The New Normal Blog

Posted: Tue, 08/16/2016 - 12:22 | Posted by: Robert Szczerba | The New Normal

Editor's Note: This blog originally appeared at Forbes.com.

 

The Cherokee tribe of Native Americans had a well-known proverb stating that you “shouldn’t judge a person before you have walked a mile in their shoes”. It’s practical advice to view a situation from the perspective of another before rendering an opinion. One can see how this type of thinking can lead to greater compassion and understanding of those around us.

 

But how can one really experience the perspective of another? It’s certainly easier said than done. Consider the case of individuals with autism. These days almost everyone has heard of autism or autism spectrum disorders (ASD), both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development.

Posted: Tue, 08/16/2016 - 12:07 | Posted by: Nina Mogilnik | The New Normal
The author's family. Courtesy of Nina Mogilnik

This has been a grueling political season, full of rancor and too much ugliness to catalogue.  Some days, I just want to hide under the covers and pretend it’s all a bad dream. But then I think about my children. 

Having children is, at least for me, the ultimate act of cockeyed optimism. There are so many reasons to be fearful of bringing children into the world, of exposing them to the awfulness to which human beings can lower themselves. But then of course there is the profound, unparalleled opportunity to try to shape another human being by the values and beliefs you hold dear, and that is in many ways irresistible. Not to mention sometimes just flat out joyous fun.

Posted: Thu, 08/11/2016 - 10:15 | Posted by: Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer | The New Normal
The author with her son, George. Courtesy of Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

Editor's Note: This blog originally appeared on newsworks.

It's been over a decade since my son George, 13, was diagnosed with autism, which means that it's been that long that I've been a member of a certain tribe: that of special needs parents.

Through the ups and downs of the challenges that my husband and I have faced coming to understand how best to meet our son's needs, I've met, shared with, laughed and cried with so many resilient, insightful, spiritual, funny parents who are doing what I'm doing—extreme parenting with no road map, taking life not one day, but one hour and sometimes one minute at a time.

Despite the intensity of the experience, many, though certainly not all, of us live with a sense of purpose and even a sense of peace.

Posted: Wed, 08/10/2016 - 07:40 | Posted by: Ellen Seidman | The New Normal
Memorial for victims in Japan. Getty images

Until yesterday, I only felt sadness and despair about about the massacre of people with disability in Japan on July 26th. Then I realized there was something I could do. You, too. Actually, you're likely already doing it.

The attacker stabbed 19 people to death as they slept at the Tsuki Yamayuri-en facility in Japan and wounded 26 others. The suspect, a 26-year-old former staffer, had planned the killings, Reuters noted. In fact, he'd stated that he was going to do the deed in two letters given to the speaker of the lower house of parliament in February.

Posted: Thu, 08/04/2016 - 07:19 | Posted by: Lauren Appelbaum | The New Normal
Anastasia Somoza at the DNC. Courtesy of RespectAbilityUSA

When Hillary Clinton took to the stage the final night of the Democratic National Convention, several disability activists had one question for the candidate. Will she include people with disabilities in a meaningful way in her speech?

The convention already had touched on disability issues—from Anastasia Somoza, a young woman with cerebral palsy delivering a speech Monday, and Sen. Tom Harkin highlighting the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on Tuesday, to discussions on mental illness and drug addiction, as well as speakers such as Rep. Gabby Giffords and Rep. Tammy Duckworth addressing the convention.

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