Down Syndrome

7 Great FREE Things You Can Do Over Winter Break To Help Jews With Disabilities

1. February is Jewish Disabilities Awareness & Inclusion Month (JDAIM). It’s the time when those of us who care about Jews with disabilities should be going all out to build our inclusion skills and resources, as well as to offer speakers and films for the community. Doing it right, however, takes some planning. So download your free guide to JDAIM today by going here. It’s quick and easy to read the guide and you can do it from a beach or vacation spot anywhere. So put aside the novel for a fifteen minutes, and get your creative juices flowing early so you can make a positive difference in February!

Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month. Courtesy of Inclusion Innovations

August Is The Hardest Month: Disability And Parental Loneliness

Today? I want what I can’t have.

I want Akiva to sleep late. Really late. So late, that I have to march into his room, check that he’s alive, and wake him up because hey, it’s 1 PM, and I’m your mother.

I want Akiva to brush his teeth, handle bathroom details, and get dressed. By himself. Without scratching me if I hit the wrong sensory buttons.

I want Akiva to pour his own juice and get his own breakfast, while I lie indolently in bed and answer questions from my room, as one might do with their young adult children.

Akiva and his brother. Courtesy of Beth Steinberg

36 Under 36: Tikvah Juni, Public Face Of Inclusion Advocacy

Editor's Note: At the "New Normal," we're excited that two of this year's "36 Under 36" winners work for more inclusion of people with disabilities. We're sharing one of the profiles today:

When Tikvah Juni was 16, she received her first standing ovation.

“I remember all the people, cheering and smiling,” said Juni, who had been the guest speaker at an event hosted by Yachad: The National Jewish Council for Disabilities.

“That was the first time I really believed the world could change,” she said. Since then, she’s been trying to change the world one speech at a time.

Juni, who has Down syndrome, travels around the U.S. teaching audiences about inclusion. In Washington, D.C., she even lobbied state and federal legislators to increase resources for special needs students.

How Sarah Palin Killed My New Year's Buzz

My 2015 was off to a great start. I’d made some time the week before to reflect on my goals for the new year and managed to take some action steps to making them happen. My sister-in-law graciously offered to babysit our kids on New Years Eve and my husband and I enjoyed one of the best dinners out we’ve had in some time. On New Years Day, we took our children out to experience the Mummers Parade, a loud, overstimulating Philadelphia tradition that my son, who has autism, not only managed but really enjoyed.

But then the buzz kill came.

The author's son walking his dog. Courtesy of Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

Winning The Title

Editor's Note: As we close out National Down Syndrome Month, we wanted to share another important voice focusing on living with Down Syndrome.

At 2 lbs 3 oz, Ilyse had already acquired the name "wild woman." Born prematurely with Down Syndrome, Ilyse showed spunk and grit and the intensive care unit nurses acknowledged this with a nickname. Later, as a competitor in Special Olympics, Ilyse's uncanny ability to capture the limelight led to her being called "Hollywood".  But the honorific that has had the greatest transformative effect on Ilyse is that of "Auntie."

Ilyse holding her niece. Courtesy of Becky Voorwinde

Inclusive Congregations: Justice, Not Charity

When our son was a newborn, another mom of a child with Down syndrome suggested that we see “Praying with Lior.” Deeply moved by the movie, I turned to my husband and told him that we needed to find a synagogue so that our Julian would have a faith community that knows, loves and supports him. We were not interested in “tolerance” or even “acceptance.” We wanted to be part of a congregation that celebrated difference and embraced members with disabilities as part of its fabric. 

What Does 'Fair' Mean When One Son Has Down Syndrome?

Our six year-old has been spending a lot of energy on the concept of “fairness,” as many six year-olds do. To him, fairness is about resources, and he spends his time thinking about what’s fair in terms of his share compared with what is allocated to his younger brother, who is three.

Ben Wohl and Julian Wohl

Amid Marathon Bombings, A Girl With Down Syndrome Becomes A Bat Mitzvah

Last week's Torah reading consisted of two parshiot: Acharei Mot ("After the Death") and Kedoshim ("Holy Ones"). I cannot but think that these passages perfectly encapsulated the events last week.

Ashley preparing for her Bat Mitzvah. Photo courtesy Gateways

News Roundup @ The NN: Neural Mechanisms, Bubbles And Dentistry

March’s employment numbers came out today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics; the labor participation rate for people with disabilities holds roughly steady at 20.7 percent.

The more you know, the more you know. Fotolia

A Brave Response To North Dakota's New Abortion Law

I am a professional in the field of services and supports for people with disabilities.  As a lifelong disability advocate, and someone who knows a lot of wonderful people with Down syndrome, I am concerned, as are many advocates I know, about early, noninvasive prenatal testing that is likely to result in more abortions of fetuses with Down syndrome. 

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