For my dissertation research, I have focused on studying Jewish parents of children with and without autism. During these interviews, many parents of children without autism discussed the importance of taking their child to services so that he or she could experience a Jewish environment. Parents of children with autism talked about how they often felt distressed when attending services with their child.
Have you ever seen the 1951 animated Disney film Alice in Wonderland? It’s my favorite Disney movie; according to my mother, I used to quote it all of the time as a kid, and wore out the VHS tape from so many repeat watches. One moment I relate to now, as an adult, is when Alice admits to herself that she always gives herself “very good advice… But I very seldom follow it.” I know how you feel, Alice. I have, at this point, acquired something of a reputation as a go-to person when it comes to topics related to romance, sex, and dating for autistic people.
A piece of my soul died when we decided that Ben’s autism would necessitate a reexamination of a conventional Bar Mitzvah service. Having guided so many young people through their studies towards becoming Bar or Bat Mitzvah, I yearned to have the unique privilege of preparing my own son, my firstborn, the way my father, also a rabbi, had long ago prepared me.
A lucid and penetrating piece from a blogger who is the father of a son with autism. He writes about the double-bind of being the family member of a loved one with disability: how if you share the positive moments you worked so hard to achieve, you run the risk of your friends jumping to the conclusion that everything is hunky-dory, mainly because they would feel more comfortable if that was the case.
April is Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month, an opportunity for all Americans to commit to supporting people with autism spectrum disorders, ensure they are afforded opportunities to reach their full potential, and appreciate the contributions individuals on the autism spectrum make to our families, communities and society.
One of my favorite childhood memories is lighting Shabbat candles with my mom. It was my special job to say the blessing. It was amazing to know that on that same day, millions of other Jewish mothers all over the world were also lighting Shabbat candles with their daughters. I always knew that no matter what, I would make sure that I shared this same experience with my children.
The website Autism After 16 is carrying an incredibly poignant piece today from Liane Kupferberg Carter, a mother, journalist and activist, about how she still can’t get used to how people look at her son, who has autism and epilepsy.