Reta Emerson Fellows/TAP Teens: Increasing Autism Awareness

Posted: April 15th, 2016

By Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer, Director, Whole Community Inclusion

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Reesa shares about autism in school and in social settings

Did you know that 1 in 68 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)–a neurological condition that affects social understanding, communication and sensory integration?

April is #AutismAwarenessMonth, a time when extra attention is focused on both raising awareness about autism and also taking action to better support and integrate people with autism and their families into our communities. The amazing teens in the Reta Emerson Fellowship/Teen Assistant Program (TAP) have been learning best practices for working with students who have autism all year long and last night participated in another session focusing on going deeper in their understanding of autism.

We were delighted to have guest teacher Reesa Ostroff, a parent of one of our TAP participants and a specialist working with students who have autism for almost twenty years. Reesa focused on the work she does teaching social understanding to high school students on the spectrum and answered questions about some of the challenges that the teens experience in their work supporting students with autism in the religious school setting.

TAP teens learn more about autism from guest speaker Reesa Ostroff

TAP teens learn more about autism from guest speaker Reesa Ostroff

We also watched a really cool, helpful video created by Autism Ontario featuring a young self-advocate with autism sharing about his challenges and how to be a friend and better understand someone on the spectrum.

How does your synagogue, school, organization welcome and support people with autism and other disabilities? As part of Jewish Learning Venture’s “Whole Community Inclusion” initiative, I am always here to share ideas and resources about inclusion with you.

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