World CP Day

by Chelsey Zumpano

(I found this interview in my drafts from last year and it must have gotten lost or something, but here it is now).

This post is in honor of world CP, (Cerebral Palsy), Day that was on October 6th, so I’m interviewing my friend and fellow Blogger and YouTuber Sam.

1 Do you have other disabilities besides CP?

Yes I have other medical conditions other than cerebral palsy. The one that stands out the most however is autism spectrum disorder and for me I fall under extremely high functioning but makes it so that I am very hyperactive. I have nystagmus ( repetitive uncontrollable eye movement) in my left eye which makes tracking very difficult. And it also means I have no depth perception in my eyes at all. Most people when they hear that I have no depth perception think that I am blind. This is not exactly true. My right eye compensates for what I cannot see, (corners, ledges, Etc). I also have kyphosis scoliosis which makes it so my back is curved not one way but both ways.

2 Do you consider yourself to have a visual impairment?impairment? Yes I do consider myself visually impaired because almost everywhere we go has something that makes it difficult for me to see what I’m doing or where I’m going. And a lot of times I have to rely on what things sound like just here in our home to know what they are. My parents joke and call me sonar because I can hear anything and everything inside the house. I am supposed to be wearing glasses. But they would only serve to enlarge things for reading or writing. They do not correct the depth perception problem which is my biggest and visual difficulty.

3 How Does CP effect your dayly life?

CP does affect my everyday life and it will indefinitely. This is something I will live with for the rest of my life. And here are some of the ways that it affects me personally. I am wheelchair-bound and have never been able to walk. However once a week I do attend and intensive course of physical therapy. The purpose of this is to better my balance and eventually make it so that my ability to accomplish simple everyday tasks such as pulling myself up to a sit or stand position is made easier so that I can transfer on my own someday. I need help with almost everything in my daily life. Anything from toileting to making a meal I need help with. My family does their absolute best to encourage me to be independent regardless of the fact I need help with just about everything in my life. On a regular basis my mom and I both take care of my animals and do the gardening together. Just doing that is usually enough to exhaust me even after 2 hours of being in my wheelchair. CP is very difficult because even just two hours sitting up is like somebody able-bodied doing a whole day’s workout. Despite the fact of the difficulty of this condition, I still do find time and space Within a day or week to do one to two outside the house activities. My favorites include Church, shopping, and actually believe it or not, physical therapy.

4 Do you use any assistive technology?

Yes I use several assistive devices to get through a day. The biggest of which is my power chair…. By the way just FYI for anybody out there never use the term Electric chair to describe a power chair. It is not only disrespectful it will put negative connotation in somebody’s head that does not understand what you’re talking about. If you want to use those words use the words electric wheelchair. Never just electric chair alone. Other than my power chair I actually do use my cell phone for a lot of my needs throughout the day. For example just to turn my light on and off we have a specific light bulb in my ceiling fan from the homebrite company. The light bulb connects to a mesh which connects 2 an application on my phone… This allows me to independently from my bed turn the light on and off when I need it. Also my everyday life has simple things in it for example our frigerator has the fridge side door is broke into two sections. It is one that has a smaller door with the Press of a button in the top and then you close that to open the Charger door which opens the entire refrigerator. Our freezer has an ice machine attached to it which also has a water machine attached to it and helps me get water when I need it. Instead of running to a sink faucet several hours a day. My television in my room is a smart television for many different reasons. It has the capability to actually tell me what I’m clicking on without having to see it. But as for other medical equipment I use a hospital bed at the moment. This is helpful with positioning myself when I don’t want to ask for help period that comes in handy especially late at night when everybody’s asleep. I have a laptop here at home that helps me right longer letter is when I cannot get my wrists to operate. The computer also has tell it type it features as well as the other Target features I have mentioned on my phone and television.

5 How do your dogs help you?

My dogs are my world. My oldest Lylah and youngest is a boxer named Dixie. Lylah is an ESA and Dixie is the family dog. They are 15 weeks apart. Both help me with my anxiety disorders. Without them I wouldn’t be able to make it through the day.

6 What advice do you have for others who want to start YouTube or a blog?

The advice I would give to anyone trying to start a social media such as a blog or a YouTube channel is to just be yourself. Be as honest. Don’t pressure yourself to put something out there every day. Well I’m not as active as I would like on these platforms as made for myself, that does not take away from the fact that they remain active. Many people still love to read or watch my content. And so many are inspired by it. And as anyone will see on my blog page my goal and all of this was to encourage and style and uplift anybody who read or watched any content I put out there.

Blog:

https://conqueringcpblog.wordpress.com

YouTube: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCTZZ5sZP-RD8qvsz0cb0n3g?reload=9

What Is Normal?

by Chelsey Zumpano

I hate the word normal! It implies you have to be a certain way or there’s something wrong with you! I use average because it’s a spectrum. If I’m going to say somethings “normal,” I’ll usually say it’s “my normal” because that thing or situation is my experience. Another reason I don’t say “normal” is because it generalizes a situation or group of people.

Much like lables “being normal” puts pressure on us. My advice to anyone who’s struggling right now is to be yourself and be kind to others, try to understand what others are going through. Being kind to others is hard for some people to do and that’s not okay! The same going for understanding what people are going through! My personal opinion is that as long as no one is hurting anyone, then just let them live their life and give them some respect.

If you would like to be interviewed or otherwise contribute to this blog or YouTube send an email to:

viblindresources@gmail.com

Purple Tuesday UK: Accessible Shopping

by Chelsey Zumpano

Chelsey wearing a purple sweater, purple leggings, purple cat-eye glasses, and gray boots. She has her orange, blue, and yellow cane in her right hand.

Purple Tuesday is on November 13th in the UK and is an accessible shopping day for those of us with disabilities. I think this is a great starting point and should be an on going thing! Now I’m not in the UK, but I’m in the US and I’m going to give some of my tips to make shopping accessible for us blind.

1 Treat us like everyone else and ask us if we need help when we walk in the store.

2 Say I’m looking for a sweater and you say, “It’s over there.” Yeah don’t do that! Take me to the sweaters by doing sighted guide, “my hand on your arm just above your elbow.” I can also follow you or you can tell me where the sweaters are by saying, “The sweaters are to racks to your left.”

3 If I ask what colors you have, then you describe them to me. Don’t just say, “it’s purple.” Say, “It’s dark purple with red tones.”

4 Then when I’m paying let me know where the card reader is. I can put my pin in myself, and let me know if it asks me for cash back. If the keypad doesn’t have the little dot on the five, I’ll do credit instead. Then you will direct me where to sign.

5 Please let me know what bag you put the receipt in. When handing me the bags make sure you hand me both handles.

6 When shopping online please have ALT text on your pictures and this allows you to add image desscriptions. Make sure image descriptions are extremely detailed, from the style of the outfit, to the color, if it has any graphics, lace, if the jeans have holes, or if the shirt falls off one sholder.

7 Make sure all the links are readable with a screen reader and able to be clicked on when using a screen reader.

If you have any tips leave them in the comments and if you went shopping today let me know what you got.

If you would like to be interviewed or otherwise contribute to this blog or YouTube send an email to:

viblindresources@gmail.com

An Idea To Help Us Blind and Others With Disabilities During Disasters! #LetsStartTheConversation

by Chelsey Zumpano

With all the fires going on here in California: there needs to be something to help us with disabilities! A lot of us with disabilities can’t drive and there for when something like these fires are going on we can get traped! We need a service that can come check on us during an emergency and make sure we have some way to get out, then if not they can provide a ride to a safe place.

This service can be provided if your on social security, (SSI and SSD), if you were recently released from the hospital after surgery or some other health problem that means it would make it hard to leave in a hurry, people that have a Dial-A-Ride card, people who are in a wheel chair, people who have a seeing-eye-cane, people who have a service dog or emotional support animal, and more.

You might be wondering, “but how is this going to work?” It would be a volunteer service and the volunteers would check on the clients during a voluntary evacuation and if the client wanted to leave then they’d take them to somewhere safe, (which could be the volunteers’ home). We’d spread the word about this service at all different organizations.

In the mean time here is a list of things you can pack in an emergency!

1 water

2 nonperishaple food

3 gummy candy/something sweet for low blood sugar

4 first aid kit

5 a pair of PJs

flashlight and batteries, (even if your blind because you can use it to get others attention).

7 extra food/water for your service dog

My prayers and thoughts go out to everyone who has been effected by the fires. I hope this is helpful and if anyone does want to help me with this project send an email to:

viblindresources@gmail.com