Jewish Journal

Tag: Special Needs

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  • Special in Uniform: Israeli model of inclusion

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    September 8, 2015 | 4:47 pm

    One of the lesser-known facts about former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir is that she had a granddaughter born with Down syndrome in 1950. She never publicly acknowledged the child, and, in fact, encouraged her children to place the granddaughter in a state institution, which...

  • Finding Balance: Family Conference Aug. 16 and 17th

    August 14, 2015 | 1:11 pm

    As a mother with three of six children on the Autism spectrum, I am all too aware of the need for mindfulness and balance, not just in my own life, but also for my entire family. Please join me at the Friendship Circle of Pacific Palisades at our beautfiul seaside location this...

  • It’s a Wonderful Wheelchair Life

    By Mindy Leaf

    July 30, 2015 | 11:58 am

    Americans are known for changing jobs, homes, even states of residence and careers with almost careless aplomb. As they get older, studies show they are more than likely to change their religion or political party affiliation. Still, only a major accident, illness or brush with...

  • Will the special session help people with special needs?

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    July 8, 2015 | 1:57 pm

    The current California developmental disabilities system, once a model system for the entire nation in providing individualized, community-based care for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is starving for funds to keep programs going. Because Gov....

  • Maccabi Game fever strikes my local JCC

    By Mindy Leaf

    June 4, 2015 | 1:22 pm

    A bright red, digital clock counts down the days, hours and minutes in my Jewish Community Center's main lobby, and at the gym entrance. Supersized lettering in washable white paint shouts, "Less than 100 days left!" on outside windows, and inside mirrored halls. The brochures and...

  • Conservative rabbis, leaders letter to Netanyahu urging him to ‘ensure the rights of every Israeli’

    May 13, 2015 | 12:24 pm

    The Honorable Binyamin Netanyahu
    Prime Minister of Israel

    For the sake of Zion, I will not be silent.   למען ציון לא אחשה

    Iyar 17,‏‎ 5775 May 6, 2015

    We are writing to you as the collective leadership of the Conservative/Masorti Movement, representing two million Jews around...

  • A camp with a big heart

    March 26, 2015 | 12:40 pm

    For the past seven summers, Hilary Kip’s twin boys have attended Camp Chesed, a Reseda-based program for kids with special needs now headed into its 20th year. There’s a very simple reason Kip sends them year after year.

    Every day, she said, “They leave happy, and they return...

  • Summer camp for all

    March 26, 2015 | 11:43 am

    Like many children and teenagers, Michael Rosenbaum of Los Feliz sees going to summer camp as a highlight of his year.

    He relishes the outdoor activities, cooking classes, swimming, dancing and games at Camp Ramah in Ojai. He enjoys connecting with his Jewish heritage through...

  • Be Nimble

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    October 8, 2014 | 6:57 pm

    “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
    – Charles Darwin

    Although there are many challenges to parenting a child with special needs, there are some surprising benefits beyond a disabled parking...

  • Tyler Barbee shares his sports passion with special-needs kids

    September 4, 2014 | 11:09 am

    As a little boy growing up in Mill Valley, Calif., playing baseball meant the world to Tyler Barbee.

    “When I was a kid, baseball was my life,” said Barbee, now a 17-year-old high school senior at Tamalpais High School.

    But he also knew that his love of the sport couldn’t be...

  • Retirement and Reality

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    August 4, 2014 | 10:20 pm

    During our vacation in Alaska, my husband and I keep meeting older couples who are retired, and seem to spend most of their time driving around the country in an RV, going way for weeks, even months from home. They share their adventures and travels with a laugh, saying how much...

  • Time Off

    By Michelle K. Wolf

    July 24, 2014 | 11:37 pm

    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...

  • 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...

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