Spinraza Journey – Part 1



I started an epic quest June 19th thanks to a reader here at Ability Powered. A few months ago, ProAble messaged me with amazing news. A treatment for Spinal Musical Atrophy had been been approved in America. It’s called Spinraza. I would have had no idea had it not been for her. I can not begin to thank her enough…


These months have been a whirlwind emotions. I have had SMA for 38 years and my whole life has been preparing for certain unavoidable outcomes. Progressively losing the ability to move all my body parts, weakened lung function, and of course the low life expectancies that thankfully I have broken. I had it ground into my head since I was a small child that there was no cure, there was no treatment, there was only fighting the effects. Then in one day… in one Twitter message… all this changed. It was a lot to process, so much so that I still am trying to.




The procedure is one that admittedly scares me. It is a given in shot form into the spinal fluid. Since I had spinal fusion surgery when I was little for Scoliosis this makes the whole thing more difficult. Think about it like this… instead of running a regular dungeon you find yourself in a mythic raid on opening day. I am also a huge wuss when it comes to pain.


I am very lucky to have people that are experts at handling panic mode Short. I never really talked about disability stuff with anyone growing up. This is something relatively new to me. I immediately went literally crying to my best friend because I was partly in shock and didn’t really know how to process the possibilities. I got myself together and I finally told my Mom. Next was the only person that for years I was comfortable sharing this part of life with. We weren’t in touch for a few years and if there was ever a day that I was glad to have him back around, it was then. By the time my brother got home, I managed to get through the news tear free!




Over the next week or so, I read everything I could find and talked to more people. My circle. The people who I’m super close to. I am admittedly still super nervous but everyone all unanimously agreed that I have to give it a shot. I know a lot of people have my back.

Gnome in Wheelchair
I know this is still such a new thing that other people are like me and desperately trying to read as much as they can. So bare with me Ability Powered Gamers, you guys are going on the Spinraza journey with me. I know it isn’t my usual content but it will be cutting into my usual and hopefully it will help someone as much as accessibility guides.

New Targeted Spells Help Disabled Gamers in Azeroth – Warcraft

Warcraft gnome waving


Hello Ability Powered Gamers!  Boy do I have exciting news from Azeroth!  We have a new targeting macro that can literally change the game for many of us who are disabled in Azeroth. I know, I know, you are asking “but Short, how?” Let me show you!


What Are The Commands?


I am going to cut straight to the good stuff in case you just need the codes then I will go into a little more detail about what they do.


Target Yourself

/cast [@player] spell name

Example: /cast [@player] Power Word: Barrier


Target Mouse Pointer

/cast [@cursor] spell name

Example: /cast [@cursor] Power Word: Barrier 



What Do They Do and Why It Matters


Gnome targeting a spell


For a few years now I have heard from disabled gamers about a problem they’ve had in Azeroth. Spells with an Area of Effect targeting system that required you to click the spell then click the ground where you want the spell to be cast. For mouse only users it has been an issue with speed. The time it takes some of us to click on a spell, move our mouse to where we needed it, then apply it could be problematic. Especially if the user had accuracy problems. For keyboard only users it was even worse. The inability to use the mouse made some spells unusable. This hurt their performance and led to enough frustration that some actually quit. Now there’s a solution.


These macros now remove the need to target areas of the screen. Instead, the spell can be cast instantly with 2 results. First, you can choose to target yourself with the spell. With this macro, the spell will target in a circle around you. Just run to where you want the spell to hit, hit your button or keybind, profit. This works with healing and damage spells.


Gnome casting Power Word: Barrier on her own position


The other conditional is helpful to a little smaller audience of disabled gamers. It lets you immediately cast the spell you have macro’d to your cursors current location. This can be helpful if you are a keyboard only gamer by prepositioning your mouse pointer an inch or two in front of your character and just leave it there while you play. This is not optimal, I understand, but it’s a start.



How They Could Improve


Adding a few more conditionals could be a complete game changer for disabled gamers in Azeroth. Things like @focus, @target, @assist could actually make our use of these spells on par with players who can easily use mouse and keyboard together. While controlling the target with a prepositioned cursor or with the current location of our character helps, I feel like it will still make players relying on these methods a little behind players who do not.



Final Thoughts


Gnome in Wheelchair

While these changes could be improved, they are still huge for Ability Powered Gamers! By using your position wisely, you can now control your targeted area of effect spells without being REQUIRED to move your mouse or use precious time with unnecessary movement or clicking. But don’t take my word for it! Get out there and try out the new macros today!  Let us know if they have helped you.

Alice in Wonderland (Wii U) Accessibility

Alice in Wonderland logo


Hello Ability Powered Gamers! We have a special accessibility first look this week. Why special? It’s our first one on the Wii U platform.  I usually stick to PC but the guys over at Brave Rock Games asked us to check out their new Visual Novel on Wii U.  It’s called Alice In Wonderland.  Let’s take a look!


What is a visual novel?

I will be completely honest.  When approached to check out Alice in Wonderland I wondered too. I knew what they were, but on Wii U? I wasn’t sure what to expect on a console.  What I found was a great way to bring books to people via console.  It was exactly what you would expect, a book given graphics to tell the story.


Image shows Alice walking with the Queen of Hearts



There aren’t many options to share with you guys.  The only one was an option for voice-overs.  This would read the story to you and would benefit people with vision impairments.  Each character had a different voice making it easy to follow along with the story without needing to see the screen.



Controls were simple!  Tap your Wii U controller screen to “turn the page “. Tapping was not confined to any certain place on the screen, you can tap anywhere!  Another plus for me was tapping multiple times  on accident didn’t scroll pages ahead.  Each page would finish before you could advance.  The tap anywhere page turning will benefit anyone with  mobility issues.  I can see this easily done with hands, toes, elbows, ect.  Just position the screen and bump it.


Image shows Alice, a mouse, and a bird on the beach


Final Thoughts

I have read / watched other reviews of this developers other titles and have seen a few negative ones because of its content. You cannot pick up this on Wii U expecting a game.  It is not a game.  I think Visual Novels sometimes get a bad rap because of incorrect expectations.  At first I thought the same thing… “what am I playing?!? ” but you aren’t playing at all.  You are being presented a story.

Alice falling past jars of food.Keeping that in mind, I really enjoyed the experience. Real life backgrounds and colorful characters were something new.  Sometimes I didn’t understand some of the backgrounds, like why Alice was falling past jars of canned foods for so long as she felt through the rabbit hole. Overall it didn’t hurt the story and definitely wouldn’t for a younger audience.

Accessibility wise I appreciate the fact this is in the Nintendo library. Nintendo is pretty bad about having options for someone like me with little movement.  That paired with books themselves being a struggle, I can see how this is something new that people like myself could actually enjoy on the console. There are some areas that could make this even better however.  First, the option for toggling voice-overs on and off was super small and needed precision to tap. My assistant, who has no disabilities, had issues with it. Bigger buttons would have helped immensely!  Another option that would have helped was an option to make the text bigger.  It was well contrasted so it wasn’t bad to read for myself, but I can see where some others could have problems. Voice-over should help for most gamers but I sound free option with bigger text would have been welcome.

Gnome in WheelchairAs a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland and taking this as a visual novel, not a game, I enjoyed it.  I liked the colorful characters and voice-overs and could see this being perfect for young bookworms who have disabilities.  But don’t take my word for it, check it out in the Nintendo Game Store. Have you tried novels on consoles? Share your favorites below!  Big thanks to Brave Rock Games for sharing this with us!






Expansions and Progressive Diseases

Hello Ability Powered Gamers! Let’s talk about expansions. Most of you guys know I spend the majority of my time in one place. Azeroth. I have been playing World of Warcraft for almost 10 years now and during my time in Azeroth I have seen many expansions come and go. I was there through Zombie invasions, battling elementals, and I have spent my fair share of evenings in Karazhan. An expansion always brings new things to see and opens your eyes to new adventure. Legion has been no exception.


Everyone is discovering new lands, dungeons, and features.  Getting your artifact opens your eyes to new powers. For me, it’s been different discoveries. Expansions come out about every 2 years which can be a pretty big span of time in the world of progressive disabilities. I started playing during Burning Crusade so Wrath was my first expansion launch. We rushed to Northrend and hit the content hard: questing, dungeons and exploring. Soon the guild started seeing level 80s. I was number 5. The 5th we needed for dungeons. Cataclysm, MoP, and WoD I was progressively falling behind a little every expansion but always within the top 10. The raid team marker. This time I wasn’t.


I started Legion in Highmountain. I decided I was dedicating the day to leveling. I started a few hubs of quests and after an hour or so I noticed my arm was tired. I thought, eh no big deal. I mean I was doing lots of clicking, it’s expected.  I kept going. Another quest hub and even moving my mouse was becoming harder.  My poor druid was having to stand around in dangerous areas where mobs were rapidly respawning while I sat there to rest. Thankfully group tagging in Legion saved her a few times. I eventually finished the quests, made my way back to turn them in and did what any druid with hurt pride could do.  I fished!



Fishing gives one lots of time to think. If I am getting tired just questing, can I complete my dungeons? I mean, I am a healer, I can’t slack in a dungeon. What about raiding, I have had at least 1 boss I really struggled with for 2 expansions. Is this going to be the expansion I have to hang up my tier? While everyone else was discovering new zones, I was discovering how much my Spinal Muscular Atrophy had changed in 2 years. You don’t really notice any changes day to day, but comparing expansion to expansion, 2 year periods, it is pretty apparent.


I don’t put this all out there to be a downer (I think we have had enough sad stories in Legion, right?) but because I know I’m not alone. I know people who are struggling with their own progression and game changes that are amplifying changes even more. If you are having problems in Azeroth, you aren’t alone. I understand how a new expansion can point out how things have changed in 2 years. I know it is borderline terrifying to start questioning your future in Azeroth.




I also write this because thinking and fishing aren’t always a bad thing. I made some more realizations between casts.  This expansion is bringing new adventures for everyone, but even more so for me. It’s not the end of my adventure, it’s a more profound start.  I am still going to complete my dungeons, I will just have to make sure I run with a group that doesn’t Leeroy Jenkins and make me have to be superman healing. I am still going to raid, I am just going to have to really analyze mechanics and how to outsmart them. I am still going to quest and explore, I am just going to be spending a little less time keeping up with my own expectations of what I “Should” be doing and keep up with my personal pace instead.


Gnome in Wheelchair

So Ability Powered gamers, I hope if you are struggling with changes, you take a moment to find a bank and cast your line to think about your own adventure. I hope you remember that an adventure can come in any shape. This expansion may be like a raid boss: We may each use different strategies to get through it. We may go at a slower pace. We may even wipe a few times, but we will get up, rebuff, and adjust strategies. We are a team and you are not alone. .

Warcraft Audio Drama Transcripts

Image shows the World of Warcraft Legion Logo






Hello Ability Powered Gamers!  Legion is upon us and there is hype everywhere!  We have our prepatch changes, there’s comics launching, and of course the audio drama “The Tomb of Sargeras.”  Sadly, the audio drama has caused some drama itself for some Ability Powered Gamers.  The audio story was posted without easy to find transcripts for those in Azeroth with hearing impairments leaving many feeling left out of the pre.Expansion hype.


Never fear Ability Powered Gamers!  We have you covered with Blizzard approved transcripts! Enjoy!


The Tomb of Sargeras Transcripts

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4


Gnome in Wheelchair

We hope in the future to see these linked directly by Blizzard in the same post they share across their social media so they can easily be found by anyone who needs them. There are transcripts in the story section, but unfortunately these aren’t where the community was being directed.  This made the transcripts hard to find. If you are an Ability Powered Gamer who needs easy to find transcripts and Closed Captioning on YouTube to enjoy the content, please go to the Battle.net forums and let Blizzard know! If we all, RESPECTFULLY, lobby for inclusion, I feel we can start the wheels of change and someday be the most inclusive gaming community. But don’t take my word for it, check out “The Tomb of Sargeras” Transcripts and post your experience with the audio drama accessibility. Azeroth for EVERYONE!

Opening Our Doors

Image shows a World of Warcraft guild photo


Hello Ability Powered Gamers! Many moons ago my World of Warcraft guild closed its doors to new recruits. In our ranks was a notable YouTube personality and the craziness that ensues when fans join just to be near them… became problematic. Their privacy was invaded and it’s just unhealthy for a guild. I tried screening people so Ability Powered people might find a home with us but in the end the anonymity of the internet made it impossible. So recruitment closed,


That person is no longer with my guild and I think it’s safe to reopen our doors. What does my guild offer? We understand everyone plays differently. You can play as casual or actively as you want. We use guild chat as our main form of communication outside of raiding, so gamers with hearing impairments aren’t excluded. We have advice on addons to help make wow more accessible. Most importantly, everyone is respected.


On the raiding scene we are Heroic level raiders and have always cleared content while it is current. We do use Ventrilo but understand not everyone can. Hearing impaired raiders are welcome and will have assignments typed in /i. We also call all markers by shape for our colorblind raiders… We stack on square, not blue!  As I said before, we know our addons! If someone is struggling with a mechanic, we try to find a way to fix the problem. You just have to let us know! While all raiders will need to meet certain benchmarks to make sure the team is successful, we will try to put members in situations where they can meet those marks. We can’t carry raiders, but we can try our best to help everyone succeed.


We were founded in 2007 and were our realms Realm First Level 25 guild.  We do goofy things occasionally and do wipe on trash.  We aren’t Pro, but we are nice. Mainly, it’s the easiest way to contact me for help with Azeroth accessibility!


Gnome in WheelchairSo if you are an Ability Powered gamer or a fan that wants to help keep Azeroth for everyone and need a home in Azeroth contact me! A good attitude and rated G guild chat are our only requirements (we have kids in guild, and yes they can see bad things in other chats… but it won’t be ours!). We would love to have you in Legion!

Pokémon NO

Pokemon themed pic reading Pokemon no


Gotta catch them… well…  none of them. I have mostly not mentioned Pokémon Go for a pretty good reason. I can’t play. The game itself may be the biggest thing in my social media feed but it’s not for everyone. Many Ability Powered Gamers haven’t caught many, if any Pokémon. Why? Lack of accessibility options.


Image shows JigglyPuff standing in a living room.

Photo courtesy of kegonline.com

The problems aren’t hard to find. The Daily Dot and Geeky Gimp have both covered Pokémon Go’s issues perfectly. Social media has also been hopping with people who are outraged that there isn’t accessibility in the game. I say rage on!  Let developers know you want accessibility in the game, but please keep in mind this isn’t an issue that is new.  This is one game of many that need your rage, your voice.  Don’t jump on the Pokémon Go bandwagon, jump on the game accessibility bandwagon. We have plenty of room!


I said I can’t play earlier and I should clarify a bit. I could play. But I refuse to. My whole thing here at Ability Powered has always been trying to find any way I can to get you playing the games you want to play. Sometimes through tips or tricks and sometimes through addons or accessibility hardware. In Pokémon Go there is something that will help some Ability Powered Gamers play the game at a very very limited level. It’s called incense.


Image shows Picachu standing in a living room.

Photo courtesy of kegonline.com

For gamers who can’t get out, incense can be used to bring Pokémon to you. There is a problem with this. Incense isn’t free. They start you out with one or two from what I am told and you have a chance at getting more when you hit certain levels. Hitting those levels would require extremely good luck with the incense supplied. And don’t get me started on Pokéballs.  You need these things to play from your house. And this is where I am against encouraging people to do this.


Using this method you will have to pay for incense and eventually Pokéballs. They don’t refresh after a time period or have other methods of earning them from your home. At the end of the day, you are rewarding a company for excluding players. You are paying for a free game. You are paying them money for being bad. I refuse to do this or promote doing this.


I know this may be the first game that many are feeling excluded from but this isn’t my first rodeo, Before Ability Powered, I sat here watching friends post pictures of their amazing Minecraft creations and I wanted to play so bad. I tweeted Notch begging for PC to add a Move Pad like the mobile version had. I looked for addons. I tried everything. I understand how it feels to be the only person you know not playing a game. It takes me back to being in Junior High when, while at the fair, a girl told me to go to the exhibits while her and my friend went to ride the rides since “I couldn’t ride any way”.


Gnome in WheelchairExclusion sucks and that’s why I refuse to pay a company who has ignored an outpouring of requests for accessibility. I will enjoy seeing other people’s catches and turf wars… errrr Gym Control. I am not angry that people are playing, I want everyone to play eventually. I also hope that this ends up being the game that brings so many voices saying “Game accessibility isn’t optional” that it is a roar in game developers ears. So dear Ability Powered Gamers don’t open your wallets to Pokémon Go… raise your voice for game accessibility!

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