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Life Stories and Experiences

My Father, My Superman
I watched my father, encloaked not in a red cape but in a weathered, white tallit, a joyful Chassidic melody on his lips.
A Special Match Made in Heaven
Chaim has a neurological condition and developmental disability. Tamar has Down syndrome. What a wonderful match!
A Pure Heart
Out of the corner of my eye, I notice a young boy hobbling through the door. He’s about nine or ten. His legs are barely able to carry his own body.
This Is What a Panic Attack Looks Like
I’m falling, paralyzed by fear. Next thing I know, I wake up but I’m still falling—falling without a parachute.
3 Lessons You Can Learn From My Stutter
You know what to say, your listener is waiting patiently, but you simply cannot … Get. The. Words. Out.
Prayer for Invisibility
The girl sitting in the back of the room stared at the bottom of her desktop. She bent her head down. Her stomach lurched; her mouth was dry. She prayed that her teacher wouldn’t see her. She wanted to be invisible so she wouldn’t be called upon to read.
Living and Working With Mental Illness
I have a disability, but you would not know it by just looking at me or by having a brief conversation with me.
Coming to Terms with My Special-Needs Sister
Our beautiful princess was changing in front of us, and there was nothing we could do about it.
What I Learned from My 4-Year-Old
Imagine that a family celebrates their daughter’s birthday at home, and doesn’t even know that three of her child’s classmates will show up to the party in wheelchairs. The issue never once came up in discussions with her child! That’s what happens when a school holds inclusive classes, where children with and without disabilities learn side by side. It is both ordinary and remarkable.
Lenny's Gift
The story of a man who lived in the hospital
Kingsbrook Hospital is where Lenny has lived since childhood. It’s his hospital-home. “You know, Chani, I’m here for always,” he says, neither sad nor mad about it. I intuit that his family chose Kingsbrook on his behalf when he was a young child.
From One Mom to Another, a Newfound Empathy
Have you ever met a paranoid mother? I mean really paranoid, certifiably paranoid, meshuge paranoid?
No Barriers or Awkwardness
Our friend Liron joins us at shul and chats with my daughter. With sincere interest, she asks her about her week. With strained speech—often misunderstood by unfamiliar listeners—my daughter responds enthusiastically to Liron as she enjoys the conversation.
What Am I Doing Here?
An “outsider” joins RCII, an inclusion initiative
What accident of fate made me part of the Ruderman Chabad Inclusion Initiative, a group committed to inclusion for people with disabilities at every level of Chabad life?
A Rabbi With a Disability Shares: Are You Cool or Quiet? That Depends!
In my teenage mind, there were only two categories of people: the “cool” ones and the “quiet” ones.
The Power of Language
I have experienced the awesomeness of language, only through the brilliance of my son who is nonverbal.
No Longer Hidden Away
After more than 60 years, I still have a strong image of the phantom classroom in the basement of my Boro Park public school. I don’t recall how I knew that this classroom existed. I never really saw the students. I just knew that they were there.
How I Found My Place in the Jewish Community Despite My Disability
For decades, the status of Jews with disabilities was not discussed. The reasons are complex.
A Rite of Passage for a Boy With ADHD
The night we met with the cantor, my almost-13-year-old son announced: “I’m a scientist, and also I’m an atheist.”
Window To Our World
An inside perspective of special children, their families, volunteers, community members and Friendship Circle coordinators who bring them together.
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