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Posted: Tue, 05/17/2016 - 08:04 | The New Normal

Editor's Note: Accessibility Partners was one of last year's "Ruderman Best in Business Award" winners. Nominate a company that hires people with disabilities for this year's award!

Get ready to have your world rocked, because on Thursday, May 19, 2016, Accessibility Partners is celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). This is an international effort of disability and accessibility advocates with the overall goal of getting people talking, thinking and learning about digital accessibility and users with disabilities.

For a day of this magnitude, we want to bring the awareness to everyone: a free overview of your website’s homepage for accessibility OR a review of a document of up to 3 pages (Microsoft Word or PDF).

Posted: Thu, 05/12/2016 - 07:32 | The New Normal

Editor's Note: We are sharing Denise Resnik's powerful blog about a new housing model for adults with disabilities. Denise's blog originally appeared on Home Matters.

Thankfully, much has changed since we were told to plan to institutionalize our son Matt 23 years ago when he was doagnosed with autism-–and yet, much still needs to change to respond to the housing demand at our doorstep.

Matt represents a generation of more than 500,000 U.S. children with autism entering adulthood this decade. In many ways, I’ve been planning for what happens when the school bus stops coming almost from the first day it arrived. Where will he live? How will he be safe? How can we be sure he’ll be happy, healthy, productive and not sliding backwards?

Posted: Tue, 05/10/2016 - 07:43 | The New Normal

Editor's Note: This blog originally appeared on Forbes. The Jewish Week Media Group is partnering with the Ruderman Family Foundation to recognize companies that hire people with autism and other disabilities for the "Ruderman Best in Business Award." Nominate a company in your community today!

April 2, 2016 was designated World Autism Awareness Day. Many world monuments were lit up in blue lights to show support for the cause. Colorful ribbons and pins were worn and emotional sentiments were plastered all over social media. While the gestures themselves were moving, the concept of autism “awareness” is simply not enough. Without autism “acceptance and inclusion”, none of this actually makes a difference.

Posted: Thu, 05/05/2016 - 07:49 | The New Normal

Near the beginning of our Passover Seders, we recited:

“All who are hungry, let them come and eat;
All who need (a place to celebrate Passover,) let them join us.”

What would happen if the world accepted our invitation?

Posted: Wed, 04/27/2016 - 16:12 | The New Normal

Editor's Note: This blog originally appears on Faith Inclusion Network.

I initially “met” Shelly Christensen on the phone, when I called with some questions related to the inclusion of people with disabilities into Jewish communities.  She was incredibly generous with her time and, some 40 minutes later, I felt like I had a new friend in Minnesota.  Not long afterward, we got the chance to meet in person at an AAIDD conference and now we talk frequently since she is a Faith Inclusion Network National Board Adviser. 

Shelly has a lot of experience as a faith and disability advocate, traveling across the country to speak and be involved in many large Jewish and interfaith initiatives.  But what I appreciate personally about Shelly is her gift of encouragement.  I always come away from our conversations feeling wonderful!  Thank you for that beautiful gift and for all you continue to do to further the national faith and disability movement, Shelly.

Posted: Mon, 04/25/2016 - 07:03 | The New Normal

Editor's Note: This blog post originally appeared on the Mayyim Hayyim Blog, The Mikveh Lady Has Left the Building.

When I brought my 7th grade Rosh Hodesh group to Mayyim Hayyim, we learned about the aquatic lift meant to help someone with a disability use the mikveh. When our educator, Lisa Berman, asked the girls “Why might someone with a disability use the mikveh?” one girl promptly answered, “The same reason anyone else would use the mikveh!”