My Vacation with Michael – Part 1

The following was taken from notes I made when I  went on a trip with my brother Michael. I got permission from his group home manager to accompany him on a vacation with other clients from group homes in his area. We were going from Queens, New York to somewhere in Pennsylvania. Documenting the trip […]


I’ve been told that there are three things that you lose when you get old:  your memory, your hair and…. I forgot the other one.  Funny, right?  Not so much.  Today I spent more than an hour trying to remember the name of the book I read about a woman who had such an incredible memory, […]

My Favorite Part of the Brain

It’s the Limbic System! What is the limbic system? I mentioned this in another post, but it bears repeating. Limbus means ‘border’. What is the limbic system the border of? It is the edge of the cortex, a mostly 6-layered sheet of cells that covers the wrinkly mass of the brain. The cortex is the […]

I Really Have to Dig Out My Journals

Looking at this picture tightens up my chest a little bit. I think it was first time I saw Michael crying. It was in his group home. He was always acting out, yelling or hitting himself. Sometimes he would take my hand and try hitting himself with it, usually with a laugh or a smile. […]

Name This Photograph

I am proud of this portrait. I took this picture at Michael’s school where they brought him from his group home to attend a day program. Mike is profoundly retarded, nonverbal and autistic. I was given permission by the school administration to shadow him and take his picture, which I did on several occasions. On […]

Complex Motor Tics?

Mike always used to slap himself on the head and bite his hand.   Mostly he did both at the same time. Other times he would raise his elbow and bring it down hard onto his side. Maybe he was frustrated.  Sometimes he would hit himself on the chest and grunt. I think these were […]

Mind the Bumps

Phrenology is the study of bumps on the head. The word phrenology is made up of two Greek words: ϕρήυ, mind and λόγος, discourse. Therefore phrenology is the study of the mind.  Franz Joseph Gall (1758-1828), a German neuroanatomist and physiologist, postulated that the brain was the seat of the mind and that specific functions […]

A Birthday Tribute

Happy Birthday Mom. You are the best! You were strong when we were growing up. Even in the era of the ‘refrigerator mother’, you said, “I never felt guilty about Michael and you shouldn’t either.”  Other parents had children like Michael and you worked with them to start a support network – quite something in […]