parenting

Self-Care And Spring Cleaning: Tips For Parents Raising Kids With Disabilities

As spring approaches, we begin to clean our homes and throw out items we no longer use. Whether it is the toy that your child no longer plays with or the sweater that your spouse never wears, spring cleaning is a time of “out with the old and in with the new”.

Self-Care Mantra. Courtesy of Google Images

Three Ways Teachers Can Make Parents Their Partners

Editor's Note: Thanks to Lisa Friedman and Matan for sharing this blog, which originally appeared on the Matan web site.

In our Matan Institutes we work with Jewish Educators to guide them in including children of all abilities in Jewish education, offering concrete teaching tools for reaching every student and empowering them to make lasting change in their schools and communities. One of the things we discuss at length is the critical need for strong partnerships between parents and the school.

Educators and classroom teachers can often get “stuck” on the various ways that parents challenge them and they typically want specific pointers on how to handle difficult conversations with parents.

Parents As Our Partners. Courtesy Of Matan

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

Hebrew U Professor Picks Up Baby, Rocks The Web

What would your professor do?

05/13/2015 - 20:00
Staff Writer

Hebrew University professor Sydney Engelberg encourages young moms to bring their babies to class.

That’s why earlier this week when a student’s baby started to cry during an organizational behavior lecture, Engelberg, not missing a beat, picked up the baby and kept teaching.

Though the occurrence was business-as-usual for Engelberg according to one of his students, the story has since gone viral.

The photo of professor Sydney Engelberg holding his student’s baby has become an internet sensation. Via imgur.com/ndyAIPS

The Broken Sidewalk: A Mother's Day Tribute

Even when I was only 5, my mother, Etta Levy, encouraged me, her blind son, to explore the area near our house.  She didn’t allow me to cross the street, but there was still plenty to discover.

The tree roots, searching for water underground, had cracked the sidewalk in many places.  The slight downward slope followed by the large upward bump informed me that I was in front of our basement window.  At the eastern edge of the property, I felt the pavement change to a different texture of concrete.  Farther along, the recently repaved sidewalk by Anthony’s house was miraculously smooth. 

Etta Levy, z''l. Courtesy of Michael Levy

Fragile X Awareness: A Parent Speaks Out

In our world of parenting a child with special needs, all you have to do is say “Holland” and everyone knows you are dealing with challenging days and lost dreams. As Emily Perl Kingsley expressed in her famous poem, having a child with special needs is like planning a trip to Italy only to land in Holland. There is a new language, new places to visit and new people to meet. Everything is different, but that does not mean it’s bad.

It has taken me a long time to be able to write that — and truly mean it. And while it is still painful to realize we are in "Holland," having a 3-year-old son with Fragile X Syndrome has inspired me to be a better mother and to become an advocate for his needs and the needs of other children and adults with this genetic disorder.

A Letter To My Dad

Dear Dad:

We are both deaf and we both know no limits.  It is the greatest gift you have given me as my father.  As a young child, I watched you coach a deaf water polo team and a deaf basketball team, collaborate with the early stage technology institutions to help bring the internet and computers to the deaf community, raise funds for the nation’s deaf youth, and co-found the nation’s first and only deaf owned manufacturer of assistive technology products for the deaf and hard of hearing with Mom.

Looking Ahead: My Son's (And My) Future

My eight-year-old daughter has a clear vision of her life as an adult: she’s going to be a singer-songwriter and live part of the year in Paris, where she will own a boutique selling the accessories that she designs. She said that I could have a job there, putting the merchandise carefully into soft paper bags lined with tissue, if I promise to be very careful.

She’s a highly creative, energetic kid with a natural sense of rhythm, pitch and fashion, and my husband and I encourage all of her dreams, knowing that if she hits a rough patch breaking into the music or fashion industry, we can encourage education or other career choices that allow her to use her gifts.

As for her mom, I just had my forty-third birthday and enjoyed a beautiful, laidback day with family and friends, a hike with our yellow lab on a new trail and dinner on the porch of a neighborhood BYOB restaurant. I am grateful for exactly where I am in my life, and do my best to stay present, but had a flash, just for a moment, that when (God willing) I turn fifty-three, my daughter will be eighteen and ready to go off to college, a gap year or a waitressing job and apartment with friends; our two-year-old lab will probably not be able to endure a two-hour hike on steep trails and my eleven-year-old son, who has autism and intellectual disabilities, will be twenty-one, at the end of his tenure in the school system, also ready to transition to what’s next for him.

Vayikra: Parenting And 'Perfection'

After Moses anoints the Tent of Appointed Meeting and the Priests who will officiate there, God speaks to him:

Explain to the sons of Israel the ways of bringing offerings to God. There will be offerings of animals and grains and fruit. Animals for sacrifice shall be male and without blemish. These animals shall be killed and washed and burned so each shall smoke on the altar in the Tent of Appointed Meeting. This will be for an ascent offering, an offering made by fire in expression of compliance to God and to make atonement before God.

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
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