ADULTS LOOKING BACK AT THEIR ADOLESCENCE
Laurie Appel, OTR/L, has been practicing Occupational Therapy since 1995 and currently resides in Boise, Idaho. After spending 12 years doing individual, home-based, birth-to-3 interventions, Laurie expanded her vision and created an integrative, whole family, multi-disciplinary private practice called The Lotus Tree Sensory Integration Center. Laurie is an advanced cranial-sacral therapist who believes whole-heartedly in the power of love and intention to create a harmonious life for ourselves and our communities. She considers herself a “sensory kid, all grown-up.” www.lotustreeboise.com
Bob Argue is very active in the SW Michigan Human Services community. He is involved with several organizations that help the homeless and help low income people pay their bills. He is an advocate for Veterans’ benefits and serves on the Board of Directors of Disability Network Southwest Michigan. He still isn’t having much luck with traditional dating but is having some success with making new friends and being social.
Paul Balius grew up in Orange County, California, and lives there still with his wife, a lovely and gentle woman. They have three wonderful children. Paul travels widely and has many interests, including scuba diving, playing the piano, riding motorcycles, writing stories, rebuilding cars, admiring art and learning martial arts. He has been a machinist, engineer, and building architect, and presently works as the Director of Information Technology for a large manufacturing firm. For 14 years he volunteered in the Prison Ministry in multiple California prisons and continues counseling and preaching in a home church. He also mentors young men, helping them to reach their potential in life. He is writing his first book.
Gina Betech lives in Mexico where she cares for her family. Her interests include caring for her family; learning about the mind/body/psyche connection; practicing somatic movement, Pilates, and yoga; and studying logoeducation (about Victor Frankl’s psychotherapeutic theories). Through intensive therapy she has experienced amazing improvement in the way she inhabits her own being and relates to the world.
Meredith Joseph Blaine, living in Kentucky, has an M.S. in library and information science. He is a speaker, advocate, and future writer with special interests in Sensory Processing Disorder, autism spectrum disorders, and neuroscience. Found to have an SPD just before age 27, he also has Asperger’s and Tourette’s Disorders. He wants to receive more fun and playful sensory therapies one day, both in an OT gym and in an indoor trampoline park.
Mary Ann Conway was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder in her 50s. She is a multitalented artist, crafter, crocheter and photographer and considers herself a giver, not a taker. She lives with her husband in New Jersey. She wrote about her experiences with SPD when she was 55.
Debbie Feely focusing now on grandkids and church activities, lives in California. She is a homemaker, gardener, wife, sister, mom, “Meema” to 19 grandchildren, and also a homeschool advisor, consultant, speaker and writer. She has an Etsy shop on the Internet where she sells her soft, handmade baby clothes, called ComfyFeely. Although she did not receive treatment for SPD as a child, she learned later about how effective it can be and practiced for 10 years as a Perceptual Motor Therapist. She was 60 when she wrote her piece.
Marlene Gomez, OTR and psychologist, treats children and adults in Mexico City. She is a professor of Psychosocial OT and Human Development in the Instituto de Terapia Ocupacional. A specialty is understanding how teenagers with eating issues may resort to unusual behaviors, and what to help them do so they can live and socialize with more satisfaction.
Temple Grandin, PhD, writes and speaks about her struggles and successes as a person with autism and as a designer of livestock-handling equipment. Half the cattle in the United States are handled in facilities of her design. Living in Colorado, she is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University. She was recently inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her many books include Temple Talks … about Autism and Sensory Issues (2015) and The Autistic Brain (2013). She wrote for The Out-of-Sync Child Grows Up at 66. www.templegrandin.com
Annette Himmelreich, LMSW, a teacher and social worker, lives in Texas. She has worked with traumatized children, adolescents, and adults in a variety of care facilities in the U.S. and Russia. She teaches English as a Second Language and works with those who have gone through grief and loss.
Joanna Lees lives in Indiana with her godmother and a pack of dogs, one cat, and too many wild birds and critters to count. She currently works in property and casualty insurance. Participating in The Out-of-Sync Child Grows Up project and reading about others’ experiences with SPD was a blessing. She now views her past through a different, more kindly lens, and looks forward to her future with renewed anticipation. She took lessons and is now an avid swimmer.
Shonda Lucas lives in Kentucky with her adopted son. She is active on inclusion and disabilities boards, speaks about special education at the University of Kentucky and in the special needs community, and advocates for adoptive parents of children with SPD and other developmental issues.
Judy McCarter, OTR/L, speaks about SPD and other issues and practices SI in her clinic, Functional Therapy, Inc., in Oklahoma. She is still evolving and understanding her gifts with the help of Benny, her service dog.
Jennifer McIlwee Myers was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at the age of 36. She refers to herself as the “Aspie at Large.” She lives in California with her husband and is the author of Growing Up with Sensory Issues: Insider Tips from a Woman with Autism. www.aane.org
Zachary Prossick-Brown was diagnosed with SPD at the age of five and received physical therapy as a boy. Today, he copes effectively by quiet time alone, watching movies, reading, and meditating, and by physical action such as cycling, running, and weight lifting. He also enjoys drawing and producing other kinds of art and socializing with friends. He lives in Texas and works as a crew leader for a custodial team.
Christopher Sabine, LICSW, has Optic Nerve Hypoplasia [ONH] and is significantly visually impaired. Living in Ohio, he is President of ONH Consulting, LLC, which provides support, consultation and advocacy services to families of children with ONH and related conditions. wwwONHConsulting.com
Rachel S. Schneider, M.A., MHC, an SPD community advocate with a background in mental health counseling, is the author of Making Sense: A Guide to Sensory Issues (2016). Diagnosed with SPD at age 27, she chronicles her journey at www.comingtosenses.blogspot.org She lives in New York with her husband. She thanks her loving family for sticking with her all along — even before the diagnosis. Their love and kindness has helped her make the transition into a well-functioning, SPD adult. www.themighty.com
Charles Shidlofsky, OD, was born and raised in Lawrence, New York. His family moved to the Dallas area when he was 16 years old. In 1980, he graduated from J.J. Pearce High School in Richardson, Texas. Dr. Shidlofsky completed his Pre-Optometry studies at the University of Texas at Austin in 1984. He then attended Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tenn. where he received his BS in 1986 and OD in 1988. Upon graduation, he moved back to to the Dallas area to begin his practice.
Dr. S, as he is known around the office, has been very active in Neuro-developmental Optometry for most of his years in practice. He has developed and integrated many unique therapies that have helped thousands of children who have struggled in school due to vision problems often seen in ADD/ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Sensory Processing Disorders, as well as some of the classic vision problems related to focusing, eye teaming, eye movement skills, visual spatial skills, and vision perception issues. He has expanded his work to include those with traumatic and acquired brain injury, stroke, and other neurological processing problems. In addition, he works in the Dallas area with several professional sports teams, as well as weekend athletes, on developing vision skills. Dr. Shidlofsky is a Clinical Director for the Special Olympics Opening Eyes Program.
Dr. Shidlofsky completed his Fellowship for the College of Optometrists in Vision Development in 2011. In addition, he is an Adjunct Professor of Optometry at Southern College of Optometry, University of Houston College of Optometry, University of Incarnate Word-Rosenberg College of Optometry and Western University College of Optometry. He is also director of a private practice residency program in pediatrics/vision therapy/sports vision and neuro-vision rehabilitation through Southern College of Optometry.
Dr. Shidlofsky lives in Plano with his wife of 30 years, Sherri. He has three grown children, Alyssa, Kara, and Ian, who are spread out throughout the country. He stays active by playing ice hockey, traveling, and enjoying family activities. www.neurovisionassociates.com
Andrew Short lives in Canberra, Australia. He has cerebral palsy and is always looking for ways to improve his sensory functioning. He shares many creative ideas on his website www.blindsensoryexploration.com
Ember Walker lives in Nebraska with her husband, her teenage stepson (who recently won the custody battle with his mom to come live with them), and her two boys. She volunteers her time on the Autism Society of Nebraska State Puzzle Walk Committee, as well as the Autism Society of Nebraska First Responders, and Advocacy committee. She also volunteers locally on the Autism Society of Nebraska – Omaha Support Network’s Elementary, Teen, Independence Day, New Year’s, Halloween Hoopla (PreK & Elementary aged children), Sensory Santa, Sensory Friendly Movie, Recreation club, and their Pump It Up committees. Aside from her volunteer work, she is employed by the Autism Society of Nebraska – Omaha Support Network as the Administrative Assistant.
Debra Em Wilson, MA, DPST, who writes about herself and her daughter Shalea, is a neurodevelopmental learning specialist and founder of S’cool Moves, Inc., a company whose mission is to educate about learning differences and create job opportunities for adolescents and adults with disabilities. The family lives in Washington State. Deb is the mother of two teenagers and enjoys her flower gardens, walking the river trails, and spending time with her family and friends. www.schoolmoves.com
Nicole Anson Wolske lives in Massachusetts and is studying to be a pediatric occupational therapist.