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  • Writer's pictureJulia Fieldhammer

Let's Talk About What I've Been Up To

Hey y’all, I know I haven’t been posting a lot lately so I wanted to tell you a couple things I’ve been up to.

First let me say I’m almost to the end of the first year of my program, City Connections. I’ve learned and experienced so much this year. As far as my career path, I’m still exploring, but I hope to do something meaningful. I’d like to show that people living with a physical disability (or any disability really) can still have meaning to this world.

On that note, in January I went to Penn State to give a speech about my life with Cerebral Palsy. My friend Rachel goes there and majors in Special Education. Rachel was running this conference about education and asked me to come talk about my disability and tell my story on the disability panel of the conference. I was thrilled to participate!

I started to write my speech about a couple weeks before, but I was having a little trouble with the details. So, with the help of my sister Sarah I started piecing it all together. I wrote about what disabilities I have, how I got them, my life with them, and my advice for the future teachers. Sarah helped me write it and put it onto the Dynavox app on my iPad. Dynavox is a program people who have speech difficulties like me use to talk. While it comes preprogrammed with saying or words, you can also program your own stuff into it. We copied and pasted my speech into this program and had a plan of using a speaker to make it loud enough for the panel.

The morning of the presentation my mom, my dad, Sarah, and I all got up and drove the 2 and a half hours to Penn State. When we got there Rachel was waiting for us outside the building and took us to the room they were holding the disability panel. We were a bit late, but that’s okay! It was interesting to see others point of view on their own disabilities and disabilities in general.

Finally, it was my turn but I realize I forgot my table for my wheelchair in the car so I just had to hold my iPad on my lap instead of looking professional with it on the table. Sarah helped translate for me to answer questions after the speech was done playing on my iPad, since we didn't have any pre-programmed answers or phrases.

After the conference, my family, Rachel, and I all went out to lunch. I’m glad I got to see Rachel and I enjoyed the opportunity to share my story. That’s one of my goals; to spread disability awareness, specifically though my writing and art. I hope to get more involved in the disability community and help spread awareness about all disabilities.

Who knows, maybe I’ll make history?

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