Posted: Wed, 01/14/2015 - 14:09 | The New Normal

Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation and a national leader on disability inclusion issues, has called on CNN to apologize for a derogatory remark toward people with disabilities made by CNN anchorman Jim Clancy.

In a bizarre Twitter exchange, CNN Anchor Jim Clancy responded to a critical Tweet with “Get a grip, junior. It’s my Friday night. You and the Hasbara team need to pick on some cripple on the edge of the herd.”

Posted: Tue, 01/13/2015 - 07:47 | The New Normal

When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his inspiring “I have a Dream” speech in August, 1963 the civil rights movement for people of color had come of age.  I have listened to recordings of the speech too many times to count.  It inspires every time.  And it is emblazoned on our collective psyche. We all know the story of Rosa Parks, an African-American woman who refused, in 1955, to give up her seat on a public bus and move to the back so that a white person would be able to sit where she had been sitting.

Posted: Wed, 01/07/2015 - 07:54 | The New Normal

With the start of a new secular year, many parents of children with autism may be thinking about their New Year resolutions. Here are some tips to make 2015 an amazing year:

1. Organization: Many parents of children with autism feel overwhelmed due to having to maintain a large amount of paperwork.

Posted: Mon, 01/05/2015 - 07:27 | The New Normal

My 2015 was off to a great start. I’d made some time the week before to reflect on my goals for the new year and managed to take some action steps to making them happen. My sister-in-law graciously offered to babysit our kids on New Years Eve and my husband and I enjoyed one of the best dinners out we’ve had in some time. On New Years Day, we took our children out to experience the Mummers Parade, a loud, overstimulating Philadelphia tradition that my son, who has autism, not only managed but really enjoyed.

But then the buzz kill came.

Posted: Tue, 12/30/2014 - 07:32 | The New Normal

They say that it takes a village to raise a child.  I say that it takes a village… and a synagogue or three, an edah (Amitzim) and a family camp (Ohr Lanu) at Machaneh Ramah and a loving, supportive family.

On Sunday, October 12, 2014, my son, Jacob Gruen, became a Bar Mitzvah at age 13 at Adat Ari El in Valley Village, CA.  He led the Sh’ma, received his talit and blessed it, carried the torah, had an aliyah and read the torah, marched with a lulav and an etrog and said the Kiddush. He also sang a number of songs, including a solo of Adamah B'Shamayim (which he first learned at Camp Ramah) with his Kolot Tikvah choir led by Cantor Michael Stein of Temple Aliyah.  To many, this would not seem extraordinary.  However, Jacob has autism, which manifests in him as moderate speech and social deficits and academic delays.

Posted: Wed, 12/24/2014 - 11:48 | The New Normal

While I waited to donate blood at my local firehouse, I was introduced to a friend’s five-year-old daughter.  I covered my face and said “I’m shy.”