As awareness grows regarding a number of disabilities, such as autism and sensory processing disorder, people are talking. Often, they’re talking to the parents who are raising children who struggle with these issues, and they’re offering comments such as, "I don’t know how you do it."
Although well-intentioned, those comments aren’t always well-received.
Editor's note: The author of this post is the cousin of Jennifer Lazslo Mizrahi, a valued supporter of and contributor to The New Normal.
I recently got together with my cousin Jennifer. Even though we live on two sides of the Atlantic (I live in Israel), she does her best to make sure we stay in touch. When we do meet there's always a lot of catching up. Since both of us have children with disabilities, our discussion inevitably revolves around our kids.
Regular readers of this blog know that inclusion is a familiar theme. One of the largest private foundations in the country, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, defines inclusion as people with and without disabilities living together in scattered sites in the community, and people of different income levels to living together—double integration.
Hebrew school teachers from across the country are gathered in Manhattan today to learn how to better serve students with disabilities at the second Institute held by Matan, the Jewish organization that helps Hebrew Schools include students with disabilities.
It's all too familiar. It's 5 on a Tuesday afternoon. A room full of fidgety fourth graders. A teacher going around the room, student by student, asking each one to practice reading Hebrew. And to make it harder, there is one student in perpetual motion who disrupts everything, by climbing out of his chair and crawling under the desks. Fast forward seven years.