Autism Resources Round-Up

Autism Resources Round-Up

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.

Autism. Courtesy of Fotalia
Autism. Courtesy of Fotalia

Autism Awareness Month is over, and at “The New Normal” we’re proud that we could bring you different voices from the spectrum, including My Experience: Autism and Judaism, Autism and Vacations, Can Autism Acceptance and Recovery Coexist? and Aspergers-Friendly Seder. We will continue to cover issues related to autism and the Jewish community throughout the year and wanted to close out the month with a round-up of some of our favorite autism websites. Please share your favorite autism-related websites and blogs in the comments below. Ours include:

1. Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism: This website contains resources and a blog focusing on both news about and personal perspectives on autism. What we appreciate most about the site is that its contributors are comprised of parents, professionals and a number of people who have autism. TPGA has a clearly stated mission that includes, “We want you to understand that autism awareness and acceptance are not merely noble but necessary attitudes — and are separate matters from the autistic and other autism communities’ never-ending fights for medical, legal, social, and educational accommodation.”

2. Roses for Autism: Whenever you need to order flowers for someone special in your life (including yourself!), visit Roses For Autism. Located in Connecticut, Roses for Autism is a vocational training site for young adults who have autism to learn work skills. Their website features an online store and when you purchase flowers from them, you are supporting their successful program!

3. WrongPlanet is a web site designed for individuals who have autism (parents and professionals are welcome, too). It features blogs, discussion forums and a live chat feature for members. For many individuals who have autism, connecting with peers through online chatting is a preferred way to socialize and build relationships.

4. Fred Conference: In the next decade, over 800,000 adults with autism will transition to adulthood. The Fred Conference is an annual event, focusing on creating innovate housing and meaningful work options for these adults. But for the many families who aren’t physically able to get to the conference, their web site includes great resources and videos from session at the conference.

5. Autism from a Father's Point of View: In the autism community, we often speak of “Mother Warriors” who go to the end of the earth to help their children, but there are plenty of amazing fathers out there and blogger Stuart Duncan gives voice to a dad’s perspective, with humor and insight. (Don’t be shy, Dads: We’d welcome your blog ideas at “The New Normal.”)

6. AIR: The mission of AIR (Autism Inclusion Resources) is to help families soar—quite literally. AIR’s founder, Dr. Wendy Ross, began a program at the Philadelphia Intl. Airport training staff (especially TSA) about how to support people who have autism and their families through the screening process. Children with autism have an opportunity to practice going through the TSA process and getting comfortable in the airport and on a plane. AIR consults with communities across the country to help make experiences in the public more inclusive and supportive for families.

7. URJ: Not only focusing only autism, but on how to welcome all people with disabilities into synagogues, the URJ (The Union for Reform Judaism) has done an amazing job of compliling resources into one well-organized web site that our synagogue professionals, lay leaders and families can easily access and use.

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