autism

What A Bar Mitzvah Taught Us, and Our Son

Ever since our son was diagnosed with autism, at age two and a half, I'd been wondering about his bar mitzvah.  I come from a family of shulgoers who lead services, read from the Torah, and sing. My husband does, too. He and I have been teaching b’nei mitzvah for decades, and the question of our son’s bar mitzvah loomed large for 10 years.

Avi and his uncle, rejoicing at Avi's Bar Mitzvah. Photo courtesy Michelle Steinhart

Giraffes: The Meaning Of A Facebook Meme

In the past few days, giraffes have overrun my Facebook stream.

Some are comfortable sticking their necks out; others have no choice. Fotolia

Celebrations! Where Different Families Hang Out Together

It is important for parents of children with special needs to not feel like they are isolated from their peers with typically developing children—and it is equally important for parents raising typical kids for them to find ways to teach their children about disability without fear or anxiety.

Gabrielle Kaplan-Meyer

From A Reader: Seeking Thoughts On Autism And Faith

Do you have ideas on helping people on the Autism spectrum to feel God?

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi

A List That's Hard To Look At: Stapleton Not The Only One

My recent piece discussing what we could learn from Kellie Stapleton, a mother accused of trying to kill her daughter with autism and herself, inspired me to research other similar cases.

Here is what I found after a brief online search. This list is not comprehensive, and certainly can't begin to quantify the much larger number of caregivers who think about ending either their lives, or the lives of their children, or both.

Frances Victory

Raising A Child With Autism? Yes, There's An App For That

Raising a child with a disability is overwhelming. My daughter was three and a half when I finally received her Autism diagnosis, but she’d been in early intervention therapies since she was 8 months old. PT, OT, ST, ABA, AVB, etc.; we worked our way through the therapy alphabet.

Dani Gillman

Reflections On Kelli Stapleton, A Mother Accused Of Attempted Murderer

Research has shown that mothers of children with autism have the highest rate of stress compared to parents of children with any other special needs. Recently, Kelli Stapleton, a mother of a 14-year-old daughter with autism, allegedly tried to kill herself and her child by using carbon monoxide poisoning. The police rescued them and Mrs. Stapleton is expected to be charged with attempted murder. The first question that comes to mind is: What exactly drove this woman to try and kill herself and her child? 

Frances Victory

A Summer Camp Counselor Turns Tears Into A Heart-To-Heart

Editor's Note: Each year, the Jewish Agency for Israel sends a group of young emissaries (shlichim) to serve as counselors and specialists at Camp Ramapo, a summer camp in Northern New-York, Dutchess County, for children with special needs. A non-profit established in 1922, Ramapo gathers a wide spectrum of special needs children under one umbrella. The shlichim at Ramapo bring a cultural perspective that has become a special part of the Ramapo experience. Shaked Karp, 24, came to Ramapo three years ago after completing her service in an Israeli army intelligence unit and has has returned every year since. She explains why here.

The Israelis at Ramapo. Shaked Karp is the fourth from the right in the back row. Photo courtesy Jewish Agency for Israel

Our Child's Disability Lowered Our Expectations For His Siblings

A child with developmental delays has a major impact on his siblings' lives.

An obvious statement, right? How could other siblings not be affected by the amount of attention and focus on the one with bigger needs?

Except that’s not what I mean.

Chore chart. Photo courtesy Rabbi Rebecca Schorr

Movie Review: Adam, Manic Pixie Dream Girl?

The 2009 film, “Adam,” turns its twenty-nine-year-old hero, a man with Asperger Syndrome, into a Manic Pixie Dream Girl:

“The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is there to give new meaning to the male hero's life. She's stunningly attractive, high on life, full of wacky quirks and idiosyncrasies (generally including childlike playfulness and a tendency towards petty crime), often with a touch of wild hair dye. She's inexplicably obsessed with our stuffed-shirt hero, on whom she will focus her kuh-razy (sic) antics until he learns to live freely and love madly.”

The dreamy Hugh Dancy plays Adam, a Manic Pixie Dreamboat with autism. Getty Images
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