disabilities

DNC Spotlight On Disability Issues: Clinton Recognizes The Largest Minority In US

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.

Anastasia Somoza at the DNC. Courtesy of RespectAbilityUSA

B’Yadenu: It's In Our Hands To Create Inclusive Day Schools

Children are served best in classrooms and other learning enviornments that consistently take into account their specific learning needs. The support children receive is most effective when it is offered throughout the entire day of learning—by all educators—as opposed to only specific periods of the day.

With this premise, in November 2011, the Jim Joseph Foundation awarded a grant to Boston-based Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) (in partnership with Gateways: Access to Jewish Education and Yeshiva University School Partnership) for the development and implementation of the B’Yadenu model in five Boston-area Jewish day schools: Gann Academy, Jewish Community Day School, Maimonides School, Solomon Schechter Day School and Striar Hebrew Academy of Sharon.

John D'Auria leads a professional development session for B'Yadenu teachers. Courtesy of B'Yadenu

Teens With And Without Disabilities Solving Real-World Problems

These days, many high schools require teens to earn community service/volunteer hours to graduate. That’s easier said than done by any teen, and even more difficult for teens that aren’t neuro-typical. Parents of teens with disabilities have enough responsibilities without having to worry about how they will help their teen get volunteer hours.

Enter the Edlavitch DCJCC’s Morris Cafritz Center for Community Service’s Summer of Service Camp. With close to 30 years of experience putting together volunteer projects to help the DC community give back, and the expertise of amazing special education teachers, Summer of Service is a place where teens of all abilities can come together to strengthen the community and change lives. This unique program was co-founded by RespectAbilityUSA, with seed money from the Mizrahi Family Charitable Fund.

A Summer of Service participant. Courtesy of Erica Steen

Review: 'The A Word' Is An Authentic Window Into Autism

It was Benjamin’s fifth birthday party. We had dozens of friends and family coming to our home to celebrate with him. The details of the party had been planned for weeks, and Benjamin had been looking forward to the day. Everything was going according to plan. Until it wasn’t. A relative had walked into the party and approached Benjamin for a hug. He recoiled from her touch and, screaming, ran to seek solace in his bedroom. Where he remained for the remainder of his party.  

The premiere episode of "The A Word," a British import on the Sundance Channel — and based on an Israeli drama — opens with the birthday party of five-year-old Joe. And like my son, Joe’s party is interrupted by behaviors that appear to be caused by the overstimulation that often occurs for those on the autism spectrum.

'The A Word' takes an unwavering look into the world of a family grappling  autism. Courtesy of Sundance TV

10 Ways To Be An Advocate For Your Child With Disabilities

Editor's Note: Liane Carter's list of her ten ways to be an advocate are instructive for parents raising children with disabilities all year long.

Jewish Book Council. Courtesy of The Jewish Book Council

Genesis Prize & Perlman: Helping Jews With And Without Disabilities

When the inaugural Genesis Prize, dubbed by Time magazine as “The Jewish Nobel,” was awarded in 2014 to one of the world’s leading philanthropists and public servants, New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, I admit I was very skeptical. I remember scratching my head and thinking, “One set of super rich guys gives another super rich guy $1 million? How’s that going to help anyone?” But, I’ve been proven wrong.

Violinist Itzhak Perlman. JTA

For Kids With Special Needs Who Crave Structure, Tips For Some Summer Fun

Summer is upon us. Thoughts have turned from desks to lounge chairs, from carpools to lazy afternoons by the pool and from early morning alarms to long evenings spent making s’mores and catching fireflies. It’s typical to believe that all families look forward to things like summer vacation, but assumptions like these can be a challenge. Children with a variety of learning and other disabilities thrive on the structure and routine of the academic year, making summer vacation, with its large stretches of unscheduled time, overwhelming for both children and their parents. Add to this concern about the loss of academic skills acquired throughout the year (commonly referred to as “summer slide”) and these few months might seem daunting.

Summer Family Fun. Getty Images

Exploring And Interpreting Disability In The Bible: Clearly And Comprehensively, Part II

In Part I of Exploring and Interpreting Disability in the Bible, a "wide-angle" perspective showed that the Bible does not often segregate the disabled. If biblical models encourage integration, why are many of us with disabilities still segregated?

Exploring And Interpreting Disability In The Bible: Clearly And Comprehensively

In recognition of the Shavuot holiday beginning on Saturday night, June 11, we have invited Rabbi Michael Levy to share his perspective on Torah and disability. This is the first of two parts. Rabbi Levy dedicates his writing to the marriage of Motti and Zahava Sturm.

A young Jewish boy prays at a synagogue in downtown Tehran. Getty Images

Two School Solutions For Jewish Children With Disabilities

If you are the parent of a Jewish child with disabilities, you have already learned that public schools “magically” welcome, include and teach children with disabilities very well. Indeed, where I live around the nation’s capital in Maryland, there are some of the best public school programs for children with disabilities in the country. Moreover, they are doing it with expert skills for tens of thousands of children at no cost (other than taxes) to families.

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