Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mah-Jongg for Brain Injury!

The North County Gray Matters Support Group met Thursday, October 15th, from 5:30 to 7:30, at the Del Mar library.    

At the group, we spent an hour checking in with everyone.  Some new people came and we spent time connecting with them, making them feel part of our crew, and of course, making sure they got in on some serious laughter.

We spent the second part of the group with Recreational Therapy. Two people in our group  asked me if I would teach them how to play the  Chinese game, Mah Jonng.   I followed up on the request and taught an intro class how to play the game and use the mah-jongg card.   Those involved saw how understanding and playing the game, could be very good for them.   Attention, concentration, focusing on several things at one time, all of this exercises the mind. Plus, it's just a darn good time.  I first taught the card and then we proceeded by playing a round of the game with open hands.

Hooray for Gray Matters!  It takes innovation in recovery and regaining the skills to live your life!

Friday, October 9, 2015

He wants you to know...

"Bite the bullet and move through it."

"Buck up."

-   Steve Amaro  (Member of Gray Matters Support Group)

Steve and Doni (Ex-wife and Caregiver)

Friday, September 4, 2015

The R-word

After Ann Coulter referred to President Obama as a “retard” in a tweet during Monday night’s presidential debate, Special Olympics athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens penned her this open letter:

Dear Ann Coulter,
Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow. So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult? I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow. I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you. In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night. I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child by people like you, but rose above it to find a way to succeed in life as many of my fellow Special Olympians have. Then I wondered if you meant to describe him as someone who has to struggle to be thoughtful about everything he says, as everyone else races from one snarkey sound bite to the next. Finally, I wondered if you meant to degrade him as someone who is likely to receive bad health care, live in low grade housing with very little income and still manages to see life as a wonderful gift. Because, Ms. Coulter, that is who we are – and much, much more. After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me. You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV. I have to wonder if you considered other hateful words but recoiled from the backlash. Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor. No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much. Come join us someday at Special Olympics. See if you can walk away with your heart unchanged.

A friend you haven’t made yet,
John Franklin Stephens
Global Messenger Special Olympics Virginia

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Wings on!

Certified Wing Handler  ;D
Heidi Lerner,  M.A.
Independent Life Coach  
Support Group Facilitator

Sunday, August 30, 2015


Welcome to Gray Matters 4 U

We are survivors for the survivors.

This is Gray Matters Survivor Outreach

You can join us by liking us on Facebook.

Brain Injury Community

We are together in this.


You can join us by liking us on Facebook.

And He Doesn't Care!!!

Permanently imbedded (?)

Sometimes you've gotta take risks...

Yet they don't have to always infringe on our capabilities.

        This will pass when you are ready...

           ARE YOU READY?


Heidi Lerner,  M.A.
Independent Life Coach  
Support Group Facilitator

Monday, August 24, 2015

What is Aphasia?

Aphasia – Loss of the ability to express oneself (Expressive Aphasia) and/or to understand language (Receptive Aphasia).  Aphasia is caused by damage to brain cells rather than deficits in speech or hearing organs.

The following is a poem on Aphasia out of the book Gray Matters:
                                       Expressive Aphasia
It’s on the tip of my tongue…
I know exactly the meaning of what I’m looking for...

Mental strain,
Constipation of the mind,
And nothing comes,
I know that if I turn off my inner talk,          
It is more likely to emerge,
                              From the depths of my subconscious.
I’ve come to see,
 I reap the benefits
Of this strain to my mental muscle,
I put it in high gear,
In the mode of - must find,
I strive for articulation of my mind.

I believe this is where my poetic yearning did begin,
In a routed search,
Wild striving into memory,
 Both mentally and emotionally.
I’d scan universes beyond my origin,
Reach in and pin down my feelings
To capture the thought
And write it down.

Yes, I said I’d write it down,
Just as was encouraged in rehab,
For memory’s sake!
                                 Strengths manifest,
                     Out of the fires of rehabilitation,
Expression on command,
My semantic dream,
 … Aphasic return.
                                Receptive Aphasia

What you talkin’ about, girl?

See more about /purchase Gray Matters here:

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Some crucial information about the comprehensiveness of brain injury

Are you struggling with living independently after a brain injury?

                              Independent-Life Coach                           

Develop a new resilience
   & self-satisfaction!

  Heidi Lerner M.A.                   
Brain Injury Life Coach   
Support Group Facilitator