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  • Julia Fieldhammer

2019 in Review

2019 is coming to an end very soon. I thought I would do an overview of my year

January- I got to give my first talk outside school. My friend was a Special Education student at Penn State and they were holding a conference. One of the topics was disability, she asked me to give a 12 to 15 minute speech on my disability. I loved sharing my story with people and giving them insight on this topic.


February - I got to go adapted skiing. This is one of my favorite things to do in the winter time. I look forward to it every year. Basically I sit in a sled with sides to help me balance. A

volunteer skies behind me with a rope attached. I have to lean side to side to steer. I love the feeling of freedom I get when I’m flying down the hill. I would definitely recommend adapted skiing to anyone with a disability.

March- I didn’t really do anything that special this month but every March is Cerebral Palsy awareness month. This is something that’s very important to me because as a person living with Cerebral Palsy it’s really important, to me, to spread awareness about my condition and just disability awareness in general. I hope to show people that despite living with a disability and some challenges, I can still accomplish anything I set my mind to. That’s why I started this blog and I hope anyone who reads my blog enjoys my stories


April- my family and I went on a vacation to San Antonio, where my Dad was attending a work conference. I really enjoyed it, especially since I have never been there before. I enjoyed a lot of things we did. I took my new wheelchair called the Eagle. It is nice because it’s a lot more portable, but yet it still has a joystick for driving, so I can still be independent and go where I want to go! One of my favorite parts was walking on the river walk. It was really cool to explore all the different shops that were there. There was always a lot people out exploring the city even into the late hours of the night. Another one of my favorite parts was taking two different boats. One of the boats was a guided tour, the other one was a water taxi and by that I mean, you use it to get from place to place. My family and I also went to see some mission churches that were very old. It was really cool to see what some of the first churches looked like. They were very different from the churches nowadays. All the sights were beautiful. I would definitely recommend a visit to this city.

July- I went to music camp as I do every summer. I really enjoy music and learning about different types of music ( even though I’m a pop girl ) I also co-wrote my third song and It was performed at the concert we have at the end of the week. All my friends came to see the concert and we all went out to get ice cream afterwards. Another thing I did was to go with my family to ride bikes on a bike trail. I was very excited because I had never ridden my bike outside of our nighburhood. I rode 4 miles. We stopped in the middle to have lunch by the lake. I really enjoyed this and it was a very fun day.

August- I went to the beach with my family. We rented our own house, it had its own pool and was within walking distance from the beach. The only bad thing was the beach access that was closest to the house wasn’t handicap accessible so we had go up the stairs with the beach wheelchair. It was tiring for both me and my family. Despite this I really enjoyed the beach I love to sit in the waves with my dad and let them wash over us. We also went Kayaking on vacation. I was really excited about that because it was my first time kayaking. My dad and I went in a double kayak. The owners were really nice about making accommodations to make sure I had some support. I’m glad I got to go kayaking with my family. I really enjoyed my vacation and would definitely go back.


September - If you have read my last blog post you would know that I went to the Jonas Brothers concert with my mom and sisters. It was really fun too see them because I’ve been a fan of theirs for a long time. I was really excited when I heard that they were coming back to Pittsburgh. I asked my mom if we could get tickets and she said yes. Our seats were really good, they were the handicap seats so I could stay in my wheelchair. I know most of the words to every song and was dancing along. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to see the Jonas Brothers.

November- for those of you who don’t know I’ve been working in Robert Morris University sports and social media department and they gave me a opportunity to work one of the camera at a woman’s basketball game. The camera was controlled by a joystick. I had to follow the action of the game. At first it was a little hard but then I got the hang of it. My boss, Becky, was helping me a little bit telling me where to move the joystick for the replays but mostly I did it all myself. It was really exciting and fun to be part of the behind the scenes of a college basketball game, and I hope I get to do it again. Another thing I did when I was working at Robert Morris in their sports social media department was to make some videos for them of their teams playing their games. One even got posted on their Twitter account. Wow! That was really awesome!

School update- I’ve learned and experienced a lot this year. I started writing for a magazine in 2019 called Pittverse, it’s written by people who all have a disability. So far I’ve had 3 articles published and my 4th is coming out very soon. I’ve also started attending open studio days at an art studio called Studio-Forget-Me-Not. This is also for people with disabilities. The people are very welcoming there. They have a store and a gallery that they put some of the art work in to try and sell.

As far as my independents and self advocacy, I think I’ve gotten a lot better since I’ve started my program. I still have to work on some things like my speech and telling people what I want, and when I need help, and not just expect them to know. My speech is probably one of the hardest things for me. Finding a balance between my voice and my device can be a challenge but, I’m

working on it.

Another school change is that I got a new teacher because my one from last year got a new job and left. I’m enjoying getting to know my new teacher. I like her, she’s really nice. I’m excited to keep working on my skills and to see what the future brings.

Although a lot of good things happened in 2019 some bad things happened too. My Grandma and Great Aunt both died in August of this year. I love them both very much. My grandma especially was a wonderful person! I really miss going to her house and visiting her. R.I.P Grandma and Aunt Nat.

Despite that, 2019 was a pretty great year, filled with new experiences. In a few days I will turn 20. I’m excited to see what being 20, and the year 2020 brings.

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