#CPChatNow Recap- Accessible Gaming Focus Chat

Representatives for the 501(c)(3) charity AbleGamers joined the cerebral palsy Twitter chat #CPChatNow Wednesday, August 9th, 2017. We  welcomed guests Steven Spohn (COO) and Craig Kaufman (Program Director) as they led us in a focus chat about accessible gaming. Personally for me, #CPChatNow co-host Zachary Fenell, the evening proved extra neat because I actually went to junior high and high school with Craig. However, I am sure you could care less about that! So let us get to what does interest you, accessible gaming!

An open-ended Q & A stimulated the night’s dialogue. I started off the questioning, asking how Steven and Craig became interested in accessible gaming.

Craig explains what interested him in accessible gaming.

Steven Spohn shares how he became interested in accessible gaming.Craig’s accessible gaming interest grew from helping a customer with a TBI (traumatic brain injury). Meanwhile Steven faced issues firsthand dealing with his disability muscular dystrophy. Discussion quickly transitioned to overcoming barriers gamers with cerebral palsy encounter. Steven recommended a particular controller.

Steven often recommends people with CP use an accessible controller called Axis. Almost immediately after Steven suggested using Axis questions regarding system compatibility surfaced. Steven replied in-part “Almost every controller is usable with other systems. The only exception unfortunately is Nintendo.” Additionally Steven mentioned specific system accessible controllers exist too, naming his personal favorite.

One of Steven's favorite accessible controllers is the one-handed Playstation controller. The different controllers Steven named intrigued community regular Alena Brand. She asked if a website exists where you can compare these different controllers. Steven revealed AbleGamers remains at work creating such a resource. Although they worry people will buy controllers that end up not working. A concern AbleGamers minimizes through a no charge exchange policy.

Taking a step back and reflecting, all the various accessible gaming options demonstrates the great strides in accessibility made by the gaming industry. A truth put into context courtesy participant Seth’s gaming memories.  Seth recalls playing Atari with his feet.Seth recalled sitting in his walker playing Atari using his feet! Now, like Craig pointed out, some game developers address accessibility internally via control schemes.

Craig notes games like Mario Kart and Fonza have some cool accessibility options within the control schemes.Also, Craig advised considering PC games. He noted some games you only need a mouse to play.

Craig notes a lot of PC games only require a mouse to play. Chat regular Susanne Brasset provided a testimonial to Craig’s suggestion, fondly recalling the ease she enjoyed playing Everquest.

Susanne and Craig praise Everquest for ease of play and commitment to the disability community.Overall the entire accessible gaming focus chat highlighted many technologies the disability community can use to make gaming a more accessible experience. Therefore what a better extend-the-conversation question to ask than, “What technology do you use to help make gaming an accessible experience for you?”

Reply by commenting in the “Comments” section. Perchance this recap increased your thirst towards exploring accessible gaming options, take Craig up on his offer to answer any questions.

Craig encourages anyone with questions about accessible gaming to contact him.Make sure to tweet Craig any lingering questions you might possess. Plus while along your accessible gaming journey discovering what works best for you, remember the following words Steven tweeted.

If you remember one tweet from #CPChatNow's accessible gaming focus let it be Steven's tweet "You can play anything you want to, with the right combination of technology and stubborness.Whatever serves as that right combination of technology for you, do tell. Answer the extend-the-conversation question.

This week's extend-the-conversation question asks "What technology do you use to help make gaming an accessible experience for you?"“What technology do you use to help make gaming an accessible experience for you?”

Comment below and share!

Until next time,

-Zachary

#CPChatNow Recap- Writing a Cerebral Palsy Book/Memoir Focus Chat

Writing a cerebral palsy book or memoir remained the subject for #CPChatNow Wednesday, July 26th, 2017. Yours truly, co-host Zachary Fenell, enjoyed the pleasure to lead the focus chat. I prepared seven discussion questions based off my experiences writing and publishing my CP memoir Off Balanced. However I proved not the only author around to chat July 26th.

Author of Someone Like Me: An Unlikely Story of Challenge and Triumph Over Cerebral Palsy John W. Quinn offers to add his insights to #CPChatNow's "Writing a Cerebral Palsy Book/Memoir" focus chat.Yes! Fellow #CPChatNow co-founder and author to the cerebral palsy memoir Someone Like Me: An Unlikely Story of Challenge and Triumph Over Cerebral Palsy John W. Quinn offered to add his insights to the chat! Fitting since his name came up anyways after I asked the first question.

Zachary asks #CPChatNow participants about what CP books stand out to them.Now I prefaced the question, explaining the importance behind knowing similar books already published. That way you can try emulating the attributes which worked for other authors. In her response to the first question regular Shira Sadiky complimented my memoir, calling Off Balanced “relatable.” I noted I felt the same relation reading Someone Like Me. Co-host Devin Axtman also praised John Quinn‘s work.

Devin Axtman shares Someone Like Me sticks out to him.Meanwhile long-time regular Alena Brand named a trait she enjoys in cerebral palsy themed books.

Alena Brand enjoys disability memoirs that maintain positive outlooks.

Opposed to naming specific titles, Alena mentioned enjoying disability memoirs featuring positive vibes. Other books brought up included Geri Jewell’s I’m Walking as Straight as I Can and Bonner Paddock’s One More Step. Perhaps another title stands out to you. Speak up by answering for the week’s extend-the-conversation question “Do any particular cerebral palsy books stand out to you? Why?” Respond in the “Comments” section.

Continuing on, the night’s second question addressed motive behind writing a book.

Zachary Fenell gets #CPChatNow participants to think like a writer and reflect on why you would write a memoir.

Shira raised two potential motivations. Share your experiences others could relate to and/or learn from others. I resonated with the second, commenting I like reading memoirs from those with more severe cerebral palsy. Remarks Alena made also spoke to the learning theme.

Alena aspires to write a memoir in order to have people understand how she lives.Alena plans to write a book to educate others on how she lives. Yet not everyone possessed author aspirations.

Devin doesn't think his life is different enough to write a book.Devin expressed doubt he lives differently enough to warrant writing a book. I pointed out he could target able-bodied readers to show a disability does not make someone so different. Every story contains value. Sometimes you just need to find the right perspective.

The above holds true with regards to the writing process too. Penning a manuscript can seem intimidating. John supplied another way to view the task.

John Quinn didn't think of himself as writing a book but instead he focused simply on telling stories.John recommended concentrating on telling stories opposed to writing a book. He added practical advice to help enter said mindset.

John suggests not worrying about grammar or anything. Rather "Just write. Edit later."A later question transitioned the conversation from the writing process to the publishing and marketing aspect.

Question five transitioned from the writing process to publishing and marketing, asking "How can a blog help transition you to publishing a book?" Jen postulated bloggers could assist spreading word about your book. Truth based off my time marketing Off Balanced! The dialogue proceeded to discuss marketing specifics. Much I learned reading a certain book.

Zachary recommends aspiring authors read Publishing & Marketing Realities for the Emerging Author by Christine Rose.Seriously, most I know about the publishing process I learned reading Publishing and Marketing Realities for the Emerging Author by Christine Rose. For aspiring authors if you take one tidbit away from this recap, make that read Publishing and Marketing Realities for the Emerging Author.

Book lovers, hopefully you too enjoyed reading the “Writing a Cerebral Palsy Memoir/Book” focus chat recap. Perhaps the chat introduced you to a CP book you didn’t know about previously. Or, maybe you can suggest a book not discussed. Remember the extend-the-conversation question.

Answer in the "Comments" section, "Do any particular cerebral palsy books stand out to you? Why?"“Do any particular cerebral palsy books stand out to you? Why?”

Respond by commenting below!

Talk with you later,

-Zachary

#CPChatNow Recap- 7-12-2017

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017 saw participants gather for our typical Wednesday night #CPChatNow Twitter chat. Considering context though, you could define “typical” with the word extraordinary. At least that remains my biased opinion as #CPChatNow co-host Zachary Fenell.

The communal atmosphere and ability to learn from one another all while enjoying ourselves makes our Twitter chat standout. Do you want proof the above happens? Keep reading!

Susanne Kate Brasset started getting the dialogue going by asking others about their experiences receiving botox injections. A topic on Susanne’s mind given her next botox treatment loomed.

Zachary answers Susanne's question, sharing he received botox from the ages 12 to 16.I shared I underwent botox treatment between the ages 12 and 16. However, we discontinued because the results did not seem worth the hassle. Co-host Devin Axtman also discussed undergoing botox treatment.

Co-host Devin Axtman remembers undergoing botox treatment in fourth and fifth grade.Devin explained the botox helped him feel a lot looser but to get the injections doctors needed to put him under general anesthesia. While the botox discussion continued, our resident celebrity Maysoon Zayid made time in her busy schedule to stop in and say hello.

Maysoon Zayid takes time out of her hustle to say hello to CPChatNow.A little later on a newcomer joined in, seeking advice regarding a particular issue.

Newcomer Grace asks #CPChatNow about remedying pain caused by temperature changes.In an effort to best answer Graces question I asked follow-up questions. I wound up recommending a product I like to use, ICYHOT.

Rachel Folly cracks a joke after Zachary recommends to Grace a product to help relieve pain.Rachel Folly sought the opportunity to use her “Them’s the rules” line. Comments I explained to Grace represented an inside joke. Not actual rules!

Zachary explains the "them's the rules" comment to be an inside joke.

Through continuing dialogue we learned Grace discovered us thanks to Maysoon’s earlier tweets. Anyways, shall we get serious and re-visit Grace’s question? Answer for the week’s extend-the-conversation question, “How do you handle pain caused by changes in temperatures?” Leave your reply in the “Comments” section.

Other noteworthy points coming out our July 12th, 2017 Twitter chat related to our upcoming monthly events. First co-host Jorge Otezia announced the July 2017 focus chat details.

Co-host Zachary Fenell, author of the cerebral palsy memoir Off Balanced, will lead a discussion on writing a CP related book/memoir on Wednesday, July 26th, 2017.I am very much looking forward to our discussion Wednesday, July 26th. Hopefully the aspiring authors within our group will find the chat beneficial. Additionally, remember the same week, on Thursday, July 27th, 2017 we will hold our monthly Google Hangout video chat. To get added to the invite list contact Devin, Jorge, or myself.

While a big week next week, let us not allow the anticipation to overshadow this week’s chat. The fun begins at 8pm ET! Before then answer the extend-the-conversation question.

This week's extend-the-conversation question asks "How do you handle pain caused by changes in temperatures?"“How do you handle pain caused by changes in temperatures?”

Answer below!

-Zachary

#CPChatNow Recap- 06-28-2017

The way other people react to your cerebral palsy proved a popular topic during our June 28th, 2017 #CPChatNow Twitter chat. I am co-host Zachary Fenell. For your reading pleasure I gathered some highlights and compiled them into this recap.

To kick off the night’s dialogue, relative newcomer Christine sought advice.

Christine asks the #CPChatNow community for advice on cleaning low places, like a shower.Our community came through with suggestions to help Christine solve her challenges cleaning in low places. I mentioned I use a stool at work to more comfortably organize bottom shelves at the library. Meanwhile co-host Devin Axtman asked a follow-up question to better understand Christine’s situation.

Devin asks Christine for more details on the challenges she faces cleaning low places.Devin related to Christine’s experiences and recommended grab bars. Emotions soon grabbed hold over the conversation when long-time regular Blemi shared a story from earlier in her day.

Blemi shares a story about a stranger who cried after Blemi told him her CP was a birth defect.Blemi’s story really flabbergasted our community. Devin felt dumbfounded regarding how he might react in said situation.

The story Blemi shares about her interaction with a stranger leaves the CPChatNow community flabbergasted.Reflecting more on the situation, Blemi expressed feeling offended and objectified. Her irritation led to the question why someone thinks you can ask such a personal question in the first place.

Blemi wonders what a person thinks before asking a stranger a personal question like "What's with your leg?"I postulated the other person fails to think prior to asking. Instead the question results courtesy impulsive curiosity. Or, “wondering out loud” as Blemi rephrased.

Perhaps you may relate. Let us know by answering this week’s extend-the-conversation question. “What is the most invasive question a stranger has asked you about your CP?” Reply in the “Comments” section.

Continuing the dialogue discussing others’ reaction to CP co-host Jorge Oteiza (previously Blake Henry), recalled explaining his CP to wondering kids.

Co-host Blake Henry explains his CP to the children he works with by saying all people are different.Jorge tells kids wondering about his CP that everyone is different. In my opinion, a great message to tell kids! Differences often cause self-consciousness. Sometimes to severe degrees where the person does not participate in an activity due to his or her differences.

Personally, I like to think I helped reduce the aforementioned last year with the shirt I designed “Run, Walk, Roll, Limp However You Move, Move!” A point I bring up not to self-promote but rather transition to the news I revealed to #CPChatNow June 28th, 2017.

#CPChatNow participants encourage Zachary after he reveals his intention to complete a full marathon this October.Thank you to everyone who offered me supportive words. Enough rambling about me, though! Remember to answer the week’s extend-the-conversation question.

Answer by commenting "What is the most invasive question a stranger has asked you about your CP?"“What is the most invasive question a stranger has asked you about your CP?” Respond below in the “Comments.”

Tweet you soon.

-Zachary

#CPChatNow Recap- 06-14-2017

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017 participants who joined #CPChatNow experienced a stroll down memory lane. I am Zachary Fenell, a proud #CPChatNow co-founder and current chat co-host. Fittingly I receive the pleasure to recap the June 14th, 2017 chat. This should feel like writing a #CPChatNow history lesson!

Before delving into our history though, you might notice a certain someone missing from the highlights. Last week my co-host Blake Henry and I announced Devin Axtman‘s move to permanent co-host. He, Blake, and I will all work together to serve our community. Anyhow, Devin to celebrate his new promotion possessed special plans June 14th.

Devin shares he will be absent as he prepares to go to Disney World. Now, I am joking around about the reason for Devin’s visit to Disney World. I know he planned the trip months ago. The timing with his #CPChatNow co-host promotion just proved too tempting. I couldn’t resist the “I’m going to Disney!” joke.

Moving along, the previously mentioned stroll down memory lane’s catalyst came when some new faces emerged.

Christina joins #CPChatNow for the first time.Upon learning Christine Ruiz‘s newbie status, Susanne Kate Jones teased some hazing. Christine’s response indicated she will likely fit right in with our humorous bunch.

After #CPChatNow veteran Susanne Kate Jones teased hazing, newbie Christine Ruiz gives a response indicating she should get along with our community. Thankfully Christine caught onto the comedic tone behind Susanne’s remarks. Another newcomer surfaced a little past our second hour.

CerebralPalsySpeaks stumbles into #CPChatNow, fearing to have missed the chat. Quickly within the 50 minutes left CerebralPalsySpeaks grew intrigued by our community. Enter the question, “So, who started this lovely hashtag?”

CerebralPalsySpeaks asks who started #CPChatNow.Based off participants’ responses, I am glad CerebralPalsySpeaks asked. After all, every party involved in the origins deserves credit.

Susanne credits John W. Quinn for starting #CPChatNow.Rachel credits Zachary for starting #CPChatNow but he corrects he co-founded #CPChatNow along with John W. Quinn and Handicap This.Susanne credited Someone Like Me author John W. Quinn as the #CPChatNow originator. Meanwhile Rachel Folly gave said distinction to me. Both remained partially correct. John and I each explained we together with Handicap This founded the hashtag. I offered up the visual evidence, tweeting out the promotional image we used to promote the very first #CPChatNow.

Long-time #CPChatNow participant Hannah Pike recalls seeing the original promotional graphic I shared while we all discussed #CPChatNow's history.Long-time #CPChatNow regular Hannah Pike remembered seeing the image. She admitted letting shyness keep her away initially. That caused me to joke since the #CPChatNow train design shirt we sold last year extends back to a life experience Hannah once shared with us. The joke surprised Susanne who didn’t know #CPChatNow apparel existed.

In 2016 we at #CPChatNow held two shirt sales using Custom Cat. Proceeds went to Handicap This’ non-profit Keep On Keeping On Foundation. Between the two sales we raised $170 for KOKO. If interested in us relaunching the shirt sale, tell us!

Answer for the week's extend-the-conversation question "How did you learn about #CPChatNow?"Also why not contribute to the #CPChatNow history lesson? Answer for the week’s extend-the-conversation question, “How did you learn about #CPChatNow?” Respond by commenting below!

Until next time.

-Zachary

#CPChatNow Recap- Aging with Cerebral Palsy Focus Chat

On Wednesday, May 31st, 2017 #CPChatNow presented a much anticipated focus chat about aging with cerebral palsy. Interim co-host Devin Axtman and I (co-host Zachary Fenell) alternated asking the questions you in our community suggested. Questions which triggered vibrant conversation. Some highlights follow below.

Now any credible chat on aging with cerebral palsy requires individuals willing to discuss their personal experiences. Therefore to start the Q & A we asked participants comfortable doing so to share their ages. Majority in the group fell between mid-20s and mid-30s. Although a few elder-statespeople ranging in age from 40 to 55 chimed in too. Meanwhile the youngest participant remains amidst her final year as a teenager.

Once we established our participants’ credibility, we delved into our more substantial questions. Our second question addressed what to expect aging with cerebral palsy and how to handle said expectations.

The second question of #CPChatNow's Aging with Cerebral Palsy focus chat asks about expectations aging and how to deal with these expectations.Rachel expressed concerns related to every day wear and tear to the body, symptoms possibly worsening, and even new symptoms. In my personal response to the question I mentioned lacking resources for adults with cerebral palsy.

Co-host Zachary Fenell mentions compared to kids, adults with cerebral palsy possess less resources to help deal with CP.Turned out others also related to using older braces. Alena‘s reply particularly revealed an ill-fated perception viewing new orthotics as a “kid thing.” Concentrating more towards items we can control, Maysoon Zayid offered up hope.

Maysoon Zayid explains lifestyle changes she made in order to help lessen her cerebral palsy symptoms. Through lifestyle changes like practicing yoga regularly and avoiding animal products, preservatives, dyes, and caffeine Maysoon explained that her CP symptoms lessened. What about you? Your turn to add to the conversation! Answer for the week’s extend-the-conversation question, “What changes to cerebral palsy with regards to aging should we expect and how do you deal with them?” Leave your response in the “Comments” section.

Maybe similar to Maysoon, you benefited thanks to yoga. Actually, similar to Maysoon and others considering multiple people praised yoga during our “Aging with Cerebral Palsy” focus chat.

Newcomer to #CPChatNow Grace Lapointe also has had positive experience with yoga.John W. Quinn, one of the original #CPChatNow co-hosts, finds yoga helps with balance issues plus back and hip pain.#CPChatNow newcomer Grace Lapointe and a fellow #CPChatNow founding father John W. Quinn alike endorsed practicing yoga. All the praise left another newcomer Christine seeking advice for getting started.

Christine wonders about yoga and expresses concern about toppling over.Christine vocalized hesitation in getting started, nervous about toppling over. Participants rallied to encourage Christine. John and Maysoon both disclosed using assistance when first beginning yoga.

John W. Quinn and Maysoon Zayid talk about their beginnings with yoga.Alongside the yoga chatter, our set questions for the evening continued. Question three asked about others’ experiences and tips to make life easier. That led to Maysoon offering up an observation.

Maysoon Zayid notes an observation that many individuals with cerebral palsy forget aging impacts everyone.Similarly, John advised separating cerebral palsy from emerging health issues.

John W. Quinn advises to separate cerebral palsy from emerging health issues.Next the conversation transitioned to the biggest surprise and frustration to accompany aging.

Dwindling mobility and discomfort sleeping proved re-occuring answers from #CPChatNow participants when discussing the biggest surprise and frustration caused by aging.

A couple re-occurring themes appeared when community members named the biggest surprise and frustration accompanying aging. Those themes including dwindling mobility and discomfort when trying to sleep. Ending the night optimistically, John recognized the potential boost ekoskeleton braces could offer the cerebral palsy community in the future.

John W. Quinn believes ekoskeleton braces could provide the CP community a boost in the future.Hopefully our “Aging with Cerebral Palsy” focus chat recap will give you a boost in dealing with CP in your future. Remember you may keep the conversation going by answering the week’s extend-the-conversation question.

Answer in the "Comments" section- What changes to cerebral palsy with regards to aging should we expect and how do you deal with them? “What changes to cerebral palsy with regards to aging should we expect and how do you deal with them?”

Respond by commenting below. Expect Devin in the next few days with the recap for our June 7th Twitter chat. Until next time!

-Zachary

#CPChatNow Recap- 05-17-2017

Many interesting topics emerged Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 during the weekly cerebral palsy Twitter chat #CPChatNow. Or at least I, co-host Zachary Fenell, found the subjects intriguing. Go ahead and use this recap to draw your own conclusions.

Early on I asked about others’ sleeping habits. Specifically I sought information regarding the positions people sleep in and how many pillows they sleep with.

Co-host Zachary Fenell and participant Blemi discuss the positions they sleep in.Blemi tweets a photo of a Contour pillow that she recommends using between your knees.As I revealed in my back and forth with Blemi, curiosity motivated my question. I wondered if CP played a role in the positions we find comfortable. The various responses helped to provide the data needed to make such an evaluation.

#CPChatNow participants discuss the positions they sleep in at night.Overall laying on your side with legs bent seemed the most popular sleeping position. Around 8:30pm ET our May focus chat announcement transitioned the conversation to a different matter.

Zachary announces on May 31st #CPChatNow will hold a group-led focus chat about aging with cerebral palsy. The announcement sparked early dialogue on the subject.Aging with cerebral palsy proves an in-demand issue. Like the above screenshot shows, participants couldn’t wait until May 31st to start addressing multiple points! We hope you will mark the “Aging with Cerebral Palsy” focus chat in your calendar and join us Wednesday, May 31st.

Concentrating back on our May 17th chat, friendly chatter kept the night progressing. This entailed individuals’ to-read lists. Mentioning a cerebral palsy memoir on my own to-read list caused the dialogue to evolve.

Interim #CPChatNow co-host Devin Axtman explains why he would not write a cerebral palsy memoir.Interim co-host Devin Axtman noted he considers his life “pretty typical” and not really memoir worthy. Other participants expressed similar sentiments. Going a step further, Devin critiqued the disability stories currently out there.

Devin critiques disability stories, referring to a lot of them as repetitive. Devin’s thought that disability stories can get repetitive spurred disagreement with #CPChatNow regular Rachel Folly. She supported her opinion with cerebral palsy’s individualistic nature. Devin further explained his critique, detailing what he deems the same story arch. What do you think? Let us know by answering for the week’s extend-the-conversation question, “Do you find disability stories repetitive? Why or why not?”

Leave your reply via a comment in the “Comments” section. Perhaps we will even revisit the question during our May Google Hangout. As Devin reminded us, the video chat takes place on Thursday, May 25th, 2017.

Co-host Devin Axtman reminds #CPChatNow that our May Google Hangout will be Thursday, May 25th.Towards the chat’s end a younger participant Kate initiated discussion asking others about how participants’ parents handled the cerebral palsy diagnosis. Replies demonstrated varying approaches taken.

#CPChatNow participants share how their parents handled the cerebral palsy diagnosis.This week's extend-the-conversation question asks "Do you find disability stories repetitive? Why or why not?"Thank you all for reading and your interest in #CPChatNow. Hopefully you can make tonight’s chat, beginning as usual at 8pm ET. If you cannot participate this week though, please try participating next week on Wednesday, May 31st for our “Aging with Cerebral Palsy” focus chat. Until later remember to answer the week’s extend-the-conversation question.

“Do you find disability stories repetitive? Why or why not?”

Comment below to respond!

Tweet you soon,

-Zachary