Apr 23 2013
It happened again today.
My daughter went outside to the playground in front of our house and within five minutes the kids that were out there headed for the hills.
It’s happened before, many times.
The scene usually plays out like this. My daughter looks out our front window and sees kids at the playground across the street from our house. She furiously rushes to me and asks if she can go play outside. After a good five minutes of her running around aimlessly in excitement and me running after her telling her to put her shoes and a jacket on, she sets off outside. She gets to the playground and in her excited state runs and flaps her arms, doesn’t listen to what is going on or starts talking a blue streak about her stuffed animals or what we are having for dinner and even when she does listen, she often cannot follow what the other kids are doing. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 19 2013
Last week, we published a blog post by Alina Adams entitled “Why I Wouldn’t Let My Son Be Labeled Special Needs.” The post, which explained why Alina declined to sign Adam up for special benefits at school that he qualified for due to an Auditory Processing Disorder, sparked a lively debate on Kveller. Many readers were interested to hear her son’s point of view on the matter, so here is a letter from 13-year-old Adam himself.
Hello Kveller readers,
I, Adam, will now offer my own opinion on my mother’s most recent article about how I wasn’t classified as special needs.
First and foremost, I would like to say that my mother’s writing on this occasion was relatively close to truth. Yes, she exaggerates once in awhile about what I said. I mean, some of her quotes seem more like summaries than it being verbatim. Still, I will now rebut and comment on this piece all about me and my problems.
The first paragraph seems to be relatively true. The thing is, I don’t remember any of this since I was a baby. About my large head, that is very true. In pictures of baby Adam, I look like a disproportionate cartoon character. About the whole talking thing, it is true that I couldn’t talk then, but I’ve made up for lost time. I can and do talk a lot more now. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 11 2013
While the world of autism is talking, blogging, and arguing about Autism Awareness Month, over here we have been dealing with another kind of awareness. One in which autism, like with a lot of other things, brings challenges, not just to Maya, but to me as her mom.
A few months ago I wrote a post about how I and everyone around me were noticing changes in my daughter and my fears about how to talk about it with her. Read the rest of this entry →
My oldest son didn’t really talk until he was almost 3. He said a couple of words, like “ite” for “light” and the requisite “Mama” and “Dada,” but he didn’t string them together into sentences, which he should have been doing by then. He also didn’t point at things. He just went and got what he needed himself. (I thought it was a good thing, honestly.)
He had an abnormally large head (it was literally off the charts when the doctor tracked it), and he could stand for up to 20 minutes at a time, just watching a leaf blow in the wind. Based on all of the above–and from 5,000 miles away in California, mind you–my mother diagnosed him as autistic. I brushed it off. But, then, our pediatrician suggested we get him checked out, too. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 14 2013
No grilled cheese for eight days?
Every year around this time I come down with an acute form of memory loss. I call it Passover Brain. With just two weeks to go before the first Seder, the panic sets in and suddenly it’s as if I’m observing the holiday for the very first time.
Where did I store the seder plate? How do I get those crumbs out from way underneath the oven? Does anyone make haroset safe for my nut-allergic kids? And why–why–is the only thing in my “Pesach” folder a 3-year-old shopping list? Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 27 2013
I don’t usually consult other people as to what I should say in a given situation. But sometimes, bereft of a frame of reference, I find I need help–and I’m turning to you.
I’m a mom of four kids. While none of them have special needs, I want to be sensitive to those who do–and to parents of special needs kids. And that’s why I’m asking for your advice.
I would never want to be a party to making anyone feel awkward or excluded, but I find that there are situations that arise sometimes where I want to make sure that I am doing the right thing, and am asking for your help. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 13 2013
Jewish day school. Photo credit: Clive Moss
As part of our month-long series dedicated to Jewish Disability Awareness Month, Benay shares her hopes and concerns about her son’s future Jewish education.
I watch my 5-year-old at Jr. Congregation on Shabbat, and I am amazed. Here, in a small room with children, songs, and a teacher he knows and loves, he is comfortable and in his element. He participates, and more than that, he wants to be a leader, a teacher, and a student. He runs onto the bimah in the sanctuary for Adon Olam, and he thinks he’s leading the congregation.
Witnessing my son’s emphatic participation is huge. He was first diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum at 2 years old. Thanks to my husband and sisters, who insisted he be evaluated on the early side, he has benefited from four years of intensive therapy with dedicated and talented therapists and teachers and has made astounding strides. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 6 2013
When your child has special learning needs–or any kind of physical, emotional, or behavioral challenge that impacts learning–finding a suitable religious education can be a challenge.
For the 85% of us who look towards an afternoon or Sunday Hebrew School, particular challenges may arise. First of all, show us a child for whom 4:00 p.m.–after a full day of a structured secular school environment–is an optimum time for learning, and we’ll show you a dozen more for whom it’s not. At 4:00 p.m., most children exhibit some type of “special learning need.” For those with an actual diagnosis, though, these tips may come in especially handy: Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 9 2013
I’ve heard it said that you don’t know how good you’ve got something until it’s gone. This is a story about the opposite. How I didn’t know how lacking something was until I left.
As the Yiddish saying goes, change your location, change your luck.
When we picked up and moved more than three thousand miles away from our home in order for me to stay home full-time and be a better care giver to our son, who is on the autistic spectrum, I anticipated many positive changes. The most pleasant surprise, however, has been the school system. I now realize, with that ever-clear hindsight, that our old school system was lacking. Sorely lacking. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 11 2012
Hanukkah is well into the swing of things, but it’s important to remember that celebrating Hanukkah in a meaningful way isn’t always easy for families who have kids with special needs.
Gateways: Access to Jewish Education is an agency for Jewish special education, and they’ve compiled a great list of eight tips for an accessible, child-friendly Hanukkah for all families. From using strong visuals to supplement the Hanukkah blessings to Hanukkah-themed games that can also help develop social skills, these tips come from professionals in the field and can be easily applied to most family celebrations. Check out the tips here on Jewish Boston, and let us know if you have any great tips to add in the comments below. Happy Hanukkah to all!