Jan 23 2014
In our ketubah (marriage contract), that my husband and I wrote ourselves, we included the kinds of things that we wanted to foster in our home. This included “tolerance and understanding” and “respectfulness of all people.”
This has played out in many ways, but one of the most important has been how our children interact with people with disabilities in their lives. Somewhat surprisingly, my children (ages 2 and 5) have already had a lot of personal experiences with disability, even though they, themselves, do not have any.
Here are some ways that we try to help them understand the disabilities in their worlds:
1. We try to dispel the stigmas that are often associated with disabilities before our children understand that there are stigmas. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 27 2013
As part of our month-long series dedicated to Jewish Disability Awareness Month, Jason shares what it’s like to be a parent with a disability.
Every morning I say two prayers. It isn’t normal for someone in my position to recite either one, but I’ve never been described as normal.
The first, traditionally said by addicts, is the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” The second, traditionally said only by women as part of the Jewish morning prayers, is, “Blessed are you Hashem, our God, king of the universe for having made me according to his will.” Together these prayers remind me–a person with cerebral palsy–to be proud of who I am, while accepting, but not diminishing, my challenges. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 28 2012
Two years ago, a blind couple in Missouri had their newborn taken away for 57 days because the social services felt the parents couldn’t possibly care for him. When I wrote about it on my blog, a reader reached out to me about her own experience growing up with a mother who had polio and raised five children from a wheelchair. I sat down and talked with that mother, Dena Gordon, who has a Master’s degree in psychology, has been a computer instructor and travel agent, and made aliyah to Israel in 1990.
Tell me about your illness and recovery.
I was born in 1943 and contracted polio when I was 2 1/2. My generation of polio survivors was lucky. We were influenced by Nurse [Elizabeth] Kenny, an Australian who revolutionized polio treatment by having patients exercise their paralyzed limbs. At first the paralysis extended up my back and affected my arms. By the time I entered school, my arms were fully functional and I could walk with crutches and braces. People were astonished by my recovery. Read the rest of this entry →