Autism Awareness Month: Sharing Many Voices

Autism Awareness Month: Sharing Many Voices

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer directs Jewish Learning Venture’s Whole Community Inclusion which fosters inclusion of people with disabilities through the Philadelphia Jewish community. She loves writing/editing for “The New Normal” and for WHYY’s newsworks. Her latest book The Little Gate Crasher is a memoir of her Great-Uncle Mace Bugen, a self-made millionaire and celebrity selfie-artist who was 43 inches tall and was chosen for this year’s Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month Book Selections. She’s recently shared an ELI Talk on Standing With Families Raising Kids With Disabilities and has released a journal designed for special needs parents.

April begins Autism Awareness Month. Here at The New Normal, we promise to bring you a variety of voices speaking about the experience of living with autism, and how we as a Jewish community can best support people who have autism across the lifespan. That means creating inclusive early education centers, meaningful workplaces and housing communities and more. Our bloggers will be sharing perspectives about how our community can provide effective formal and informal education and also make our synagogues and other communal places more inclusive of people on the spectrum and their families.

Last week’s CDC data stating that 1 in 68 children is being diagnosed with autism means that every Jewish institution—day school, synagogue, JCC—will soon be integrating people who have autism into their community, if they haven’t started doing so already. We want "The New Normal” to be a forum where we can share best practices, offer advice around challenges and inspire each other to seek hope and take action.

We will be sharing an autism blog roundup later this month, featuring our favorite autism blogs. We’d love to have you weigh in. Please share your favorite blog in the comment section below or on our New Normal facebook page.

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