#CPChatNow Recap- 03-18-2020

While concern over the Coronavirus continues growing, the live cerebral palsy Twitter chat #CPChatNow offered participants familiarity and comfort Wednesday, March 18th, 2020. To tell you more, I am chat co-host Zachary Fenell. Get ready for your weekly recap.

In a time involving many changes to how we interact with each other, #CPChatNow required no such changes. You could say we help to make social distancing easier.

In his reminder to others about #CPChatNow Zachary notes the chat could help make social distancing easier.

Early conversation in the night revolved around how participants are holding up during these uncertain times. Something my co-host Devin Axtman asked directly.

Everyone appears impacted by the pandemic, although to different levels. Devin exhibited positive thinking, noting he has a job and hasn’t been affected as much as others so far. Both chat regular Chris and I demonstrated appreciation for any thread of normalcy.

Additionally, a blast from #CPChatNow past Jorge Oteiza popped in to share as essential personnel, he must continue working. Plus Jorge reminded us to thank mail carriers, doctors, nurses, and first responders next time we are safely six feet away.

Fittingly, Jorge called the six-feet distancing a “new reality.” Let us know how you are holding up in our new reality. Answer as the week’s extend-the-conversation question, “How are you holding up during the Coronavirus pandemic?” Leave your reply in the “Comments” section.

The Coronavirus pandemic influenced our dialogue a little longer as participant Tonia detailed a predicament Coronavirus has created for her.

Tonia and Zachary discuss Tonia's laundry predicament, a situation caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Between a shelter-in-place notice and no access to more quarters, Tonia only possesses the means to do laundry one more time. Higher ups at her building declined suspending the quarter requirement because a separate company owns the machines. I recommended Tonia and her neighbors contact the other company and voice their concerns.

After awhile the chat’s focus turned away from the Coronavirus pandemic. Much thanks to last week’s extend-the-conversation question!

#CPChatNow participants discuss what cerebral palsy related advice they wished their parents had.

Within the March 11th, 2020 recap, Devin posed the question “What piece of advice do you wish your parent would have known about CP or having a disability?” I answered “It is not about what you ‘can’ and ‘cannot’ do, but rather asking how could we do this?”

Devin on the other hand admitted not knowing how to best word his answer in a tweet. However, that his advice would entail the fact he felt his parents were a bit overprotective. This led to further discussion regarding parenting a child with cerebral palsy.

#CPChatNow participants discuss the different approaches of parenting a child with cerebral palsy.

As Devin and I discussed the parent’s perspective, Tonia reminded us not all parents overprotect. Some not knowing how else to interact, push their child to be non-disabled. An impossibility! Tonia noting both extremes cause harm.

Time to keep the dialogue chugging forward. Remember to answer the week’s extend-the-conversation question. “How are you holding up during the Coronavirus pandemic?” Let us know!

Let us know! How are you holding up during the Coronavirus pandemic?
Answer in the “Comments” section.

Until next time, remember. Don’t blend in. Blend out!

-Zachary

#CPChatNow Recap- 03-04-2020

On Wednesday, March 4th, 2020 the cerebral palsy Twitter chat #CPChatNow enjoyed an energized night. Participants shared exciting news, discussed cerebral palsy awareness, and more! Here to fill you in with the details, I am chat co-host Zachary Fenell. Prepare for your weekly recap!

Zachary shares some cool personal news.

As previously mentioned, participants shared exciting news. Including me! Recently Wiki Ezvid created a video highlighting five inspiring writers advocating for those with disabilities. The list featured me. What an honor!

Additionally, our beloved “Positivity Princess” Linds revealed her own exciting news.

Linds shares exciting news with #CPChatNow.

A glee sparkled from Linds’ tweets as she shared she received a transfer at work and will soon return to her home in Ames. Join me in congratulating Linds. Respond to this post and leave her a congratulatory comment.

Elsewhere in the chat participants found inspiration for conversation in Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month.

#CPChatNow participants discuss what they wish more people knew about cerebral palsy.

I asked #CPChatNow what they wish people were more aware of regarding CP. Long-time regular Blemi said she wished more people realized the condition results from brain damage and is not as simple as fixing a limb. My co-host Devin Axtman offered two answers. He wants people to know cerebral palsy does not make you unattractive.

Furthermore Devin noted the condition does not go away at 18 years old. Chat newcomer Tonia also expressed similar sentiments, saying “in spite of it (cerebral palsy) being a ‘childhood disability’ we do grow up.” Tonia added many invisible aspects connected to CP go ignored. Aspects she thoroughly covers in a blog post “Parenting Kids with Disabilities: What You Can’t See (Invisible Aspects of CP).”

Chat newcomer Tonia shares a blog post she wrote about the invisible aspects of CP.

Reading through Tonia’s post, I had a question come to mind. So, I asked #CPChatNow.

#CPChatNow participants discuss going barefoot.

In her post Tonia mentioned her spasticity being more intense when barefoot. Curious to see if others experienced the same, I asked if you feel your spasticity is more intense when barefoot. Devin said he has less support and balance when barefoot. Blemi agreed her feet are very sensitive and as such she does not like to go barefoot. What about you? Answer for the week’s extend-the-conversation question, “Do you feel your spasticity is more intense when you are barefoot?” Comment below to answer!

This week's extend-the-conversation question asks "Do you feel your spasticity is more intense when you are barefoot?"

After answering, make your plans to join #CPChatNow each and every Wednesday. The fun begins at 8pm ET.

Until then, remember. Don’t blend in. Blend out!

-Zachary

#CPChatNow Recap- 02-19-2020

On Wednesday, February 19th, 2020 participants in the weekly cerebral palsy Twitter chat #CPChatNow enjoyed an assorted conversational spread. Keeping to the food analogy, that makes me co-caterer (oppose to co-host) Zachary Fenell. I invite you to come sample the discussion via our weekly recap.

Travis Davis, a returning newcomer to our community, asked a question about self-employment.

In-particular Travis wanted to know if anyone has experience with self-employment. I offered my honest feedback, mentioning I have dabbled in self-employment albeit not quite successfully. As I explained further, not knowing how much to charge for my freelance writing services and lacking the confidence to charge said prices proved my downfall.

Nonetheless downfalls and failure do not need to define us. Through additional back and forth I revealed I still describe myself as an entrepreneur. However, I treat entrepreneurship more like a hobby. This takes pressure off converting sales.

What about you? Answer for the week’s extend-the-conversation question, “What is a lesson you have learned from failure?” Leave your reply in the “Comments” section.

Elsewhere in the chat, getting a new wheelchair came up.

Casey and Devin talk about the process of getting a new wheelchair.

The topic arose when Casey mentioned she should be getting a new wheelchair soon. My co-host Devin Axtman and Casey began discussing different details involved in the process. Details like getting the prescription written and going through the wheelchair evaluation. All information peaking my interest since I never experienced the process myself. Fueled by my curiosity, I asked a question about getting a new wheelchair.

#CPChatNow participants discuss how often they get new wheelchairs.

Casey, Devin, and chat regular Seth each replied to my question asking how often they get a new wheelchair. Five years appeared the common time frame for getting a new one. In that time frame you could answer the week’s extend-the-conversation question over and over and over! To refresh you, this week’s question asks “What is a lesson you have learned from failure?”

This week's extend-the-conversation question asks, "What is a lesson you have learned from failure?"
Comment below to answer!

After answering double check your calendar and ensure you have each Wednesday marked for #CPChatNow. Each week the fun starts at 8pm ET.

Until then, remember. Don’t blend in. Blend out!

-Zachary

#CPChatNow Recap: 02-05-2020

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020 proved an extra exciting night for the cerebral palsy Twitter chat #CPChatNow. Here to fill you in on all the excitement I am chat co-host Zachary Fenell. Time to dive into your weekly recap!

The exhilarating tone started early in the night with participants sharing wonderful news.

Zachary announces his CP memoir Off Balanced is now available in paperback form.

First, I revealed my CP memoir Off Balanced is now available in paperback! Additionally, another long-time chat regular shared some positive news.

Linds shares she has an upcoming audition for This is My Brave.
Linds tells a little more about This is My Brave.

Our own “Positivity Princess” Linds scored an audition for This is My Brave in Iowa City. As she would explain, This is My Brave shares stories about mental illness in order to break stigmas. Both my co-host Devin Axtman and I thought that sounds pretty cool.

Beyond participants’ exciting news, our community rallied together to show support to a fellow participant.

Members in the #CPChatNow community encourage Shira about needing five years to complete a four-year degree.

Shira expressed frustration in needing to drop two classes in order to keep up physically with her college schedule. Heather encouraged her “There’s nothing wrong with doing what you must to accommodate.” How true! To emphasize this, let us make the week’s extend-the-conversation question the following. “What is something you have done to accommodate your cerebral palsy?” Respond in the “Comments” section.

Learning to accommodate your CP helps to make you adaptable. Elsewhere in #CPChatNow February 5th, 2020 we discussed other characteristics CP makes us.

#CPChatNow fill in the blank, answering "Cerebral palsy makes me _____________."

I asked participants to fill in the blank and answer “Cerebral palsy makes me (blank).” Newcomer Travis Davis chimed in, saying CP makes him happy, providing him opportunities he wouldn’t have otherwise. Perhaps, like Travis, you will take the opportunity to join #CPChatNow. Our discussion happens each and every Wednesday on Twitter, starting at 8pm ET. If you do not like Twitter, join us through our Facebook fan page and through answering the weekly extend-the-conversation question. As a reminder, this week’s question asks “What is something you have done to accommodate your cerebral palsy?”

This week's extend-the-conversation question asks, "What is something you have done to accommodate your cerebral palsy?"

Leave your response below!

Until next time, remember. Don’t blend in. Blend out!

-Zachary

#CPChatNow Recap: Paralympics Focus Chat

After nearly a two-year absence, a big return arrived to the weekly cerebral palsy Twitter chat #CPChatNow Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020. Focus chats! I, co-host Zachary Fenell, am here to tell you more. Get ready for your weekly recap!

A concept originally suggested by community pillar Jorge Oteiza, focus chats center around a particular subject. The Paralympics remained the topic at hand January 22nd. To lead the discussion we welcomed past chat participant and 2016 Paralympian Ayden Jent.

2016 Paralympian Ayden Jent joined #CPChatNow Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 to answer our questions about the Paralympics.

Prior to discussing the Paralympics, we asked Ayden some questions about his athletic background.

Devin asks Ayden what inspired Ayden to start running.
Zachary asks Ayden how long Ayden had to work before being able to reach the Paralympic level of competition.

My co-host Devin Axtman asked Ayden about what inspired him to start running. Ayden explained his initial interest came from both his parents running in college. That interest reached another level when he began joining his step-father on runs.

Meanwhile I asked Ayden how long he had to work before reaching competition at the national level. “All my life” Ayden answered in-part, adding wearing braces, casts, physical therapy, and botox injections all helped prepare him to get to that point.

Within his answer to me, Ayden also mentioned stumbling upon the Paralympics. After a follow-up question, Ayden clarified he discovered the Paralympics when he came across a Youtube video featuring a fellow runner with CP named Michael Mckillop. Thankfully Paralympic awareness seems to continue increasing, at least according to Ayden.

Zachary asks Ayden if he finds people often confuse the Paralympics with the Special Olympics.

Ayden addressed knowledge about the Paralympics’ existence when I asked if he finds people often confuse the Paralympics with the Special Olympics. Alongside three crying with laughter emojis, Ayden replied “All the time!!!!” However, Ayden showed an optimistic outlook saying commercials and the United States Olympic Committee changing their name to the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee enables more people to realize the two games are different.

Elsewhere in the conversation Devin asked about the classification system the Paralympics use.

Ayden explains the classification system the Paralympics use.

While too late to get in a question for our Paralympics focus chat, you could still try tweeting Ayden on your own. He did express enjoyment in answering our questions.

Ayden enjoyed answering #CPChatNow's questions.

Looking ahead, who else would you like to see #CPChatNow host a Q & A with? Actually, that sounds like a great extend-the-conversation question! Make sure to answer below. “Who would you like to see #CPChatNow host a Q & A with?”

Answer for the week's extend-the-conversation question, "Who would you like to see #CPChatNow host a Q & A with?"

Your answers will help us plan the best possible focus chats!

Until next time, remember. Don’t blend in. Blend out!

-Zachary

#CPChatNow Recap- 01-08-2020

With the holidays over, we in the #CPChatNow community resumed our regular Wednesday evening schedule January 8th, 2020. To tell you more about the January 8th Twitter chat, I am chat co-host Zachary Fenell. Regular readers will know exactly how I plan to do this. Your weekly recap!

Over the years we within #CPChatNow have enjoyed a few laughs together. A trend which continues chugging along!

Time cannot derail #CPChatNow's train joke.

My co-host, Devin Axtman, arrived to the chat late because his bus was late to his train. All because the bus ended up stuck behind another train!

Although, the humor does not lay in Devin’s predicament. Rather, the fact Devin’s story involves trains creates the humorous tone. Early in #CPChatNow’s existence Hannah shared a funny story which included a train reference. Ever since simply mentioning trains invokes chuckles from our community’s long-time regulars.

Such a re-occurring joke helped us build a communal feel. Another pillar which allowed us to build our community returns in 2020.

Zachary teases the return of focus chats.

As I shared January 8th, this year will see focus chats return! I noted Devin and I should be ready to announce our first focus chat of the year next week (January 15th). Happily, I am able to confirm we will make this announcement during the January 15th chat. Make sure to join us then!

Also, to ensure we deliver focus chats which interest you, answer as the week’s extend-the-conversation question, “What topics would you like to see focus chats on?” Answer by leaving a reply in the “Comments” section. Your feedback proves vital towards maximizing focus chats’ value.

Perhaps a possible focus chat topic could entail the positives and negatives social media offers the cerebral palsy community. A topic briefly touched upon January 8th.

#CPChatNow participants discuss Twitter regrets.

Curious, I asked participants if they ever regretted posting something to Twitter. Devin replied affirmatively, saying he regrets getting into certain political arguments. His regrets deal less with what he said and more just feeling like the discussions ended up pointless.

Meanwhile Hannah made the insightful point that everyone probably regrets posting something. She continued, noting there are in-person conversations she regrets having too. Quite the relatable sentiment, or so I think.

Anyways, enough about what I think. What do you think would make for a good focus chat in 2020? Remember to answer the week’s extend-the-conversation question. “What topics would you like to see focus chats on?”

Answer for the week's extend-the-conversation question, "What topics would you like to see focus chats on?"

Reply below to answer. Afterwards make your plans to join #CPChatNow each and every Wednesday, starting at 8pm ET.

Until then, remember. Don’t blend in. Blend out!

-Zachary

#CPChatNow Recap- 12-26-2019

Christmas 2019 came and went Wednesday, December 25th, but the celebratory mood continued into the weekly cerebral palsy Twitter chat #CPChatNow Thursday, December 26th. To officially close out the year for our community, I am chat co-host Zachary Fenell. Recapping the year’s 52nd and final chat seems the most fitting way to do this.

Long-time chat regular, “The Positivity Princess,” Linds helped to get the dialogue off to a cheery start.

Linds shares her exciting news!

After three years patiently waiting, Linds received her “most longtime coming gift.” A paralegal job in Cedar Rapids! Once again, congratulations Linds!

Keeping the conversation personal, participants reflected on their respective 2019s.

Participants in #CPChatNow describe their 2019s in one word.

I asked people to describe their 2019 in one word. My co-host Devin Axtman answered, saying “transformative.” Devin further explained his choice in words saying 2019 saw him enjoy “lots of good life changes.” Unfortunately, not everyone could say the same.

Hannah honestly describes her 2019 as "heartbreaking."

Beloved community member Hannah replied honestly, saying she would describe 2019 as “heartbreaking.” The year brought “a downward spiral of bad things” not just for Hannah but the people she loves. At the same time, Hannah acknowledged throughout the year she did enjoy “some pretty spectacular moments.” Moments she will never forget.

Looking to keep the dialogue positive, allow me to ask as the week’s extend-the-conversation question, “On December 31st, 2020 when you look back on your year, what word will you use to describe it?” Reply to this post to answer.

First though, let us finish seeing off 2019. Besides personal matters, our community conducted a year in review for cerebral palsy in general.

The #CPChatNow community recalls their most memorable cerebral palsy related stories of 2019.

Participants recalled memorable cerebral palsy related stories. Personally, I named a negative remembering Speechless‘ cancellation. Thankfully other community members offered positive memories. Jeni mentioned the little boys with CP who tag-teamed the role Tiny Tim in a Broadway production of A Christmas Carol. Meanwhile long-time chat regular Blemi highlighted Netflix’s new series Special.

Hopefully stories like the ones Jeni and Blemi reference foreshadow greater progress for the cerebral palsy community in 2020. Remember to forecast your own 2020 by answering the week’s extend-the-conversation question. “On December 31st, 2020 when you look back on your year, what word will you use to describe it?”

This week's extend-the-conversation questions asks on December 31st, 2020 when you look back on your year, what word will you use to describe it?

Answer below! Then help us kick off the New Year by joining our first #CPChatNow in 2020 Thursday, January 2nd at 8pm ET.

Until then, remember. Don’t blend in. Blend out!

-Zachary