Using M&M's to Teach Diversity and Disability Inclusion

Activities for Diversity and Disability Inclusion; Removing the Stumbling Block

If you Google "teaching diversity in the classroom," you will find dozens of great articles about helping children to learn about and appreciate multi-cultural and racial differences. This is wonderful. This is important. This is necessary. 
And this is a missed opportunity to also teach about differences in ability.

A Word of Caution Before Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month

Inclusion is a philosophy; Removing the Stumbling Block

There’s a buzz in the Jewish Disability World. Can you feel it? We are about to embark on the beginning of yet another Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month; affectionately known by those who love acronyms as JDAIM. This name has actually evolved over time. First was the addition of "Inclusion" and this year's addition is "Acceptance". 

JDAIM can be a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness while highlighting the many great resources and opportunities that already exist within our communities. Personally, I always hope that it will lead to the opening of new doors that were once closed.

All the Things You Shouldn’t Say

Are you a human? Then you can be inclusive. Removing the Stumbling Block

We've met.

You are a Jewish professional or a lay leader who cares about your community. You are deeply committed to the people and the organization you serve. You make it your business to read, stay current, understand trends, and learn as much as you can. You understand that what you do is about more than the people you serve; you recognize that the future of the Jewish people rests in your hands.

I admire you. I appreciate you. I respect your commitment and recognize that you want what’s best for your community. And I know that deep down you genuinely want to live the values you believe in. 

But you are still struggling to get it right when it comes to inclusion. Despite your best intentions.

I want to help you. 

Designing A Sensory Break Path to Fit Your Space

colorful lines and footprints on the floor and wall as a sensory path for students; Removing the Stumbling Block

You may have seen the video that went viral of a young boy walking, stretching, and hopping along a path that a special education teacher designed, painted, and implemented in the elementary school where she works. She labored over the path for more than 80 hours, creating something special for the students in her school. 
small boy leaping from image to image painted on the floor of a school hallway; Removing the Stumbling Block 
A sensory path is meant to help a child use their own bodies and environment to calm themselves down. They use their muscles, breathing, and spatial awareness to make their way through the path and walk away from it reset and refreshed. When teachers know certain students in their class would benefit from movement breaks, they can allow students to leave class (in our space the students would leave with a madrich or madrichah - Hebrew for classroom assistant) and complete the sensory break path. It’s a preventative measure, geared toward improving focus and preventing disruptive behavior before it occurs. In our space we already have students who need breaks throughout the session walking laps around our building. I designed this as a productive alternative.

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