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Why Inclusion of People with Disabilities (PwDs) is Important for Jewish Survival, and How to Do It Right

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month (JDAM) 2014

Judaism & Inclusion
• Religious tradition is that G-d made each of us in G-d’s image. Not just those who win Nobel prizes, or become U.S. Senators. Not just those who are, or will, become rich or famous. Judaism teaches that there is a spark of G-d in each of us. • When the Jewish people really needed help from G-d, when we were slaves in Egypt, his instrument was a person with a disability. That person was Moses. Aaron was his “accommodation.” ALL of us were at Sinai. • Albert Einstein had disabilities and gifts. • We are only strong when we live up to our own standards and are inclusive of people of ALL abilities.

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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DEMOGRAPHICS & DISABILITIES
Approximately 56.7 million people living in the United States had some kind of disability in 2010. That is 18.6% of the US population. This includes an expected rate of 10% of Americans ages 15-24.
Jews carry genetic risks[i] and on average have children later in life than any other demographic group in America.[ii] Because of this, it is likely that we have more disabilities (including Autism and mental health issues) per capita than others.

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with 3 Disabilities 3

NATIONWIDE LIKELY VOTER SURVEY
MORE THAN HALF OF AMERICAN VOTERS KNOW SOMEONE WITH A DISABILITY
Do you, a family member, or a close friend have a disability?

The survey conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research of 1000 likely 2012 voters (1000 weighted) September 8-12, 2012. 4

Polls: Jews & Disability Issues
• RespectAbilityUSA poll of 3800+ Americans in the disability community shows Jews with disabilities are far less engaged in their faith and faith organizations than are counterparts who are Catholic, Protestant or Evangelical. • Less than half of Jews surveyed answered that religion was “fairly ” or “very important in their lives.” And nearly 40% hardly ever or never attend synagogue. More Jews do not attend services than any other religious group polled.[iii]

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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How important would you say religion is in your own life?

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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How important would you say religion is in your own life?

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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How often do you attend religious services?

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Carter, DisabilitiesVanderbilt 2013

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PwDs and F/F/P/V Differ on Disability as Barrier or More Capable
While neither statement may be exactly right, which statement is more accurate for you?

CLOSE FRIENDS, FAMILY MEMBERS, PROFESSIONALS AND VOLUNTEERS (F/F/P/V)

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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Young PwDs are Even More Confident in Capability

PwDs 18-29

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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1 out of 5 with disability turned away

JU/RA SurveyNovember 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Survey Fielded 13
Disabilities 13

1 in 4 turned away from camp before finding the right one (FJC POLL 2013)

Has your child ever been turned away from an overnight camp because of the camp's inability to make a reasonable accommodation? (Pw/dis)
Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with 14 FJC, 2013 Disabilities 14

46% of Jews with disabilities who attended overnight Jewish summer camp reported that they have been denied access to other Jewish institutions due to their disabilities. Given that most camps don’t yet serve children with significant disabilities in the first place, even more Jewish people with disabilities (JPwDs) have been denied access to Jewish life. • Foundation for Jewish Camp has made enormous strides -more than most Jewish institutions to date to systematically become more open to Jews with disabilities.

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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Jews WITHOUT disabilities want it
•Poll of 2607 Jews done for RespectAbilityUSA.org and Jerusalem U: Fully 89% of the Jews polled strongly agree that, "Jewish events and organizations should be as welcoming and inclusive of people with disabilities as everyone else."

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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Jews EXPECT inclusion
Strongly Agree 18-29 Somewhat Agree 18-29 Somewhat Disagree 18-29 Strongly Disagree 18-29 Really Not Sure 18-29

Jewish events and organizations should be as welcoming and inclusive of people with disabilities as everyone else. Raising my children to be Jewish is very important to me. Caring about Israel is a very important part of my being Jewish. Israel is the spiritual center of the Jewish people. Having a Jewish spouse/partner is very important to me. North American and Israeli Jews share a common destiny.

89%

88%

9%

10%

1%

1%

*

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1%

1%

81%

75%

12%

17%

2%

4%

1%

1%

3%

4%

80%

63%

15%

27%

2%

5%

1%

2%

2%

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71%

65%

22%

25%

4%

6%

2%

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1%

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71%

62%

16%

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5%

8%

5%

7%

4%

4%

47%

33%

34%

41%

9%

11%

3%

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7%

12%

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with 17 JERUSALEM U, 2013 Disabilities 17

THOSE WITH DISABILITY LESS LIKELY TO HAVE TRAVELED TO ISRAEL

13% OF JEWS SURVEYED HAVE NEVER BEEN TO
ISRAEL… (18% canada)

32% OF JEWS WITH DISABILITIES HAVE NEVER BEEN
TO ISRAEL
Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with 18 JERUSALEM U, 2013 Disabilities 18

PEW & Ethics Questions


• •

9 out of 10 women overall who take the test to discover if they are carrying a fetus with Down syndrome choose to abort.[iv] We talk about PEW poll,and wanting a larger community, but what are we doing to embrace a family with disability issues when members of the Jewish community say to the mother of a child with Down Syndrome, “why didn’t you consider abortion?” How will we handle pre-natal testing for Autism and mental health issues? Israel’s public healthcare covers freezing sperm and eggs and other fertility issues http://timsplaceabq.com/wpcontent/uploads/2010/09/DSC2370.jpg
Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities 19

We Can Learn from Other Faiths
• The Church of the Later Day Saints (Mormons) have mandated that every one of the 24,000 congregations or institutions must have an inclusion director/coordinator to ensure that PwDs are welcomed. • Catholic Pope with PwDs

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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Start By Asking the Right Questions
Does your organization have policies and/or programs that support meaningful inclusion of people with disabilities at all levels? Are they prominent on your website and materials? Does it have a disability advisory committee / inclusion committee, and if so, are Jews with disabilities themselves and their family members on the committee? Will ALL people with any kind of disability be welcomed to participate? If not, why not? If so, how do you plan to identify, reach, and welcome them? Do you serve Jews with disabilities in an inclusive way (welcoming them inside the full community), or are they forced into segregated “special needs programs” which are inherently unequal? Has someone who uses a wheelchair personally check the physical accessibility of your offices and programs for people who use wheelchairs?
Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities 21

Start By Asking the Right Questions
Has a person who is blind and who uses adaptive computer technology checked your website and facilities for accessibility? Do the videos you use have captions? Do you have a way to communicate with people who are deaf or use other adaptive supports?

Do you employ individuals who have disabilities? If so, what are their jobs? Do they receive the same compensation and benefits as all other employees in like positions?
How you educate your staff, board of directors, trustees and other key people about serving and partnering with people with disabilities?

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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Leadership at the Top Needs to Buy in and Share Vision of Inclusion
The message that all people are of equal value and must be respected and heard fairly, must be communicated from the CEO and the lay leadership

Pictured: Words “We are all equal” handwritten on palm of hand

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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Nothing About Us Without Us
• People with disabilities need a seat at the table, they need to be in on decision making. • Organizations must work WITH people with disabilities, not FOR them.

Pictured: Modified traditional “handicapped” symbol persons arms raised with broken shackles

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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Use “People First” Language
• Respect human beings and their right to be appreciated for the strengths they have, and not be defined by their disabilities • Ex. A person who uses a wheelchair is a person first, and their wheelchair is a tool. They are not “wheelchair bound.” • We are “people with disabilities” (PwDs), not “handicapped” or “the disabled”.
Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

Pictured: Teenage boy with guitar, words on picture “your words, attitudes & actions impact my life more than my disability.”

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Walk The Walk
• It is one thing to talk inclusion…at some point you have to include. • Ex. Round Lake
Pictured: Little boy with baseball cap and backpack walking on dirt road in woods

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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Budget the Time and Money That it Will Take to Do it Right
• Inclusion is a lot less expensive than most people think. • To insure success and build an accurate budget, camps/schools/places of worship need to know what it takes to have the right staff, training, and physical accommodations. 27

Pictured: Pink piggy bank sitting on digital calculator

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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ATP- Ask the Person: Registration Forms and Intake Process
• Every sign up form must ask what accommodations are needed for people to participate fully in what you are offering. Fine to indicate that you need advance notice to offer a special service before an event. • Have a ready list of providers or volunteers you can call to meet key needs.

Pictured: Symbols for blind, wheelchair, sign language and a question mark

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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Every Group Needs an Experienced Inclusion Director/Coordinator

Pictured: Man in wheelchair at bottom of cement stairs outside a brick building

• Understand the community, provide training, be point person, coordinate accommodations. • Not every organization needs full-time, lots of qualified professionals for PT or volunteer.

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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Training Seminars and Manuals
All groups need a training manual on inclusion for staff. Training should include: • Participant assessment/intake process • Accommodation/Inclusion plans • Adaptations • Inclusion support staff • Preparing nondisabled peers • Facilitating peer interactions/aid and fade • On site technical support • Program evaluation
Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

Pictured: Woman in front of room teaching

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Promote “Expected Behaviors” to Reduce Tantrums/Meltdowns Professional Training Needed •Understand the difference between “won’t” and “can’t”. •Give tools to teachers to manage and promote expected behaviors.

Pictured: Elementary age school boys around a class project

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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Marketing: Getting the Word Out
• “Accidental inclusion” vs. “intentional inclusion” • Post diversity policy • Advertise the programs that you are doing, share your inclusion vision online.

Pictured: Laptop with cartoon chat bubbles

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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What Parent’s Want for Their Children: Social Skills and Peer Relationships • Aid and Fade training needed to facilitate relationship building. • Inclusion among children teaches parents too!
Pictured: two boys and one girl with down syndrome with arms around each other laughing

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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Hire PwDs And Encourage Others To Do So As Well • 70% of PwDs are outside of the workforce. • Establish job coaching with volunteer community members • Offer internships to Young PwDs.

Pictured: Man in suit touching button that says “We’re HIRING”

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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Job Bank for People to Work with PwDs
• Well trained, skilled and sensitive staff and volunteers who are experienced in working with PwDs are in short supply. • Men are needed.

Pictured: Grey stick figures in a line, middle one under magnifying glass in red

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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Provide Scholarships to Children with Disabilities and Their Families • Disabilities can impoverish families. Make asking for help easy and uncomfortable. • Day school education and participation in programs can be too expensive.

Pictured: Dollar sign wearing a graduation cap

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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Creating a Home Away from Home: Mental Health Support or Affinity Groups
Religious institutions don’t need to become social workers. But, offering support groups for parents, siblings and PwDs themselves can be very helpful. • Enable families to have respite and plan for the future. • Provide support to siblings of people with disabilities as well. •Parents & PwDs as active volunteers helps insure that the programming will be well attended and successful. •Families with PwDs move to communities that offer them the most services and are welcoming.

Pictured: People sitting in chairs in a circle talking

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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Im Tirzu, Ain Zo Agada If you dream it, it can be.
• 70% of PwDs are outside of the workforce. Find ways to enable teens with disabilities to get internships where they can build their experience and resumes.Get trained & volunteer to serve as “job coaches” for members with disabilities to help them succeed in the work place. • G-d made ALL of us equal and only when we treat people equally will we live up to the standards of our faith. • Enabling people of ALL abilities to be welcomed and valued in the Jewish community is in the best interest of Jewish survival.
Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities 38

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi - CEO, RespectAbility
Mizrahi is the President of RespectAbilityUSA.org, a non-profit, non-partisan organization devoted to empowering people with disabilities (PwDs) to achieve the American dream. An advocate for people with disabilities (PwDs), she has met with 16 governors 1-1 to work on issues of employment for PwDs. She has led 3 national polls on disability issues and has published dozens of OpEds on disability issues. Mizrahi is dyslexic and could not really read or write until she was 12 years of age. She is also a proud parent who knows what it means to raise a child with multiple disabilities.

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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For More Information Contact RespectAbilityUSA.org
While RespectAbilityUSA is awaiting a final separate IRS approval we are operating as a project of the Autism Society of America. Make checks to RespectAbilityUSA at:

RespectAbilityUSA, a Project of the Autism Society 4340 East-West Hwy, Suite 350 Bethesda, MD 20814 www.RespectAbilityUSA.org Cell: (202) 365 – 0787 JenniferM@RespectAbilityUSA.org

Survey Fielded November 6 – December 2, 2013 3839 Respondents, 1969 People with Disabilities

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