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Kathy Marshack News

The Mental Health Benefits of Reading

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Have you noticed that reading is not what it used to be? Thanks to electronics and technology, humans find ways to get information now without even reading. You can look up directions on YouTube, watch TV to get the latest news, or go see the movie instead of reading the book. While there is nothing wrong with any of those things, in fact they can be quite helpful, we should not be quick to forget reading.


Here are some benefits to reading:


Reading is a mental activity. Your brain is a muscle and needs to be exercised. Reading provides exercise for the brain. It is more challenging to the brain to read than to process images. It challenges your intellect and concentration.


Reading helps you develop a wide vocabulary. A skillful reader has a wide recognition vocabulary. He may not know exactly what every word means, but he will have a good general idea of the meaning of the sentence. You will also become increasing curious about new words and be moved to figure them out using the context or looking them up in a dictionary.


Reading trains you to have an active and open mind. Merely grasping the writer's idea is not enough. You must make a positive response to what you read. Be an active, not a passive, reader. Develop the habit of drawing your own conclusions, the habit of active thinking, of agreeing or disagreeing with the author. Keep your mind open; understand and weigh the ideas that you read. A practical part of active reading is the drawing of conclusions.


There is so much to discover when you develop the joy of reading. Grab a book and get going today!   


A note to parents: Take time to read to your children every day. Starting when they are young will build in them an appreciation for books and for reading. It will also improve their language skills, cognitive reasoning, and intellect. This is something that will benefit them in the long run. It also builds a strong connection between parent and child. 

Asperger’s Parents Respond to Changes in the DSM-5

Wednesday, January 09, 2013


Changes to the DSM-5 manual and the criteria for autism diagnosis is a hot topic. In the manual, Asperger Syndrome will be no more. Anyone with Asperger Syndrome will be diagnosed as ASD-Level 1. There has been a wide range of responses to these changes. Today.com posted an article, Farewell to Aspies: Some families reluctant to let go of Asperger's diagnosis, that discusses the responses to this major change. 

 

Timothy Bumpus and his mother, Catzell feel strongly that Asperger Syndrome should have its own category. Timothy commented, "Some of the most brilliant people had Asperger Syndrome, and you just can’t put that under the title of Autism." His mother agrees by stating, "His mind works in a very different way, but we focus on the positive. I don’t call it disabled. I call it differently-abled. There are so many articles I’ve read where people say it’s not a disability at all, that it’s a giftedness. It’s just a whole other level of giftedness. I think [in the DSM-5], Asperger’s should be in its own unique category."

 

Others feel differently. Deborah Knutesen, mother of a 7 year old boy with autism, has another opinion. She says, "I think if there’s a definition of Asperger's and you fall into that, then you’re part of the party. If a different name makes you feel better, okay, but you’re still part of it. And you should be an advocate for it. Our society always has to have a class system. It makes me laugh. [Asperger’s parents] consider themselves the upper class of autism."

 

Time will tell what the long-term effects will be. Experts are optimistic because they believe it will enable everyone on the spectrum to get the care that they need. Download a free chapter of my upcoming book on “Out of Mind - Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome.” 

Recommendations from Family and Partners of Adults with ASD

Friday, December 14, 2012


Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD Support Group was a dream that I had for a long time and it became a reality in 2009. We currently have 474 online members including many from other countries. Our monthly support group meetings are going strong as well as our online message board discussion groups. The stories that pour in are amazing. They are from real people, living a real life as family or partners of an adult with Asperger Syndrome.    


Members online have been sharing resources that they have personally found helpful in regard to being in a relationship with an Aspie. I have decided to share these recommendations through my blog. Who better else to share what works than those who are dealing with it day in and day out?   


I have compiled a few of the recommended resources to share:   


Books


Alone Together: Making an Asperger Marriage Work by Katrin Bentley   

No Team Player by Judith Newton   

The Asperger Couples Workbook: Practical Advice and Activities for Couples and Counselors by Maxine Aston   


Websites   

  

Prosper with Aspergers: Autism Facts and Solutions   


The Neurotypical Site   


If you have any recommendations for books, websites, and other Asperger resources, become a member of the Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD online support group. I will continue to post these recommendations regularly on my blog. Thank you for your continued support.   


If you live in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area, please join us in person on January 19, 2013 for a discussion on this topic - Should I give up?   


Click here to read additional Asperger Syndrome Recommended Links

Promote Fair Compensation for Women in Family Firms

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Women in family businesses are often the backbone of the organization. Whether she’s the founder, a founding partner, a supportive spouse or daughter, or an employee of the family enterprise, a woman often is willing to do work that others feel is beneath them because she recognizes the greater good. Research has shown that when a man starts a business, he usually can count on his wife’s unpaid labor during those lean start-up years. Women entrepreneurs, on the other hand, realize that they must go it alone if their businesses are to succeed. They too use the services of family and friends in those early years, but often their husbands don’t offer unpaid help with such menial chores as housework, child care or envelope stuffing.   


As a stakeholder or a stockholder, a family business woman should be accorded compensation, benefits and perks befitting her considerable contributions to the health of the family and the enterprise. There are two ways to accomplish this. First, the business owners should re-evaluate their standards and update stock, compensation and benefits plans for female employees. Second, they should implement programs to encourage the talent development of the girls in the family.   


Here are some suggestions:

  1. Develop flexible compensation plans that reward women for their hard work and talent even if they work part-time or take a leave of absence.
  2. Institute stock purchase plans for part-timers.
  3. Evaluate voting rights. Is it absolutely necessary to be a partner or a full-time worker to have a vote?
  4. Don’t ever pay the women according to what they would earn at another company. Pay them for their value to your family business. Obviously, a wife or mother is worth much more as your advocate than she would be paid as a bookkeeper in a non-family company.
  5. Pay for child care, and encourage the family business women and men to take advantage of the opportunity. Better yet, set up on-site child-care centers so that family business women will not conflicted about leaving their children to go to work.
  6. Set up a system to mentor the girls in the family. Often young women don’t even consider joining the family business, because they see the handwriting on the wall (i.e., the guys have sewn up all the good jobs). Arrange apprenticeships for the girls so they can learn first-hand about opportunities at your family firm.
  7. Offer scholarships to girls who are willing to study business in college or major in an area applicable to your family business.
  8. Don’t restrict scholarships to college. Offer start-up capital to young women who want to set up their own businesses if they write a good business plan.

Many family business owners mean well but just haven’t taken the time to delve into this problem. But if compensation and other recognition aren’t handled fairly for family business women, the enterprise will suffer from relationship disharmony as well as a “brain drain.” For the health and future success of the family business, these problems need correcting immediately.   

For additional information, visit Entrepreneurial Life - Families in Business. You can also download my recently released eBook for only $9.95 - Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home. Chapter 6 is on “Women Entrepreneurs: Are They Different from Men?”

Entrepreneurial Couples: Making it Work at Work and at Home – Now Available for Download

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


A growing phenomenon are husbands and wives joining forces in an entrepreneurial venture to make their dreams come true. For years I’ve been coaching and writing about these "entrepreneurial couples." And what I’ve observed, and my research supports, is that becoming an entrepreneurial couple is risky both professionally and personally. There are many challenges that come with this lifestyle. It's not an easy road, but the payoff can be great. 

 

My book, Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home - was written to address what it really is like to be an entrepreneurial couple. This book uses real-life examples to identify the challenges of this entrepreneurial lifestyle, as well as offer specific advice to help couples find the right balance at home and at work. It includes interactive questionnaires that help assess strengths and weaknesses in each area of the entrepreneurial lifestyle. If you’re a busy couple, this book is just what you need to help you design a more balanced, integrated, and meaningful entrepreneurial life.

 

Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home – has just been made available on my website as an e-Book. Download this PDF and share a copy with your spouse for easy and convenient access via laptop or tablet. Take it with you on your next vacation or business trip! Click here to download your own copy for only $9.95. 

Out of Mind - Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome

Friday, November 16, 2012


Great news! My new book, Out of Mind - Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome, is finished. I wrote this book to specifically address the unique issues that come up when you’re co-parenting with an Asperger Syndrome partner.


In this book, there are extremes on both ends such as poignant stories with deep despair along with progressive thrills of discovery. I focus on the harsh realities that NTs (Neuro-Typicals or without Asperger’s) face when co-parenting with an Aspie. I discuss the NTs’ fears and anguish and losses. I also give you hope and ideas on how to co-parent more successfully. But it is important to recognize that if we don’t reveal the dark side of these relationships, we can’t search for solutions to the all too real problems of the AS/NT family. The last thing I want to do is leave NT parents with the feeling that they are alone. Erasing that aloneness is the first step toward parenting successfully with an Aspie co-parent.

If you’re parenting with an AS partner, I believe you should learn all you can about Asperger Syndrome because information clears up the mystery of the Aspie behavior. This will help you detach from the emotional distress of reacting to those not-so-ordinary moments.

Out of Mind - Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome will be available very soon. I am eagerly anticipating its release and will keep you updated through my blog and the Enriching Your Life Newsletter.

Until then, please download a free sample chapter! If you live in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area, please join me for the Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Support Group on November 17, 2012. The topic for discussion is "How to Find and Work with a Decent Psychotherapist." Hope to see you there.

How to Avoid Communication Problems in Family Businesses

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Bad communication is a major pitfall for family businesses. If families in business together do not learn how to properly communicate, the business and more importantly, the family will suffer. Poor communication or miscommunication is commonplace because not everyone is a naturally born communicator. It is a skill that has to be developed.


Before a complete communication breakdown, there are usually a few minor missteps that occur. Consider a few of this missteps and how to avoid them. 


Using a filter.  Humans have the tendency to only hear what they want to hear. Our desires, our past experiences, and what we focus on are filters. Filters shape how we listen and how we respond. So, when in conversation, ask yourself if a filter is shaping what you are hearing and speaking. If it is, remove it.  


Complaining. If there is a problem that needs to be solved, don’t be a complainer. Constant complaining is like a nail on a chalkboard and it doesn’t accomplish anything but aggravate the people around you. If there is a problem, speak about the problem and how to solve it. 


Poorly chosen words. You have heard it a million times, but it must be repeated. Think before you speak. Words have the power to cause a lot of damage and it is hard to erase what you say. So instead of saying something you will regret, think about it in advance. If you need time to think, ask politely to resume the discussion after putting some thought into the manner. 


Families in business can learn much about proper communication by enlisting the help of a family therapistContact my office if you are interested in setting up an appointment. 


My book - Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home – is also available for purchase and is highly beneficial for helping entrepreneurial couples to be better communicators. I’ve recently released it as an ebook. Download it and share a copy with your spouse for easy and convenient access via laptop or tablet. Take it with you on your next vacation or business trip! Click here to order your copy.

Tips on Landing a Job When You Have Asperger Syndrome

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Do you or someone you know have Asperger Syndrome? Are they looking for a job? Since Asperger Syndrome impairs nonverbal social interaction, landing and keeping a job can be intimidating. Would like to know how to effectively navigate through this situation?

The book, The Hidden Curriculum of Getting and Keeping a Job: Navigating the Social Landscape of Employment A Guide for Individuals with Autism Spectrum and Other Social-Cognitive Challenges, is a practical guide for teaching the "unwritten rules." These "unwritten rules" are not so obvious for someone on the spectrum. For instance, how to talk to your supervisor, networking, or dealing with frustration.

Two of the three authors are on the spectrum and can speak from experience. I recommend it for anyone on the spectrum, young or old, who is looking for work or looking to improve their social skills in the workplace.

AAPC is the publisher of The Hidden Curriculum. Click here if you are interested in purchasing your own copy.

Prepare for Traveling with an Autistic Child

Monday, November 05, 2012


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1 in 88 children are on the autism spectrum. Because of this staggering statistic, there has been a major push to provide awareness throughout the community. In response to this growing awareness, the travel industry is taking note. 

Traveling with an autistic child can be overwhelming to both child and parent. In order to ease the stress of traveling, certain airports in the country are providing "mock boarding" experiences. This free program offers a trial run of what it is like to buy tickets, go through security, and buckling up on a plane that never takes off. Washington Dulles International Airport as well as Atlanta, Boston, Bridgeport, Manchester, Philadelphia, and Newark have offered this special program.  

TSA also provides a hotline - TSA Cares (1-855) 787-2227. Call 72 hours before your flight to let them know that you are in need of assistance. Try requesting use of the handicap line. Also, alert your airline. Keep in mind that not everyone will be compassionate to your situation. While awareness is growing, there are still many who do not understand. Do you best to be prepared, but realize there is only so much you can control. 

For more information and travel tips, I recommend reading The New York Times Article - Testing Autism and Air Travel. You may also be interested in my soon-to-be-released book,
 “Out of Mind - Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome,” click here to download a sample chapter. 


Autism's Context Blindness

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Mind blindness has become a common phrased used to explain the lack of empathy exhibited by individuals with autism. It has been used to explain the disconnect between social and emotional cognition. The facts are clear to an individual with autism, but non verbal communication or body language is lost due to mind blindness. Understanding mind blindness has been a critical part to understanding the autistic brain. According to some new research...there may be another type of blindness known as context blindness.

Dr. Peter Vermeulen discusses context blindness is his new book, Autism as Context Blindness. Vermeulen says, "The term context has its own intriguing historical context. Context comes from the Latin word contextus, the past continuous tense of contexere, which means to 'weave' or 'entwine.'" Context shapes our responses to life. For a person without autism (referred to as a neuro-tyical in the autistic world), life is relative or depends on the context. For someone with autism, life is absolute. Absolute is necessary to certain aspects in life, but not when it comes to social interaction.

NT's are always in the process of weaving a tapestry of relationships within relationships. Other people are how we come to know ourselves and our lives. NT's feel bereft without the connecting that is so important to us. Aspies cannot see the forest for the trees.

We will be discussing Context Blindness on September 15, 2012 at 1:00 in Portland, Oregon for the Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD. Until then, pick up a copy of Autism as Context Blindness or click here to read Dr. Vermeulen's article: Autism: From Mind Blindness to Context Blindness. This new light may prove to be ground breaking.

My upcoming book, Parenting with a Spouse or Partner with Asperger Syndrome: Out of Mind, Out of Sight will discuss context blindness with regard to parenting with an Asperger partner. Click here to read a free sample chapter. 


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