Taylor Graduates From MIT!!!

On June 4th 2021 Taylor graduated from MIT with a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science and Molecular Biology. She would have graduated a year earlier if it wasn’t for one class that needed to be scheduled right. So it was a long road for her and it is a testament to her determination that she was able to finish.

Classes in MIT are hard. In one class (Thermodynamics) I suggested Taylor get a tutor and went looking for one. An assistant professor who taught the same subject for another large college in the area responded. When he found out the job was for an MIT class he asked for the syllabus. After looking it over he called and told me that it contained material he wasn’t sure he understood and didn’t feel qualified to explain, even as a tutor. So, yeah, MIT classes are hard. They didn’t make the classes any easier for Taylor. She had to tough it out like any other student. She persevered to finish all the classes she needed and than some.

Taylor’s accomplishment should serve as an inspiration to any others suffering from the effect of similar brain trauma. Congratulations Taylor!

Clever cracker

I haven’t posted in a a while (more than three months) and for that I’m sorry. Today is pi day (3/14). This is the day when MIT announces it application decisions. Congratulations to all of the prefrosh!


Speaking of pies, you may, or may not, know this, but I enjoy baking. I baked a lot in high school – I even kept a baking blog (please do not try to find it). Since being home, I have started baking again. However, baking is not always easy with my limited fine motor coordination. That’s why I love this simple device that allow med to crack  eggs with one hand. It’s called the “clever cracker” and my dad found it at the dollar store many years ago. (He actually bought it as a gag gift.)  Whatever the reason, I’m glad I have it now. It’s an extremely useful tool for me in the kitchen.

MagZip by Under Armour

I don’t know why I didn’t think of posting this earlier  (probably because I am currently living in sunny southern California.) For those of you who live in colder regions, and struggle with fasteners like I do, I encourage you to check out the MagZip jacket line at Under Armour.

When I was preparing to return to Boston last year, I was very worried that I would be unable to wear heavy jackets and coats, due to the fasteners associated with them. I own a nice peacoat, but it has buttons that I couldn’t affix. I also have great difficulty with ordinary zippers. I discussed this problem with my OT at the time, and together we stumbled upon the MagZip by Under Armor. It was advertised as a one handed zipper, which would have been perfect. In reality, it took two hands and a lot of time.But, I could now wear a warm, winter jacket!

The way the MagZip works is instead of having to insert the tiny metal part into the bigger metal part on the other side of the jacket, one has to align the magnets. I found this easier  then a traditional zipper. However,  as with so many other things, this was not a simple solution.

I still had to paint the magnets with nail polish to make it easier to distinguish what needs to line up with what. I also spent a lot of time practicing.  I found that my success with the jacket depended a lot on my mood. If I was in a good mood, I could zip the jacket in under five minutes. If I was in a bad mood, it could take upwards of an hour. I developed a rigid series of steps, to be performed sequentially to optimize success. First, I had to make sure the pull was at the bottom. Then, I had to line up  the magnets, making sure that the teeth were not bent at odd angles. I  usually did this as a table, using the hard surface to ensure the magnets were on the same plane. Once I was sure that the magnets were locked properly, I held the magnets together with my right hand( my dominant hand) and pulled the zipper pull with my left (my weak hand). If I did not hold them together, the magnets would separate as soon as I pulled up.  I only had to zip a few teeth, so that the jacket was securely fastened. After that, I could straighten out the jacket and zip it the rest of the way up using my dominant hand.

You can find MagZip  jackets online, at the Under Armour website. I did not have any luck finding them in stores. I bought a youth large, and it fits well. I hope you found this helpful, and in time for the winter months.


Hello everyone! I have said in previous posts that I have difficulty with fine motor coordination. This makes many tasks difficult, including wearing bras. Those tiny hooks can feel impossible to fasten. Fortunately, there is a solution: the bralette .

A bralette  is kind of like a sports bra, except that where a sports bra is designed to holster your puppies while you exercise, a bralette  functions like a regular bra.  Like  regular bras, bralettes come in a variety of options. You can buy push-up bralettes, T-shirt bralettes, lacy bralettes-  even  strapless bralettes.

They sell bralettes  practically everywhere, due to their recent rise in popularity. Bralettes are the new fad. Aerie, the lingerie line by American Eagle, has a large selection. You can also find them at most department stores ( Macy’s, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Kohl’s, etc.). Victoria’s Secret’s sells them as well.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have a below average bust size. I simply don’t know if a bralette would provide enough support for large breasts.I have also stopped wearing bralettes. About two or three months ago I switch to regular bras. I can fasten the clasps now.  But, I’m glad bralettes existed for the year two when I use them.

I truly hope that you have found this post helpful.

UNIQLO legging pants

You may or may not know this, but fine motor skills are difficult for me. I have difficulty with buttons and zippers. This means that I can’t wear a lot of different types of clothing. One thing that I have trouble with is regular pants, like jeans. I can only really wear pants with elastic waistbands, such as sweatpants. Obviously, this limits wardrobe– Or so I thought.

UNIQLOIs a clothing brand, kind of like Forever 21.UNIQLO has a whole selection of  leggings that look like regular pants, but that actually have no zipper and a fake button. They called them legging pants. The selection includes jeggings, in a variety of colors, but also corduroys, among other types. The store also has work pants with an elastic waistband.

So basically, UNIQLO sells fake pants that look like real pants. I buy most of my pants from UNIQLO. I recommend them if you have the same motor difficulties that I do, But still want to wear regular looking pants.



One of my goals,  in creating this section of the site, is to provide a catalog of tools that have helped me achieve independence. My  hope is that other people, in similar situations, and occupational therapist with patients like myself, find this information helpful and can put it into practice. Most, if not all, of these tools were items I just happened to stumbled upon; no therapist told me about them. Often a friend or family member saw a problem and knew of a solution. That is what happened with my flosser.

At Craig, I wasn’t able to brush or floss my own teeth. So, either my father or my brother had to do it for me. My aunt found out, and suggested that they use a flosser instead of  cramming their hands into my mouth to floss the old-fashioned way.

A “flosser”  is basically a stick with a piece of floss suspended at one end. I use a flosser made by Reach. To find your own, look in the oral hygiene aisle of your local drugstore or Google “flosser.”

When I began brushing my own teeth, I continued to use the flosser because it allowed me to floss with only one hand. I still use my flosser today, and  I have found my it to be an essential tool in the bathroom.

Full Circle…Almost

This past weekend (Labor Day), Taylor and I went to Boston to move her back to MIT.  It has been just over 1 1/2 years since her cardiac arrest, and a stark contrast to the last time we were here.

Last time, it was late February (winter).  I remember walking back and forth through the cold, wind, and occasional snow, over Longfellow Bridge between MIT (where I stayed) and MGH (where Taylor was in the ICU).  For nearly 5 weeks I did this, choosing to walk to clear my head of the sadness and dread of what we had been told was Taylor’s prognosis, instead of taking the T, even though MGH was only 1 convenient stop away.  This time, it is summer and hot and humid in Boston.  The town was even experiencing somewhat of a heat spell being in the 90s.  Taylor and I both sweated as we walked around buying things we forgot or neglected to bring for her dorm room.  This time, the bridge we walked over and back together was Harvard.

Last time, we were taking her out of school with heavy hearts.  This time, she is returning to school with much hope.  As the other students were moving back in, too, there was a lot of excitement and energy on campus.  Taylor confided, however, that she was feeling overwhelmed at times.  We both knew that she was not coming back to MIT with the same capabilities as when she first started as a freshman.  Even though she is only taking 2 classes to start, it will be challenging for her.  She still has trouble with her activities of daily living (ADLs) – the many things you and I take for granted – like untwisting caps, handling money, writing/typing.  And she still has only limited functional sight.  She is coming back with assisted technologies (Orcam, Dragon Dictate, Kurzweil) and assistance from the Students with Disabilities Office to help her with her classes.  Her intellect is intact, but her processing speed and multi-tasking capabilities are still troublesome.  Her brain requires her to focus on one thing at a time; otherwise, she gets frustrated.  We anticipate that all of these things will continue to improve, but this will take time.  Despite these challenges, Taylor is determined to resume her studies at MIT.  That is what is so amazing about her.  She sets goals and goes for them.  Here is a picture of Taylor in front of Building 7 off Mass Ave.

Now that Taylor has returned to MIT, this may actually be my last post, since I will not be privy to what she does every day.  (This is a good thing because it means that she is becoming independent again!)

As such, I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved in this journey with us – for the people who contributed money either through the GoFundMe page or to us directly, for the people who bought us plane tickets when Taylor was at Craig, for housing, for the many words and letters of support in cards/letters or commenting on this blog, for the gifts of audio books, food, dinners, blankets, prayers, for checking in on Nathan when we were away, and all of the caregivers who helped Taylor so much.  Thank you; we would not be where we are today without you.

Resistance is futile

A couple weeks ago I received an Orcam. An Orcam is a wearable technology that you mount onto your glasses and it reads to you. It includes a camera that is aligned to your line of sight and a speaker close to your ear. All you have to do is press a button or point and the device will start reading the text in front of you. When I first started using it, I was amazed by how accurate it was. Of course, it does have its drawbacks. If the lighting is poor or you do not hold the reading material steady, it cannot read it. All in all, the Orcam is a wonderful technology, and I am very lucky to have it. There is a video of me using the technology below.

You can learn more about the Orcam by visiting their website. <http://www.orcam.com>

A special thanks to James Dahlman for doing all of the work to get me set up with my new Orcam.

By the way, I will be heading back to MIT in September.