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Apr 17 2014

The Perfect Way My Daughter Described Her Friend Who Uses a Wheelchair

By at 3:26 pm

wheelchair

This year, at our first night’s seder, my 11-year-old daughter declared her desire to find the afikomen. You see, she informed me, this would be her only chance.

Puzzled, I asked why. After all, we were heading to a friend’s home for the second night, and there would most certainly be an afikomen hunt there, as well.

(Back story: The friends we celebrate Passover with have one son, Josh, who has Cerebral Palsy. I have written about him and my children’s relationship with him before. Our families have been celebrating second seder together for the past few years.) Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 26 2014

Kveller Story About Boy’s Leg Amputation Gets the Media Spotlight

By at 2:06 pm

11-year-old boy gets his wish to have leg amputated

Like just about everybody else, we here at Kveller love to get attention. But attention is that much sweeter when it means an amazing 11-year-old boy gets to share his story far and wide.

Earlier this month, we ran a story by Zimra Vigoda called “Choosing to Have My Son’s Leg Amputated was the Most Difficult Decision I’ve Ever Made.” As the title suggests, Zimra’s 11-year-old son, Amit, was born with a rare orthopedic condition whereby his right leg is chock-full of pathological fractures that don’t heal. After dealing with pain all his life, Amit decided it would be best for him to have his leg amputated, and after much consideration, Zimra agreed.

Apparently, Zimra and Amit’s story spoke to many, because since the post went live on Kveller, they’ve been making the media rounds and sharing their story on major news outlets. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 11 2014

Choosing to Have My Son’s Leg Amputated Was The Most Difficult Decision I’ve Ever Made

By at 3:42 pm

Amit-and-his-new-ilizarov-2

I awake to a familiar screech. “Mommmmmyyyy……HELP!” So begins my biweekly sleep-run to my 11-year-old’s bedside. “Mommmmmyyyy……I want to cut it off, I can’t stand it anymore…I hate my leg….make it stop,” he hollers, eyes wide open yet not quite awake. My 14-year-old son appears at the door, sleepy-eyed yet familiar with the routine. He helps bring his brother to the bathroom and wash his face until the terror subsides. “Mommy, can I please get a pill?” I give him a couple of Advil on top of the bedtime Tylenol, a cup of water, and I hope for some peace.

As a mother of four kids, aged 6 to 15, I am certainly used to making lots of decisions. As all mothers throughout the world, from the time that they were babies until today, I’ve made thousands, perhaps millions, of decisions. I decided how and what to feed them, which schools to send them to, where we will live, what extracurricular activities they will participate in, what time they need to be home, whether they can stay out late on school nights, on weekends, and countless more such everyday issues. Some decisions were easy, others more challenging, but all were quite ordinary. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 23 2014

Six Ways to Help Kids Interact with People with Disabilities

By at 1:59 pm

ways to help kids deal with people with disablities

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

Being a Parent with Cerebral Palsy

By at 9:56 am

jason lieberman with son ruby

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

Interview with Interesting Jews: Dena Gordon

By at 12:47 pm

dena gordon wheelchair momTwo 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 →

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