You are currently browsing the Self-Promo category
Displaying 1 - 10 of 55 entries.

Welcome to StephanieAllenCrist.com!

  • Posted on January 27, 2015 at 3:38 AM

If you’re still on my old autism blog, Embracing Chaos, I invite you to hop on over here. You should find all the old posts and comments you’ve enjoy or made in the past. You’ll also find all my future posts as they are uploaded in the, um, well, future. But you won’t find those posts here. I’ll leave this post up for a while, but I won’t be updating this blog. After enough people have had time to make the leap over to the new site, I’ll be shutting the old site down forever—assuming I can figure out how.

As you’ll see, the new site has a lot to offer. So, please, check out the new site and take a look at the brand new content I’ve provided. You may even want to check out my old writing blog (which has also moved) or my new marketing blog, which was just created.

Now that I have an awesome site to work with, I’ll be providing a lot of new things. So, come on over and check me out!

On the Horizon: News About Me

  • Posted on January 14, 2015 at 10:00 AM

First, I have some very talented people helping me to create a professional website in my long-ago acquired online turf, www.StephanieAllenCrist.com. This transition will be very important to my changing business, but it will also impact my readers.

I’m still not sure how it’s all going to work, but essentially this blog is going to be ported to www.StephanieAllenCrist.com, merged with my other blog and with a new one, and organized by category: Writer, Advocate (that’s this one), and Marketer. Some of the old material will be dropped from the site (but not actual posts) and some new material will be available (more will be added as I’m able). In the end, it should be a wonderful website that has a lot more to offer, and is also easier for me to maintain.

This news leads directly into the next bit. I’m finally able to publishing Discovering Autism / Discovering Neurodiversity!!! Unless something changes dramatically in the next month, the e-book version will be available on Amazon and other retailers for immediate download, while the print version will be sold exclusively through, you guessed, www.StephanieAllenCrist.com.

After my memoir is published, I will also be publishing some shorter works. The details will be forthcoming when everything is a little closer to being ready to go. Meanwhile, I’m plugging away on the manifesto, which will be the next full-length book to follow the memoir.

Happy 2015!

  • Posted on December 31, 2014 at 11:59 PM

Reflecting back on 2014, it would easy to get hung up on how it was a “bad year” for me and for my family, because the first few months were difficult and the last few months have been especially difficult. But the truth is that I earned more money this year than I did last year. I finished writing my memoir. I made some really great new friendships and business relationships. My boys have been, more often than not, healthy and happy. So, while there were some extra-lengthy rough patches in 2014, I’m satisfied that we have done the best we could with what we were given and that we used what control we had, however limited it seemed, well enough to make progress this last year.

Now, as I look ahead to the coming year, there are several things I expect out of 2015. For myself, I expect to publish my memoir, several smaller works, and (hopefully) a novel. I expect to grow both my business and my advocacy platform as well. I expect to become healthier, more balanced, and more joyful. Finally, I expect to be able to help others more.

For Brandon, I expect a happy high school graduation. I expect him to discover more of what he wants to do after graduation. I expect him to start setting and realizing plans with which he can build the future he desires for himself.

For Willy, I expect him to explore his interests in greater detail. Instead of passively watching videos and playing games, I intend to encourage him to begin learning to create them. (I also intend to provide him with the tools necessary to do so.) I expect him to grow and mature and to take greater charge of his own life. I hope he can make another friend to bring home, too.

For Alex, I expect him to learn to use the new communication device he’ll be receiving shortly. I expect the trend of communication to continue to grow exponentially, including using more words like the very clear and appropriate “water” he just said. I expect him to use this new ability to share more of himself with us and others.

For Ben, I expect him to better regulate himself so that he can use his interests and energy in kind and productive ways. I expect him to grow in his communication abilities so that he can use words to express his preferences clearly. I hope to hear him answer the question “why” a few times, too.

Mark is always a tough one. I continue to hope that he will find ways to become more motivated and involved outside the Facebook/Twitter communities.

And I hope we all do better at appreciating and exploring the social opportunities available to us! As for the world, sadly I think it’s too much to hope for peace. Instead, I will hope for more moderation and fewer extremes in our national and international discourses.

Why Must There Be Two?

  • Posted on December 19, 2014 at 10:00 AM

I’m not sure if I’ve revealed the specifics yet, but I know I’ve reported my intention to start a nonprofit organization. In fact, I intend to start two from the very start. So, why, you might ask, must there be two?

The goal of both nonprofit organizations is to seriously improve the quality of life available to and experienced by people with neurological disabilities and/or differences, regardless of the severity of those disabilities and differences.

In order to do this, you have to proactively address two different spheres of influence: advocacy and service delivery.

On the one hand, you must work at the (inter)national level. You must raise understanding, awareness, and acceptance. You must advocate change. You must influence society. You must influence legislation. And you must cooperate with other disability organizations to accomplish all of this. This is the advocacy sphere.

On the other hand, you must work at the local level. You must provide opportunities for enrichment (building daily living skills, building social skills, building work skills, building household management skills, building business management skills, etc.) that meet the specific needs and goals of each individual. You must provide opportunities for employment (career planning, job hunting, business start-up, seed money, and job or business maintenance) that meet the specific needs and goals of each individual. You must also provide opportunities for empowerment (self-advocacy skills, issue advocacy skills, opportunities to advocate in the community, opportunities to advocate at home or with family, opportunities to advocate in the workplace, opportunities to advocate at the regional, national, or international levels) that meet the specific needs and goals of each individual. And you absolutely must have a way to navigate the various programs, services, and opportunities that are available in the local community so that the needs of each individual can be met and their goals can be achieved in a cost effective manner so the maximum number of people can be served with the resources available while still meeting quality standards. This is the service delivery sphere.

If you put these two spheres of activity together under the same organization, you’ll get an ineffective, inefficient organization. If, on the other hand, you have both spheres linked but separate, you can produce a powerful, driven set of organizations that meet the complex needs of people with neurological disabilities/differences in both areas that matter most. The (inter)national organization will actively advocate at the topmost levels of society; the local organization(s) will actively deliver the individualized services that are most desperately needed by people with neurological disabilities/differences. There will, of course, be overlap by design: the national organization will “seed” the local organizations, develop appropriate policies, and distribute the capital necessary to “plant” the organizations, while also holding functional local organizations to the conduct standards set in the organization’s charter; the local organizations will “feed” issues and problems to the national organization, which the national organization is responsible for addressing as the advocacy organization, and they will also develop the skills and provide the opportunities for volunteers/employees to move from the local to the national level.

I’ve been around enough to know that the way things are done for people in need—in the U.S. at least—has a tendency to function in such a way that creates dependence without really solving problems. A set of services are provided and people who need help can choose among the options that are available. If enough people have unmet needs after those selections are made, then a new service is created to meet those needs. But people aren’t individuals. Decisions are driven by statistics, metrics, and policy goals. The idea isn’t to help people; the idea is to help demographics. The result is that people aren’t really helped in a way that satisfies their needs, facilitates their goals, or solves their problems. This occurs, in part, because these decisions are made far away from the people who are actually in need, by policy makers operating at the national and state levels.

My goal is therefore two-fold. Create a system and processes that work by actually working with individuals with neurological disabilities and differences. The system and processes will be flexible enough to be individualized, but also knowledgeable enough to leverage available resources to provide as help as much as possible, yet independent enough to fill in the gaps as needed. This will transform the quality of life for the people I understand best and am most passionate about; yet, it will also create a model that can be used by other organizations (the national organization would facilitate this) in order to truly meet the needs of populations that my program is not designed to address.

Usually this kind of holistic solution-oriented service delivery is restricted to select localities. A few local areas work together to solve problems. These solutions become case studies that are offered to other communities. The process is replicated, though the same results are not always achieved because the solution-oriented spirit of the process is gutted from the service delivery design. My hope is that by combining the local impact with the national reach, I can change this. So, there has to be two organizations, inextricably linked, but independently functioning. There must be two.

A Request: Limits, Challenges, and Opportunities

  • Posted on August 20, 2014 at 10:00 AM

I’m currently working on a set of introductory guides that I would like to make available sometime in the relatively near future. These guides are intended to be less overwhelming and less prescriptive than most of the books I’ve encountered, as well as being decidedly shorter. At the same time, they’re intended to be more thorough and more comprehensive than many of the booklets and pamphlets I’ve encountered. I’m trying to produce a happy medium.

Each of these guides will introduce a form of disability (starting with those that I’m most familiar with and maybe staying within only those) to a generalized audience. On the one hand, I want it to be useful should a new parent or newly diagnosed individual pick one up. On the other hand, I want it to be something that can be handed out to co-workers and service providers as well. I want these guidelines to explain what a specific label—autism, for example—is and what it means for the people involved.

To this end, I would like to humbly request those of you who would be willing to do so to please share the limits, challenges, and opportunities that you have experienced as people with disabilities or have observed the people with disabilities in your lives experience.

If you’re willing to share, please leave a comment on this blog and I will contact you or you can contact me.

Thank you!

Speaking of Progress

  • Posted on July 11, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Having surgery, then sleeping through a good portion of my recovery, gave me something of a power boost. I felt better than I have in a long time. My mind was clearer, at least for a little while. After I came back to work full-time, I realized two things:

  • First, the time I put in when I could only work part-time wasn’t as clear, coherent, or organized as it seemed at the time.
  • Second, my priorities had shifted because I’d had plenty of time to consider what was going well, what wasn’t, and what I could do about it.

I cleaned up my messes. I cleared up my backlogs. Now, I’m feeling like I’m really and truly back. I’m ready to walk my walk and make it work. My priorities truly have shifted.

I’m going to keep these shifts close to the vest, but I’ll give you a hint…I’ve talked about doing this before, but then I lost track of it. I’m starting fresh, breaking free, and doing a little cheating.

It’ll make sense in time. For now, I’m just going to enjoy being back and keeping my little secret. :)

Should I Create a Newsletter?

  • Posted on October 30, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Part of me thinks I should create a newsletter that people could sign up for to get more information about autism, neurodiversity, and advocacy. Quite a few people have asked for if I have a newsletter over the years, but I usually just send them to my blog.

What do you think? Should I create a newsletter? Would you sign up? If so, what would you like to see?

God is Good!

  • Posted on August 21, 2013 at 10:00 AM

I rarely indulge in spiritual or religious announcements on this blog, but this time I simply cannot resist. As you may be aware, my family has been struggling lately. Things got especially difficult last month.

But after the darkness, there is light!

For starters, I have been admitted to Rutgers University and I will soon be starting my fall classes! I will be studying Public Administration and learning how to create the nonprofit organization that is taking shape in my mind. I’m very excited!

I’m also seeing more freelancing opportunities and earning more income. I’m at the point in my career where I feel like I’m holding one of those Magic 8 balls with the triangle telling me, “All signs point to yes.” With that thought, though, comes a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy flashback—all I need now is to discover what the question is!

More than anything, I have to say that God is good, because I’m in much better spirits. Whatever comes, He will see us through. Along the way, we will know the joy He gives us. For now, that’s more than enough!

And, of course, the boys’ school is starting up soon. Willy is entering high school. Life is going to have a whole new normal for us to deal with. And I’m not even feeling anxious about it!

Mosaic: Outside the Box

  • Posted on August 12, 2013 at 10:00 AM

As an alumna of National-Louis University and a newly graduated Master of Written Communications, my essay Outside the Box will be appearing in this year’s addition of Mosaic, the National-Louis literary journal.

After spending most of my life trying to squish my spherical brain in a cramped, socially acceptable box, now society seems to have come to respect, even seek out, out-of-the-box thinking.

Today I’m going back down to Chicago with my husband to celebrate the publication and release of this year’s Mosaic. I’ll get to see some old classmates and instructors—old as of three or so months ago—and meet some new people interested in the literary arts. I’ll come back with some information about how you might be able to get your very own copy of Mosaic.

Let me give you hint: I can’t fit my tree into society’s box.

Waiting for Acceptance

  • Posted on August 7, 2013 at 10:00 AM

So, I’ve done everything I was supposed to do. I’ve officially applied to Rutgers graduate program to study Public Administration and nonprofit management. Now, I have to wait to find out if I’m going to get in and if everything that’s out of my control will happen in time for me to start this fall. Wish me luck!

In the meantime, I’m still waiting for a good job offer. Despite my preference for nonprofit work, I’ve expanded my job search to for-profit writing (i.e. marketing) opportunities, because I have more experience in that field and because there are simply more opportunities for marketers in my area at the moment. But I still have to wait for the right organization to offer me the right opportunity.

So, there’s a lot of waiting going on here. Waiting isn’t my strong-suit, but I’m learning patience. At least, the feelings of anxiety are lessening. That’ll have to pass for patience for now.