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Lifestyle HUMOR from The Rebel Housewife: Anecdotes, observations, experiences
On LIFE AT 30 & BEYOND: kids, family, men, BOOKS, cars, pets, tattoos...NASCAR, Aspergers/Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Virtual/Home Schooling, teenagers, Navy Mom...




Sunday
Nov272011

New Rebel Review: Goody, Goody, Goody!

For all the long-hair Ponytail Princess Fashionistas out there...

Rebel Review: NEW Goody Doublewear Ponytailer + Bracelet = Brilliant!

This one was a lot of fun!*

*Of course, really, all of the Rebel Reviews are fun, I just don't always love, Love, LOVE the product so much!

Monday
Nov212011

Formerly Reluctant Facebook Enthusiast

Because of Dear Hubby, the tech geek (affectionately, of course), I have been online and blogging for a very long time...coming up on a decade in 2012 for this blog, as a matter of fact. More and more I feel like the grand dame of bloggers -- the sexy, fun, vibrant one, of course. [Congregation responds: "Of course!"] And so, here we are, 10 years later, and everything is different in the blogosphere. Things that were working five years ago, three years ago, even just last year, don't work anymore, in terms of revenue, interest and technique...to name just a few. It hasn't even been a gradual evolution of marketing, audience and technology. No, more like an epic revolution -- a Digital Spring, if you will, every six months!

While I may have been hesitant to fully embrace change in the past (or just too darn busy keeping up with life in The Real World), as an author, columnist, reviewer, freelance journalist, blogger and now SMM (Social Media Mom), it's time to update, renovate, rework, repurpose and revitalize the old girl.

Check it out & LIKE (please) -- but come right back, because, of course, I have a couple more thoughts on this for you, before I lose you to the awesomeness that is, indeed, Facebook:

www.facebook.com/TheRebelHousewife


Having put that out there, I have been thinking about the Evolution -- er, sorry, the
REVOLUTION(s) of Social Media on The Rebel Housewife...

Twitter @RebelUpdate

Twitter seemed to be the first legitimate uprising in Social Media, and I loved it, for a time, as I mentioned in June 2009:

However...interpersonal and professional communication is changing rapidly in the modern technology-addicted age. Even I have noticed. In the past couple of months, it seems everybody, every organization, every company, large and small, is on Twitter and/or one of the other big social networking sites. I am happy to Twitter, and have fairly successfully acclimated to it, but I'm not going to be MySpace-ing or FaceBook-ing any time soon. The biggest reason not: TMI!

In general, I've discovered my preference for receiving 140-character updates over longer emails, articles, newsletters, etc. - just the facts, please! I also discovered I like the limitation of 140 character messages when sending - Too Much Information, people. I am trying to simplify my life and suppress my own natural tendencies toward verbal spew...

I twittered happily through the summer of 2009, experimented with the concept of TWOGGING (as in, Twitter + Blogging = <3), but that didn't really seem to take off. I embraced 140-character updates. I liked that it was impersonal, that I could welcome the world to my public Twitter feed and not worry too much about privacy, since those little Tweets disappeared into the Twitterverse in a matter of minutes and really, what could you give away in 140 characters? [As it turns out, quite a lot in some cases, i.e. Anthony Weiner, but that was much later...] I indulged in Following, clicking the yes, please! for every passing interest and tenuous connection.

Twitter quickly became overwhelming. Seriously. A lot too impersonal, like thousands of people standing on line in a huge crowd blurting out soundbites. Twitter = Tourette's. It became increasingly difficult to engage with anyone or keep up with anything in the constantly-updating stream. I still check in, every once in a while, but I have realized, just as I am not that extroverted, party snippet, ADD-kind-of-girl in the Real World, I'm not that chatty or energetically interactive on the Internets, either. I like conversation and less sporadic interaction.

To Facebook or Not To Facebook...

And so we come to...Facebook. The Evil Empire of Ultimate Exposure and Disclosure, or so I thought, as I mentioned in May 2010:

I fought it for YEARS...but I am finally on the FaceBook and none too happy about it.

It is all so overwhelming: too much information, infinite points of contact and messaging, strangers lurking, inconvenient intrusions and the biggest potential time-suck I can imagine, especially for addictive personalities and compulsive sharers (I am/have been a member of both groups) -- no offense to my rabid FaceBook Friends who know how to FB and enjoy it, obviously a great deal.

Ha -- or should I say, LOL -- what a difference a year makes! I have since had my come-to-Jesus with Facebook, and I love it sooooo...

I joined FaceBook that summer, with a personal profile, for one reason only: to interact with our school community at the time, Georgia Cyber Academy, which was all virtual, with 6,000 students and families all over Georgia. Facebook was the primary means of communication and interaction among parents about school, activities, local offline events and everything related.

Once I joined and put it out there, personally, people found me, I found people and now I have almost 100 Friends, which is more than enough. People take all different approaches to Facebook -- from the very personal and intimate profile page to very public profiles and pages, with hundreds or thousands of virtual strangers hanging on every status update (or so they think). I prefer to know and have some connection to the people with whom I am communicating, interacting and sharing updates of my life and family -- with photos -- on my personal profile, anyway.

I tried to Facebook small, in the beginning. I enjoyed the interaction within the online school community, and then it started getting bigger. I discovered old friends from high school I hadn't seen or talked to in 25 years. And more found me. I connected with Dear Hubby's extended family all over the country. And more found me. Local friends and other random, wonderful connections. Ditto. And finally, just recently, on my personal profile, it happened: a Friend Request from a stranger, related by blood -- a half-sister, long-lost, which is a long story for another time, found by Facebook. And more found me.

So I am loving Facebook. It shrinks the big world and keeps us connected. To me, that is a wonderful thing. I even set up the private Facebook Group for parents at our new school to interact and keep in touch.

With my youngest former-homeschooler settling into a new school, it came time to get back to work: monetizing the website, new projects and book proposals, magazine articles and freelance work (all that revitalization I mentioned earlier). It quickly became obvious that Facebook Pages, for businesses, brands and public personalities, is the new calling card, online resume and a quick & easy means of interaction...and that's where we are today, for now, until the next big revolution...



Sunday
Oct022011

New Rebel Review Posted - October 2011

October 2011 is Asperger's Awareness Month on www.RebelHousewife.com (continuing a theme, I know!), beginning with a new Rebel Review!

Check it out:
Rebel Review - BOOKS: Life at The Edge and Beyond by Jan Greenman
"An amazing book for a very special audience..."

Monday
Aug012011

The Rebel Housewife on Asperger Syndrome

I published a two-part article about Asperger Syndrome on The Rebel Housewife blog because I needed to write this information for my son's school and also to provide a resource for other parents and teachers. When I first heard the term Asperger's, I had no idea what it was. My first question: "Is it a degenerative condition?" (No, it isn't!)

I had a lot to learn, as my son's diagnosis was confirmed several months later and my personal investigative journey into Autism and Asperger Syndrome began. I read everything I could get my hands or Internets on; I talked and worked with other parents, doctors and experts. I took my son out of an elementary school that wasn't working for him and home schooled (through Georgia Cyber Academy) for two years.

I have since come to see Asperger's as a gift -- a unique personality: quirky, but brilliant. I see Asperger's as a child, with love, support and guidance, destined for an amazing future, someone who can and will change the world.

Not easy, though. Never easy.

I like to think challenges build character, strength and resilience. I have a lot of faith that will prove to be true.

Although I have loved home schooling with my Aspie Phenom, as he enters 6th grade and Middle School, we both need more regular interaction with other kids and supportive adults. He is going back to public school and I have my hopes and concerns, optimism and pessimism in equal measure.

I needed to share my experience and what I have learned with my son's teachers and the people who will be working with him. I learned before that not a lot of people in our schools know much, if anything, about ASD/Asperger Syndrome, so I have tried to share some information, without deluge of technical detail or information overload.

Feel free to copy, link, reference, share and use this information as a brief introduction to ASD/Asperger Syndrome from an amateur expert. I hope it helps!

Part 1 - Helping Students With ASD/Asperger's Succeed
Part 2 - 10 Easy Ways to Help ASD/Asperger Students Succeed

Monday
Aug012011

Helping Students With ASD/Asperger's Succeed - For Teachers

Helping Student With ASD/Asperger's Succeed - For Teachers

By Sherri Caldwell, Asperger’s Parent, Researcher, Author and Learning Coach
For more information, contact Sherri@rebelhousewife.com.

Asperger Syndrome is a neurological difference and is classified as an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Every child is unique and Autism is a spectrum with wide variation. In my experience, Asperger’s kids are brilliant: sometimes scary-smart, logical and honest, with intense concentration, ability to focus and specialized interests, often in highly-technical areas: computers, science, math and defined aspects of history (i.e. WWII).

With so much brain specialization, it should not be a surprise that ASD/Asperger’s kids (also known as “Aspies”) can exhibit deficiencies in other areas:
  • Emotional immaturity: Although often academically advanced, emotional maturity -- their understanding of self and others -- is typically about 3/4 their age: A 12-year-old Aspie behaves and responds to the world at a 9-year-old level.
  • Social interaction/trust: A marked characteristic of Autism is extreme inner focus; kids seem to be preoccupied in their own little world much of the time. They have great difficulty seeing anyone else’s perspective or showing empathy. These kids must learn social awareness and interactions that we often take for granted.
  • Sensory issues: Aspies see and experience the world very differently. Their five senses seem to be constantly under attack and overwhelm from noise, chaos, visual stimulation, touch, texture, hot/cold, etc.
  • ANXIETY: Aspies have a high need for routine, structure and consistency.
Key areas ASD kids need to work on and need help with are flexibility, managing frustration/anxiety, social skills & interaction. They are easily overwhelmed, which can lead to dramatic meltdowns, from not knowing what to expect or how to respond and react in an often (to them) hostile and confusing environment.

Another marked characteristic of ASD/Asperger’s is the inability to look other people in the eye, which can be very frustrating to teachers, but should not be, if you understand why. As an extraordinary 13-year-old Aspie* author explains: “Sometimes it is too hard to concentrate on listening and looking at the same time.” The sensory overwhelm of trying to process and understand both visual and auditory cues at the same time is extremely challenging. So they listen. Eye contact improves as the Aspie child learns to trust the person who is speaking.
* Luke Jackson - Freaks, Geeks & Asperger Syndrome: A User Guide to Adolescence.

Supportive adults empower kids -- not only to recognize and manage challenges, but to value individual strengths and very special abilities, too. The key to success for any child is self-improvement through self-knowledge and learned strategies for self-management and interaction. ASD kids get upset very easily and recovery can be difficult. Very often, they simply need a break from the constant bombardment of sensory stimuli and confusion -- a quiet place to regroup. Most of all, they need supportive adults to accept them, love them and help them figure themselves out at school and in the world.

See Part 2: 10 Easy Ways to Help ASD/Asperger Students Succeed

Sherri Caldwell is an amateur Asperger's expert, with extensive personal experience as a parent, researcher, writer and teacher with an Asperger's son, diagnosed at age 9.
For more information, contact Sherri@rebelhousewife.com.


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