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THE HERD Let’s Ring in the New Year Special Edition

theherd - THE HERD Let's Ring in the New Year Special Edition

Don’t Be Left Behind. Keep Up With THE HERD!

Selected Highlighted Fun and Games Celebrating the New Year ~ December 2nd edition

Let’s Ring in the New Year 2024!

In this Issue~


  • *Announcements:   AE Awareness Month Speakers Series, #BrainonFire Merchandise
  • *New Year’s Resolutions: The Well-Being Gratitude Journal, Happy Jar, AE Warrior Mindfulness Challenge
  • *Holiday Fun Rehab Activities: New Year’s Resolution Mad Libs, New Year’s Word Scramble, AE Warrior Roll and Tell Game, Jigsaw Puzzles, Bird of Peace Adult Coloring Page
  • *Helpful Tips for the AE Warrior:  Create Personal Holiday Gifts for Family and Friends, Create an AE Caregiver Survival Kit
  • *Holiday Musical Videos:  The 12 Daze of Christmas, The Most Common Antibody of Them All
  • *AE Trivia Cards:  The single most important educational/rehabilitation tool for AE
  • *Shop & Support IAES: Sign up for PayPal’s #GiveAtCheckOut, Subscribe to Mailing List


AE Awareness Month Speakers Series 

Throughout February 2024, IAES will be hosting free webinars open to the public. Experts from around the globe will be speaking on key topics of the highest interest to our community. There will be a Q & A period after each presentation where attendees can ask questions. Register today to ensure your place. All presentations will be recorded and available on our YouTube channel within a few days of the presentations. 

AE Awareness Month Merchandise

#BrainOnFire is the theme for Autoimmune Encephalitis Awareness Month, February 2024. The Brain on Fire design names many of the most common symptoms experienced in Autoimmune Encephalitis and where in the brain that symptom is controlled.

T-shirts have a 2-sided design and may be ordered in a variety of styles including hoodies and long sleeve Tees. This design also comes with the IAES trademarked phrase, “AE Warrior”.  The design on the back of the shirt reads: Autoimmune Encephalitis (AE): is a type of brain inflammation where the body’s immune system attacks healthy brain cells.

Spread awareness for Autoimmune Encephalitis. These products may begin a conversation that could lead to saving a life. The proceeds of your purchase will immediately support autoimmune encephalitis patients, caregivers, and families who are walking this difficult journey, and research that may one day lead to a cure.

New Year’s Resolutions

Start the New Year off Right by Beginning A

Well-Being Gratitude Journal

IAES is pleased to provide you with this wonderful supportive tool appropriate for anyone touched by Autoimmune Encephalitis. This guided gratitude journal is a science-based practice for improving your health and happiness. The Well-Being Warrior Journal, written by Tessa McKenzie, IAES Chief Resilience Officer, and Tabitha Orth, IAES President, prompts you to reflect on what you are grateful for each day.  

Utilize the journal by challenging yourself to a 21-day commitment described. Spend two minutes a day scanning the world for three new things you’re grateful for over a 21-day period.  We instinctively scan our environment for threats. This powerful exercise trains your brain to scan the world in a new pattern of scanning for positives. It’s the fastest way to teach optimism.

 We are all capable of learning new behaviors and changing our brain patterns. Research has shown that a person with a low-level of pessimism on day 1 of this 21-day exercise will admit to feeling a low-level of optimism by day 21. When dealing with a life challenge as overwhelming as AE, it is important to take care of your mental health, feel supported in your ability to manage the crisis and feel empowered and truly resilient.   

The Journal has a left-hand margin width for a 3-hole punch, so it can be inserted into a notebook. Coloring has been shown through research to mitigate symptoms of physical and emotional distress and is a recommended rehabilitation activity for AE patients. Color in the cover design to personalize your journal while relaxing into a pleasant past time. 

Happy Jar

Here’s a wonderful idea for your family. Start the new year off with your version of a ‘Happy Jar’.

Because battling autoimmune encephalitis is such a huge challenge, it’s difficult for us to remember the positive things we experience. So, we wanted to share this idea with all of you as a way to help you through difficult times. You can create your own version modeled after this one and, of course, you can dip into the jar and randomly read notes throughout the year when you could use a lift.

Some IAES members have created ‘grateful jars’ filled with what you are grateful for. Parents, family, and friends can fill a jar with notes of encouragement, praise, and comments about accomplishments. Maybe you decide to make a ‘happy memories’ jar. Be creative. You may decide everyone in the family can add to the jar. Think about what you or your loved one would appreciate and create around that.

AE Warrior Mindfulness Challenge

  • Improves brain activity and creativity
  • Boosts mood and self-esteem
  • Reduces stress, worries, and regrets
  • Helps develop stronger relationships
  • Improves the quality of sleep
  • Encourages positive behavior
  • Improves decision-making ability

Mindfulness is a superpower.

Holiday Fun Rehab Activities

New Year’s Resolution Mad Libs

It is that time again to reflect on what our New Year’s Resolution will be. Why not have some fun with this MAD LIB about setting your New Year’s Resolution? All of us with AE are working on re-learning and re-training our brains from the brain injury we received from Autoimmune Encephalitis.

Challenge yourself, and your executive functioning skills, and let the laughter flow with your finished story!

Happy New Year from all of us at IAES.

New Year’s Word Scramble

Here is another word scramble IAES has created just for AE Warriors working on cognitive rehabilitation.

Word Scramble puzzles are a wonderful exercise to do for brain injury rehabilitation from AE.  Skills targeted in this word scramble include planning, organization, time management, task initiation, working memory, metacognition, self-control, sustained attention, flexibility, information processing, and perseverance.

AE Warrior Roll and Tell Game

When it comes to brain health and rehabilitation from brain injury from our AE, we’re all looking for ways to re-learn and re-train our brain. This game is one you can play and not even realize you are working on brain rehabilitation as the fun ensues.

Oral storytelling challenges children and adults alike to use working memory. While telling a story, the child must tap into executive function to chain the parts of the story together and to create elements that naturally relate. While listening to others and waiting their turn, they rehearse impulse control skills. The additional executive functions in this exercise are Sequencing, patterning, working memory, reading, and logical reasoning.

Jigsaw Puzzles Original Art by AE Warriors



Original art by autoimmune encephalitis patients makes these puzzles a unique gift, challenge & collectors item. Puzzles are a long-time group or individual past time. They are a highly recommended cognitive exercise for anyone with a brain injury or in recovery from illness. Puzzles assist with comprehension, organization, memory, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and provide goal setting, patience, and a sense of achievement.

Bird of Peace

Bird of Peace Adult Coloring Page

Adult coloring alleviates signs of stress and depression. Coloring reduces stress by activating the brain’s right hemisphere. When we are stressed or worried, we activate the left side of our brain, which is responsible for analytical and cognitive processes, but when we color, we switch gears and access the right side of the brain, the creative, artistic region, which quiets the left part, allows creativity to take over and blocks out worries.

Like meditation, coloring promotes relaxation by focusing the brain on the present moment. When patients color, they engage in the ‘here and now’ and practice mindfulness, which can be a very meditative and relaxing process.  Because they’re occupied with thoughts such as ‘what color do I use?’ and ‘how should I color this part?,’ their right brain can relax and give them a break from difficult thoughts about procedures, their diagnosis, pain and the like. Art is a nonverbal way of processing all of these difficult feelings.

Helpful Tips for Patients & Families


Create Personalized Holiday Gifts For Family and Friends



#AEWarrior chocolate bar wrappers with inspirational messages your friends, family, co-workers, and fellow students will love.

  • Download: paper wrapper
  • Wrapper: 5 9/16” x 5 3/8”
  • Fits 1.55oz Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar, 1.45oz Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Bar, & 1.6oz Belgian Milk Chocolate Embossed Bar
  • Candy not included

Purchase the candy bars. Download, print (for best results center image) and cut out the wrapper.

*Additional free gifts are offered on the AE Warrior Gifts page. Get inspired and start creating gifts for people on your holiday gift list.

Create An AE Caregiver Survival Kit

IAES has 12 FREE variations of survival kit labels for you to download located on the ‘AE Warrior Gifts’ webpage under the ‘2-2024 Awareness Month’ tab. Go out and purchase the fun items listed on the label to enclose in your kit and have fun putting your surprise together. You will be using your cognitive and organizational skills as you do.
Your AE Warrior, Mom, Dad, caregiver, or medical professional (RNs, Doctors), is sure to be touched by the time and care you took in letting them know how much you mean to them!

Holiday Musical Videos

The 12 Daze of Christmas Holiday Song 

This holiday spoof of the classic version is bound to bring you joy and laughter. Listen to what this AE Warrior receives from their neurologist for their 12 Daze of Christmas.

To all our members all over the world and in whatever manner you celebrate we send our love, and wish you happiness and good health in the coming year!

Happy Holidays from the entire staff at IAES!

The Most Common AE Antibody of All 

IAES invites you to spread awareness for Autoimmune Encephalitis by sharing this delightful musical spoof utilizing the classic holiday music from ‘Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer’. Learn who identified the most common type of autoimmune encephalitis of them all and where that magical moment occurred.

AE Awareness Month, February 2024, is honored to have Dr. Josep Dalmau present on Seronegative Autoimmune Encephalitis on February 15th. This is a rare opportunity to hear from the man whose research and dedication led him to identify the first antibody in Autoimmune Encephalitis thus discovering a new group of diseases, and saving our lives. 

You can register for his webinar here.

AE Trivia Playing Cards

The perfect companion  for patients, caregivers & therapists

Doctor Recommended

Created by IAES and in collaboration with Josep Dalmau, M.D., Ph.D. (The World’s leading expert on AE).  This deck answers 52 of the most commonly asked questions about AE and doubles as a rehabilitation tool.  Increase your knowledge and become a strong advocate quickly and easily with AE trivia cards. 

We appreciate the National Organization of Rare Diseases’ (NORD) enthusiastic support in recommending this groundbreaking product. 

Shop & Support IAES Through PayPal’s 


Have you wanted to support IAES, Autoimmune Encephalitis awareness, and the AE Warrior that you love?

Here is an easy and affordable way to donate without feeling a thing when shopping with your Paypal account. Each time you check out you will be reminded of an opportunity to give $1 to IAES.

Simply go to your PayPal account and select “set favorite charity”, and choose International Autoimmune Encephalitis Society.  When you make a purchase and check out, an option comes up that asks if you would like to give $1 to IAES? 

Help create the positive change you envision for the AE Community by donating your change.

Your generous Donations allow IAES to continue our important work and save lives!  Donations of any size are vitally important to meet the increased need in our community. If you can set up a recurring monthly donation, it will be greatly appreciated, and will immediately begin to help patients and families during this historic time.

International Autoimmune Encephalitis Society is proud to be a platinum level participant on the Guide Star exchange, demonstrating or commitment to financial transparency.  IAES is a charitable non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization. Tax ID#81-3752344

Donations raised are greatly appreciated and directly support research, patients, caregivers, and families through their journey so the best outcomes can be reached.   Your contribution to our mission will help save a life and improve the quality of lives for others.  Be a part of the solution by supporting IAES.

International Autoimmune Encephalitis Society (IAES) is a Family/Patient centered organization that assists members from getting a diagnosis through to recovery and the many challenges experienced in their journey. 


Driven by the knowledge that “Education is Power”, Int’l AE Society manages an educational support group for patients diagnosed with Autoimmune Encephalitis and their loved ones on Face Book, empowering them to be strong self-advocates and advocates that will lead them to best outcomes and recovery. We are the premiere organization leading in these vital roles.

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