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Jewish Journal

Tag: Special Needs

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  • Time Off

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    1 week ago

    In Season 2 of “Orange is the New Black”, the central character, Piper returns to the federal jail after obtaining a 48-hour furlough to visit her dying grandmother. When she returns to prison, she remarks on the strange ways of the world outside of jail:
    “You know what was so...

  • A Very Special Marriage

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    July 1, 2014 | 7:33 pm

    “And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone’…”
    ---Genesis 2:18

    There’s a long tradition of June weddings but last weekend there was an extra-special marriage of two Jewish 20-something adults very much in love.  In the photos, we see a beautiful bride in...

  • Special Needs Summer Reading with My Friends

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    June 22, 2014 | 10:11 pm

    It’s officially summer with long, light days to catch up on some reading. My favorite hobby since I was a child has always been reading and as a parent of a teen with special needs, I find that reading is the one of the few hobbies that works for me: books are portable, I can do it...

  • Pooled Special Needs Trust: Leveraging the Power of Community

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    June 6, 2014 | 4:47 pm

    It’s not unusual for parents of children with special needs to lose sleep worrying about what will happen to their child when the parents aren’t around. How can they ensure that their adult child will be safe and happy? Will their adult child have the support and resources they...

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  • Hope, Resilience and Thor

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    May 4, 2014 | 12:26 am

    Can resilience be taught? As a parent of a teen with significant developmental disabilities, I don’t feel like I have much of a choice but to be resilient, but it turns out the answer is yes, according to Dr. Andrew Shatte, the keynote speaker at The Help Group’s Advance LA...

  • Speaking for themselves

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    April 9, 2014 | 1:12 pm

    Last week, I was honored to moderate a panel discussion on “Tomorrow Started Yesterday: How Soon is Too Soon?” regarding planning ahead for a teen or young adult with special needs. The event was the third annual FRED (Farms and Ranches Enabling people with Disabilities)...

  • Everyone has Special Needs at Passover

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    April 7, 2014 | 8:04 pm

    The Passover seder can be an anxiety-producing holiday for many parents of children and teens with special needs. Often there are family or friends present you haven’t seen for while, and they may not understand the accommodations your child needs to feel comfortable and fully...

  • Jewish Disability Awareness Month and The Bottom Line

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    February 3, 2014 | 3:26 pm

    All of the annoying flower and candy ads remind us that Valentine’s Day is “just around the corner”, but there’s another holiday of the heart this month. February is also Jewish Disability Awareness Month and there’s lots happening, locally in Los Angeles and across the nation. Now...

  • Limmud for special needs

    January 8, 2014 | 11:34 am

    Since the launch in 2011 of Limmud L’Am at Limmud Conference UK, adults with a variety of learning/developmental disabilities have become a welcome addition to the Limmud community around the world — as presenters, volunteers and participants.

    Verbal or nonverbal, walking or in a...

  • Welcoming special-needs families at Vista Del Mar

    By Zan Romanoff

    August 22, 2013 | 3:09 pm

    Six years ago, when Rabbi Jackie Redner was hired as a full-time rabbi at Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services center, she decided to visit the kids in the Nes Gadol program first. Nes Gadol is designed to prepare children with autism for their bar and bat mitzvahs — they learn...

  • Not Thinking

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    June 21, 2013 | 6:37 pm

    The saying that “a picture tells a thousand words” has never been more true than with the recent online criticism of a 2nd grade class photo from British Columbia in which a student who uses a wheelchair was photographed sitting off to the side, with a visible gap dividing him from...

  • A Place At the Table

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    June 14, 2013 | 5:24 pm

    Do you remember that feeling when you finally graduated from the “kid’s table” to the “grown up” table? At large family gatherings, the kid’s table was invariably a smaller, more flimsy table, shoved into some corner, or at the very far end of the main table, far enough away that...

  • School’s Out for Summer – Now What?

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    June 6, 2013 | 11:40 pm

    No more pencils
    No more books
    No more teacher's dirty looks

    --Alice Cooper

    I can’t really believe that tomorrow is the last day of school. Tonight, I ran out at the last minute to buy gift cards for our son’s special education teacher, 1:1 aide and a few other classroom aides...

  • Ten Lessons from Special Needs Motherhood

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    May 8, 2013 | 9:28 pm

    "But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
    "Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad."
    "How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice.
    "You must be," said the Cat, or you wouldn’t have come here.”

    ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in...

  • Study: Jewish summer camps increasingly attune to special needs kids

    May 2, 2013 | 9:57 am

    A study released by the Foundation for Jewish Camp showed overnight camps are growing increasingly aware of the needs of children with disabilities.

    The organization on Wednesday said the study showed a greater number of retreats for Jewish youth offered unique services to a...

  • Advancing Special Needs Programs: Start Where the Funder Is At

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    April 26, 2013 | 6:59 pm

    In the field of social work, there’s a core concept of “starting where the client is at” meaning that the therapist or social worker needs to begin working with the client without pre-judging the situation, and not moving too far ahead of the client’s needs. So, for example, if the...

  • Leveling the Playing Field

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    April 16, 2013 | 10:39 pm

    Long before I was married and had kids, I always imagined I’d be spending some quality time watching my children participate in some type of group sporting activity. Not that I had ever played organized sports as a kid-- there weren’t a lot of options for girls growing up then and...

  • Stealing From Special Needs Children and the Taxpayer: Can It Get Any Lower?

    By Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

    April 3, 2013 | 11:05 am

    Just when we thought Orthodox scandals couldn’t get worse, we learn that millions of taxpayer dollars have been illegally diverted to Jewish institutions by unscrupulous and self-interested parties. Bnos Bais Yaakov, an ultra-Orthodox school in New York, was one of the city’s...

  • Losing an autism diagnosis?

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    March 20, 2013 | 7:39 am

    When Ethan Gorin was a toddler, he threw terrible tantrums, spun around in circles and repeatedly opened and shut drawers while counting. He didn’t respond when others called his name, and he was incapable of playing quietly by himself. 

    “The hardest part was his inability to...

  • The Plague of Exclusion

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    March 19, 2013 | 11:55 pm

    I’ve been getting the sad stories via email, direct messages on Facebook, and over Kiddush at shul—mothers sharing with me that their child with mild special needs has been asked to leave a Jewish school/camp or other setting. What’s so astonishing is that these are mostly kids...

  • Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    March 7, 2013 | 11:29 pm

    When your children are babies, the idea of them becoming teenagers and running around town on their own seems crazy. With less instinct than a household pet, infants are totally dependent on the grown-ups around them for everything—food, shelter, love. And yet, somehow they move...

  • Inclusion: Awarding Success and Documenting the Fight

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    February 27, 2013 | 10:32 pm

    For many parents of children with special needs the word “inclusion” seems like the elusive pot of gold waiting at the end of a rainbow. You’ve heard it exists, and think it would be great, but haven’t actually ever seen it.

    Two different key events that focus on inclusion are...

  • Purim for all—Special Needs Events this Weekend

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    February 21, 2013 | 10:53 pm

    Purim is an especially festive Jewish holiday that captures the essence of many Jewish holidays--the bad guys tried to kill us, we triumphed, now let's eat and party! For people with sensory issues, it can be challenging since it tradtionally includes very loud booing every time...

  • Disability Rights Are Civil Rights

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    February 14, 2013 | 10:57 pm

    As a non-profit professional in Los Angeles, I’ve worked at both Jewish and general charities. While it can sometimes be more comfortable for me to work in the Jewish community, I find myself stretching more as a person  in the non-Jewish environment, especially during the casual...

  • Connie and Harvey Lapin: Two-person army for their son

    By Julie Gruenbaum Fax

    January 3, 2013 | 10:49 am

    Just try asking Connie and Harvey Lapin to recap 44 years as parent activists in the world of autism. In hyperactive tag-team, the couple bursts forth with stories and ideas, only to interrupt themselves and one another with still more anecdotes, ideas and accomplishments.

    In the...

  • 8 tips for an accessible Chanukah

    December 3, 2012 | 11:37 am

    Gateways: Access to Jewish Education, a Boston-based agency for Jewish special education, is offering eight suggestions from experts for a Chanukah celebration that is child friendly and fully accessible for children with special learning needs:

    1. As Jewish parents and...

  • Letters to the Editor: Gaza war, “Lincoln” and Special Needs

    November 28, 2012 | 12:31 pm

    Hope for Peace With Hamas
     
    When David Suissa wonders “If Hamas had the ability to murder thousands of Jews, wouldn’t they?” he is letting stereotypes get in the way of helpful analysis (“Pogroms Interrupted,” Nov. 23). He is also, in effect, arguing that Hamas is not an...
  • A focus on special needs

    By Julie Gruenbaum Fax

    November 15, 2012 | 1:52 pm

    Eliza Wilson’s holy moment in Israel didn’t come at the Western Wall. Sure, the 21-year-old with autism was honored and moved to place a note in the Wall on behalf of the 40 people traveling with her on a mission to learn about Israel’s programs for adults with special needs.

    But...

  • Foundation for Jewish Camp announces four new specialty camps

    September 13, 2012 | 10:12 am

    The Foundation for Jewish Camp announced four new camps to be included in its specialty camp incubator designed to engage Jewish campers.

    The Specialty Camp Incubator II, which began accepting applications in March, is part of an $8.6 million grant jointly funded by the Jim...

  • Why Charity Isn’t Enough

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    August 31, 2012 | 9:09 am

    “I’ve been knockin’ on the door that holds the throne
    I’ve been lookin’ for the map that leads me home
    I’ve been stumblin’ on good hearts turned to stone
    The road of good intentions has gone dry as bone
    We take care of our own.”

    —Bruce Springsteen

    During this political...

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