the brain. There are about the same number of glial cells in the brain. The glial cells do not carry nerve impulses. There are different types of glial cells: Astrocyte, Microglia, Oligodendroglia, Satellite Cells and Schwann Cells:
Astrocyte (Astroglia): Star-shaped cells that provide physical and nutritional support for neurons: 1) clean up brain “debris”; 2) transport nutrients to neurons; 3) hold neurons in place; 4) digest parts of dead neurons; 5) regulate content of extracellular space
Microglia: Like astrocytes, microglia digest parts of dead neurons.
Oligodendroglia: Provide the insulation (myelin) to neurons in the central nervous system.
Satellite Cells: Physical support to neurons in the peripheral nervous system.
Schwann Cells: Provide the insulation (myelin) to neurons in the peripheral nervous system.

The accumulation of adenosine during waking periods is thus associated with the depletion of the ATP reserves stored as glycogen in the brain. The increased adenosine levels trigger non-REM sleep, during which the brain is less active, thus placing it in a recovery phase that is absolutely essential—among other things, to let it rebuild its stores of glycogen. Because adenosine is continuously metabolized by the enzyme adenosine desaminase, the decline in adenosine production during sleep quickly causes a general decline in adenosine concentrations in the brain, eventually producing conditions more favourable to awakening.

The human body clock is another factor.
Our bodies are in sync with environmental cues such as light and darkness to help determine when we feel awake and when we feel drowsy. This relates to when the body releases melatonin.

Melatonin is a factor.
Your body releases chemicals in a daily rhythm, which your body clock controls. When it gets dark, your body releases a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin signals your body that it’s time to prepare for sleep, and it helps you feel drowsy. The amount of melatonin in your bloodstream peaks as the evening wears on. Researchers believe this peak is an important part of preparing your body for sleep.

What makes you sleep
Molecules That Build Up And Make You Sleep
The Neuron