Posted: Tue, 05/12/2015 - 07:01 | Posted by: Chen Amira | The New Normal
The author and her daughter. Courtesy of Chen Amira

Editor's Note: We are sharing Chen Amira's beautiful blog in two parts. Click here to read part one.

I thought to myself that the place where Neta feels most comfortable and safe is the swimming pool. For two and a half years now, Neta has been having hydrotherapy treatments at the pool at Beit Issie Shapiro and her progress there has been enormous. I thought how fantastic it would be if we were to expose Neta's cousins to her strengths and abilities: that they could see that she is not a baby who doesn't speak and is dependent on her parents; that they could see for themselves how independent she is in the water; how she swings with complete confidence on the rope in the pool and how, with flippers and a floatation belt, she can swim and move forward on her own.

Posted: Tue, 05/12/2015 - 06:38 | Posted by: Chen Amira | The New Normal

Editor's Note: Today we are sharing part one of a mother's beautiful blog. Look for Part 2 tomorrow.

As far back as I can remember, I have always loved and awaited my birthday. When August arrives, I am already full of expectation, even though I was born at the end of the month. So much so that when my siblings want to tease me, they say to me: "If August would only come already …" My birthday is my day: I spoil myself on that day and do things that I love. I enjoy the attention from those around me and feel very special.

Since my Neta was born, her birthday is a complex and tumultuous day for me. I want to celebrate and be happy in the way that I know birthdays to be, but I cannot help hurting. On this day, the chronological age that we "celebrate" and according to which we place candles on the cake confronts the developmental age that she has reached.

Posted: Thu, 05/07/2015 - 07:24 | Posted by: Rabbi Michael Levy | The New Normal
Etta Levy, z''l. Courtesy of Michael Levy

Even when I was only 5, my mother, Etta Levy, encouraged me, her blind son, to explore the area near our house.  She didn’t allow me to cross the street, but there was still plenty to discover.

The tree roots, searching for water underground, had cracked the sidewalk in many places.  The slight downward slope followed by the large upward bump informed me that I was in front of our basement window.  At the eastern edge of the property, I felt the pavement change to a different texture of concrete.  Farther along, the recently repaved sidewalk by Anthony’s house was miraculously smooth. 

Posted: Sun, 05/03/2015 - 07:05 | Posted by: Frances Victory | The New Normal

As Mother’s Day approaches, I begin to think about my two beloved grandmothers who played a huge role in my life. They helped shaped me in so many different ways and I cherish each and every memory of our time together. For grandmothers who have grandchildren diagnosed with autism, understanding the role they can play in their grandchild's life is not always clear. But their are many ways that with supports and education, those grandmothers can still make a wonderful impact in their grandchildren's lives. Here are some tips towards making that happen.

Posted: Sat, 05/02/2015 - 07:31 | Posted by: Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer | The New Normal

Editor's Note: We were shocked and saddened to read this news story from Israel and wanted to share it with "New Normal" readers.

The ultra-Orthodox mayor of Rehovot has cancelled a special bar- and bat-mitzvah ceremony for children with disabilities that was scheduled to take place on Thursday at the Israeli city's Conservative synagogue.

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