#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

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#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- 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- A Serious Chat About Comedy

This week brought up one of our best focus chats yet, as #CPChatNow regular, Susanne Kate Jones, led a serious chat about comedy.  I’m your #CPChatNow Interim Co-Host, Devin Axtman, taking you along for the ride. So, what are you waiting for?  Hop aboard and let’s get geauxing!

Susanne first introduced herself by noting her comedy experience:

Susane describing her degrees from LSU

Susanne discussing the comedy classes she has taken

Susanne came up with some outstanding questions.  Her first question asked about people’s favorite comedian and comedy movie or TV show:

Alena also specifically brought up how the ABC show Speechless is her favorite because it highlights disability:

Susanne next asked about the importance of comedy and humor.  Members chimed in with their thoughts:

Susanne next asked if members felt there were any topics that are comedically off limits:

Members chimed in with various different topics they felt were comedically off limits:

Ultimately, we agreed it depends on the situation:

Next, Susanne asked if comedy could be used to teach about disability related issues. Members largely agreed that it can allow others to relate to CP easier.

 

Next, Susanne asked why members thought there were so many successful comics with CP. Members largely agreed that CP gives comics a unique story that comics can tell.  Members also spoke of comedy as a coping mechanism:

Finally, Susanne asked about ways to make comedy more accessible. Members discussed various ways, focusing on physical and digital access.

This brings us to our Extend-The-Conversation Question, “What role does humor or comedy play in your daily life with CP?” Extend the conversation question with #CPChatNow Logo

Please leave your answer in the comments and thanks for reading!

#CPChatNow Recap- “How Computer Science Benefits the CP Community” Focus Chat

Benefits computer science can bring the cerebral palsy community remained our focal point Wednesday, March 1st, 2017. Long-time #CPChatNow participant Alena Brand led us in the chat. I am co-host Zachary Fenell, finally here to recap the evening.

First, I apologize for the delay. Between a power outage and spotty Internet connection getting this recap done proved a challenge. In fact the power outage caused me to miss #CPChatNow Wednesday, March 8th for the first time since September 2014. Therefore I am looking forward to my co-host Devin Axtman‘s upcoming recap.

Anyways, enough self-revolving talk from me! Time to highlight our March 1st, 2017 chat. Oh, the many highlights too! Alena sparked great dialogue with her questions. Before diving into those however, Alena shared her credentials to lead our computer science focus chat.

Alena gives her credentials for leading a computer science orientated focus chat.To begin Alena asked us to name computer technology we use to help overcome cerebral palsy. Speech recognition software ended up a re-occurring answer. Specifically Dragon and Siri received mentions.

#CPChatNow participants share the computer technology they use to help overcome their cerebral palsy.Devin’s answer stood out against the other responses captured in the above screen shot. Although you may not necessarily think about auto correct as a disability related tool, my co-host made a valid point. Auto correct does enable you to type faster by lessening concerns over errors.

Next Alena inquired about if the non-disabled interpret the CP community’s computer technology based needs well.

Alena asks #CPChatNow "Do you feel people who don't have CP do a good job interpreting what sort of computer technology can help the disabled?"Devin responded to the question through a developer’s mindset. Indeed a successful developer understands the needs he or she seeks to meet. Additional dialogue looked at how the question could apply to occupational therapists and other special needs professionals. Sometimes their well-intentions fail to properly meet a person’s needs. Here my advice works well, “Instead of guessing, ask!”

Moving onto question three, Alena asked what improvements we want to see in computer technology which would benefit our daily activities.

Devin wants to see computer technology improve to a point where self-driving cars are both afforable and feasible. As other replies rolled in a desire for self-driving cars emerged a popular one.

In addition to self-driving cars Hannah wants to see afforable standing wheelchairs.Co-host Zachary Fenell and others also express interest in self-driving cars.Besides self-driving cars, Hannah also hopes to see affordable standing wheelchairs become more commonplace. What about you? Do you possess interest in self-driving cars? Do you want to see improvements with standing wheelchairs? Maybe another computer technology intrigues you. Add your input by answering as the extend-the-conversation question, “What computer technology improvements would you like to see that would help with daily activities?” Reply in the “Comments” section.

Going back to self-driving cars for now though, Shira raised a great point about hacking. An issue Alena echoed while bringing up other safety concerns with self-driving cars.

Alena addresses some safety concerns with self-driving cars.Continuing with an eye to the future we closed the night discussing computer technology currently in development, but which could benefit the CP community greatly in the future.

Devin has his eye on the self-tying shoe lace.If those shoes pique your curiosity, below you can watch the video Devin linked to.

This week's extend-the-conversation question asks "What computer technology improvements would you like to see that would help with daily activities?"

Respond to the extend-the-conversation question in the “Comments” section.

Wrapping up remember to answer the extend-the-conversation question.

“What computer technology improvements would you like to see that would help with daily activities?”

Answer by leaving a comment! Until next time.

-Zachary

 

#CPChatNow Recap- Maysoon Zayid Q & A

On Wednesday, February 15th we at #CPChatNow held our monthly focus chat for February 2017, welcoming to the chat comedian and actress Maysoon Zayid. Now I am #CPChatNow co-host Zachary Fenell, here to condense the evening down into our weekly recap. Rather than concentrating on a certain topic, we used our time with Maysoon for an open Q & A session.

While I thanked her during the night, I want to again express #CPChatNow’s gratitude for Maysoon fitting us into her busy schedule. In fact Maysoon did not join us until the 9pm ET hour due to a gig in the prior hour. That enabled us to utilize our first hour to catch up on each others’ weeks. Eventful weeks they proved too!

#CPChatNow community members enjoyed eventful weeks.Community regular Hannah Pike reminded us eventfulness can emerge from the simple things.

Hannah Pike reminds #CPChatNow that you can find joy from the simpliest items, like buying a new hat!Beyond eventful, you could also describe participants’ weeks as busy. Exciting projects occupying their schedules.

Exciting projects are keeping #CPChatNow participants well occupied.Personally, I am happy to share I published my new Rocky Balboa inspired exercise montage over the weekend. Take a look!

Come tweet me on Twitter and let me know your thoughts. Thanks for indulging my self-promotion. Shall we return to #CPChatNow business?

Upon entering the #CPChatNow dialogue, Maysoon also answered my question about exciting projects.

Maysoon Zayid will soon star in her own sitcom I Can Can.News about Maysoon Zayid’s upcoming sitcom triggered our community’s curiosity. Just like the above screen shot shows! The questions flowed in and Maysoon kept pace with her answers.

Maysoon Zayid shares details about her upcoming sitcom I Can Can.In I Can Can Maysoon will play a Jersey girl who dreams about being on broadway.Maysoon Zayid eyes a September release for her sitcom I Can Can.Summarizing what we learned February 15th, Maysoon Zayid will star in her own romantic comedy sitcom titled I Can Can. She plays a Jersey girl with Broadway dreams. Given a September air date, expect more details to arrive shortly. As 2017 progresses I can surely envision the show becoming a popular talking point amidst our chats. Plus I’m confident along with my co-hosts Devin Axtman and Blake Henry we will keep you apprised on new details via the #CPChatNow Facebook fan page.

Outside I Can Can talk turned to serving as a role model. Community regular Hamda explained why she considers Maysoon a role model.

Maysoon Zayid gives her thoughts on being called a role model.By clarifying when the term “role model” bothers her, Maysoon brought up a key point. One I say we examine in-depth circa the week’s extend-the-conversation question. Answer “Who is your role model? Why?” Leave your reply in the “Comments” section.

Honestly I am guessing identity will stand a common reason for choosing role models. Seeing others similar to you rise above unfair misconceptions and stereotypes empowers. Regarding misconceptions, Maysoon named what she deems the biggest misconceptions Americans hold about Muslims.

Maysoon names the biggest misconceptions Americans possess about Muslims.Dispelling misconceptions albeit about Muslims or another group leads to a better world. Understanding different cultures improves ability to treat others respectfully. Such a code of conduct we should all strive for!

To wrap up let me one last time thank Maysoon Zayid for joining us Wednesday, February 15th, 2017. Tonight interim co-host Devin Axtman and I will announce our March 2017 focus chat. I hope you can stop in. The fun begins at 8pm ET. Until then remember to answer the extend-the-conversation question.

Keep the conversation going! Answer for this week's extend-the-conversation question "Who is your role model? Why?"“Who is your role model? Why?”

Respond in the “Comments” section below. Tweet you later.

Sincerely,

-Zachary

 

 

#CPChatNow Recap- Having A Disability and Dating/Being a Part of the LGBTQ+ Community

This week’s #CPChatNow focus chat focused on “Having a Disability and Dating/Being a Part of the LGBTQ+ Community”!  I am #CPChatNow interim co-host Devin Axtman, and I will be the conductor on this week’s recap of our Twitter chat.

#CPChatNow community member, Yasmin, led the chat from the UK!  We thank Yasmin for her efforts and for openly sharing her experiences.

Yasmin sparked the chat’s dialogue by disclosing that she identifies as asexual and how she learned about the term.


Yasmin also disclosed that she identifies as Aromanitc.

yas-aro-screenshot

Yasmin reported her identity was a gradual process that took awhile to sink in.

 yasmin ‏@yas8900 Jan 25 More Q1. I'm Asexual and Aromantic, Q2. I don't date. #CPChatNow 0 replies 0 retweets 0 likes Reply Retweet Like Zachary Fenell ‏@zacharyfenell Jan 25 More At what age did you realize this @yas8900? Did you first fear something was

Yasmin really sparked the conversation with common misconceptions around those who identify as asexual.

misconceptions-4

#CPChatNow member Jen talked about how she feels misconceptions of the disability community and dating start.

jen-misconceptions

Finally, #CPChatNow members Alena and Erin talked about their climbing and skiing skills!

Alena Brand Tweet: Hey guys! Sorry I've been really busy! #CPChatNow Image of Alena Rockclimbing

alena brand ‏@AlenaBrand Jan 25 More Next month for adapted rec we're going skiing so I'm really excited about that! #cpchatnow I've never been skiing 2 replies 0 retweets 2 likes Reply 2 Retweet Like 2 EMDeerx Muse ‏@emdeerx Following More @AlenaBrand Downhill skiing is a blast. I just got home from Utah a week ago. #CPChatNow 5:28 PM - 26 Jan 2017 0 replies 0 retweets 0 likes

Thank you for riding along with me during this recap.  Now for our extend-the-conversation question:

What are some misconceptions surrounding the disability community and dating? EXTEND-THE-CONVERSATION-QUESTION
What are some misconceptions surrounding the disability community and dating?  Please share in the comments!

Tweet you later!

-Devin