The New Normal Blog

Posted: Wed, 04/27/2016 - 16:12 | Posted by: Karen Jackson | The New Normal
Shelly and her son Jake. Courtesy of Shelly Christensen

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 | Posted by: Ilana Snapstailer | The New Normal
Rosh Hodesh Participants. Courtesy of Mayyim Hayyim

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!”

Posted: Mon, 04/18/2016 - 07:32 | Posted by: Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi | The New Normal
New York Disability Voter Guide. therespectabilityreport.org

Editor's Note: Thanks to RespectAbilityUSA for sharing this important coverage of the Presidential election with us.

As voters prepare to head to the polls in New York, RespectAbility is releasing its New York Disability Voter Guide. The #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign Questionnaire was designed for people with disabilities (PwDs) and those who love them to know where candidates stand on the issues.

Posted: Fri, 04/15/2016 - 10:46 | Posted by: Adi Cohen | The New Normal
Lotem participants. Courtesy of Lotem

Nearly two years have passed since I completed my national service as a guide with LOTEM in Jerusalem but every time that I return to guide a group, that amazing feeling of being part of something big comes back to me.  LOTEM’s outings to nature impact so many people with special needs and essentially give them the ability to experience a sense of normalcy--what they deserve as human beings who live in this beautiful world that surrounds us. 

Posted: Tue, 04/12/2016 - 19:15 | Posted by: Dani Gillman | The New Normal
Dani Gillman

Autism can be so unpredictable. There's no cure, there's not one widely agreed upon cause, and no two people with autism are exactly the same. I remember when my daughter was first diagnosed at 3 years old, I asked questions like "will she ever be fully independent? will she go to college? will she marry? will she drive a car?" Of course, no doctor or therapist could answer that with certainty- and I asked them all! It's funny to look back at that time and think about how important those things were to me then, and to realize how very unimportant they are to me today.

There are just too many things about autism that are variable and uncertain. However, here are five things I know to be true about autism:

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