Seeing Abilities in Those with Disabilities

Deb Weiner

How does the Jewish community include individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities? In all walks of life, spiritual, educational, recreational and social, how do we help create a warm and safe space for this underserved population? Keshet is an organization that provides answers to these questions for the Jewish community and beyond.

Seeing Abilities in Those with Disabilities

The road to Disney

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This month's blog topic was super easy to decide on, not only because the month of April is Autism Awareness Month which begins on April 2, but also because of a recent New York Times article about individuals with Autism communicating through Disney movies.

Autism is a global challenge faced by an estimated 70 million people worldwide.  According to, "autism affects 1 in 88 births and it is the fastest-growing developmental disability with a 1,148% growth rate, and the cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention." With any lifelong condition, figuring out how to make the best out of the situation is key…and having a devoted network is the icing on the cake that can determine an individual's care.

It's so inspiring to hear about the road this family took to give their son a voice, a way of communication… using dialogue from Disney movies.

"But what draws kids like Owen [featured in the article] to these movies is something even more elemental. Walt Disney told his early animators that the characters and the scenes should be so vivid and clear that they could be understood with the sound turned off. Inadvertently, this creates a dream portal for those who struggle with auditory processing, especially, in recent decades, when the films can be rewound and replayed many times."

I have always loved Disney movies, and after reading this article, I'm going to watch a Disney movie with the sound turn down and let the scenes tell the story.

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