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Special Needs

This Jewish Teen with Cerebral Palsy Is the Inspiration You Need Today

jacob

When someone takes a chance on you, whether it’s for a job or a friendship, it means a lot. Those seemingly small moments are truly life-changing. Think back to your college best friend or first job; without those experiences, your life would be vastly different. And it’s all because someone took a chance. Thankfully, this is what happened to Jacob Adler, who just graduated from Sinai Schools.

Adler, now 18, was born premature and diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a young child. He was recently featured in a short film, “Jacob’s Footprints,” which focused on his life and the challenges he often faces, like not being able to walk or control his body. In the film, his father described that his poor coordination and weak muscles, for instance, made it hard for him to learn to read, as his eyes were unable to follow through a line consistently.

The film was made by Sinai Schools, the school Jacob attended–and now graduated from–for 10 years. It is a beautiful and often heart wrenching look into Jacob’s life–but besides that, it is crucial to watch, as a way to build inclusion in schools, and to understand how to welcome children with special needs into activities. His parents, for instance, always made Jacob feel like he could succeed–and because of this, he was able to read from the Torah during his bar mitzvah.

bar mitzvah

Despite all Jacob’s achievements, this doesn’t mean it’s always easy for him or his parents. His mother, Debby Adler described how hard it is for her sometimes, saying, “Even after 18 years, there are still morning I wake up, and for a second, I forget, and it’s really hard.” She went on to say in an email to us how how he often misses out, because the world isn’t built to be inclusive of those who are different:

“The world is far from accessible, friends and peers move on in ways he cannot, people stare and shy away, and most days are not filled with the cool activities you see in photos on social media. Life for Jacob is often sitting by the window, watching the world pass him by. And he is far from the only one.”

jacob

Jacob, however, retains a positive attitude throughout it all, saying in the video that he is “special because his body is special.”

Adler put it best when she said, “Whether a person is facing a physical, emotional or cognitive challenge, everyone craves friendship.” This is only too true, and it’s something we all need to reminder ourselves of.

Watch the full video below–it’ll definitely make you tear up:

Jacob’s Footprints from SINAI Schools on Vimeo.

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