I am a home interventionist who works with children on the spectrum, and in July I was scheduled to visit Elliot, whom I’ve worked with for the past couple of years. It was sticky hot, but I decided to brave the heat and ride my bike, because in my work I try to follow the motto of Dr. Stanley Greenspan, the pioneering psychiatrist who said we must “follow the child’s lead.” Elliot is a teenager who has an affinity for things that spin: fans, wheels, carousels. In our sessions, he takes the lead, and we explore the spinning whirlwind that is New York City.
Editor's Note: Ben Schorr is the son of Rabbi Rebecca Schorr, a regular blogger here at the New Normal who writes about Ben, his autism and the highs and challenges of family life on the spectrum. This summer, Ben wrote the below article for his camp newspaper, The Round Lake Times. He gave us permission to reprint it here on the blog.
As an 11-year-old camper attending Camp Ramah in The Berkshires in the early 1980’s, I first leyned five verses – Deuteronomy 15: 7-11, in this week’s parsha, Re'eh, – that have grown to become among my favorites in the entire Torah.
Today in Milwaukee, governors from across the country will meet for the National Governors Association summer meeting, and I am thrilled to tell you that they share our goal of of empowering people with disabilities to achieve the American dream by working in a real job for a real wage.
Editor's Note: Yesterday, we highlighted a response to regular blogger Meredith Englander Polsky's piece about how she pulled her daughter out of Jewish day school. Click here for the original post and here for the comment; below is Meredith's response to the comment.
Thank you - I appreciate your response. I agree that this school (and probably Jewish Day Schools in general) face a real challenge as pressure grows to be as academically challenging as a Sidwell Friends or a Georgetown Prep. I would argue, though, that a day school's mission, then, needs to be clear. If that's the goal - to attract and retain families who would otherwise choose a Georgetown Prep - then make that explicit. Then parents know what they are choosing, and the school rejects students who will not rise to those academic challenges - probably (statistically speaking) 20 percent of currently enrolled students. (Clearly, this is not something I'm advocating.)
Editor's Note: An anonymous commentor wrote this in response to Meredith Englander Polsky's piece, about how even she, the founder of an organization that fights for the right to a Jewish education for every child, had to pull her own daughter out of Jewish day school. Tomorrow, we'll post her answer to this comment.
As a parent with children in the Jewish day school Meredith is referring to, CESJDS, we have had a very positive experience, even though our kids are also not round pegs going into round holes either. Each parent knows their own child best and I have no doubt about that the frustrations many have expressed here are real.
According to a 2006 Harvard School of Public Health research study, the cost of raising a child with autism can range from $67,000 to $72,000 per year. Over a lifetime, an autistic person’s care will cost between $1.4 million to $3.1 million.
The financial strain on individuals with disabilities and their families today is not just a matter of dollars and cents; it’s a matter of planning for tomorrow and the long-term future to ensure their independence and inclusion in their community.