Thursday, September 15, 2016

Auditory Processing: The Pain of Hearing Shofar

In my latest blog, I discuss how having auditory processing disorder has caused our family to change what otherwise would be a typical religious activity of hearing the shofar, or ram's horn, blown during the Rosh Hashanah, or Jewish New Year, holiday.

The purpose of blowing the shofar, is to signal to God that it is time to open up the Book of Life. It is during the period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur that God decides your year to come.

But as with many things that come with raising autistic children holiday traditions are some of the things you change. Holidays: Permission Granted to Celebrate as You Please.


The days are getting shorter, and the shadows are getting longer. Rosh Hashanah is around the corner. 

Growing up I remember being taught that on Rosh Hashanah it is a mitzvah to hear shofar. 

Yet as a family, we have not heard shofar for decades. It is simply too painful for my sons.

No, we are not dealing with an emotional trauma. This pain is caused by a physical, yet unseen disability: Auditory processing disorder. A disability, that can stand alone, but is very common in those with autism spectrum disorders.

Initially, we believed that auditory processing was merely a glitch in the uptake of oral information. There needed to be a pause for those with this processing issue to organize, understand, and assimilate the information being presented. But, auditory processing issues are not simply the inability to process oral information in real time. It can also lead to severe pain when faced with certain sounds; anything from a horn beep, to the din of a school cafeteria, to the rush of city traffic.

Friday, September 9, 2016

15 Years Later: 9/11 Remembered

It was the morning that changed the world. It brought us out of our euphoria of a post Cold War environment. Whether we liked it or not, a new enemy had arisen and it sought to destroy everything we hold dear-our liberal ideas of freedom and human rights.

While the wars that occurred, due to this attack on America, will be debated by historians for generations, the reality is that on that day 3,000 people died for no other reason that they lived, worked, and loved in the United States of America.We found out that we were hated merely because we did not follow an extremist form of a religion. A religion, by the way, that as with all religions, is able to flourish and grow in the USA. We are hated because we believe in diversity and live with the goal of respecting all peoples worldwide.

No we are not a perfect nation. Yes, as a nation, we have made and continue to make mistakes. But we are a brave people. We are able to think, analyze and review our own problems, issues and wrongdoings. We argue. We yell. We call each other names. We, the American people, fight the good fight. But ultimately, our hope is to bring the freedoms we hold deal, enshrined in the US Constitution, to people all over the world. In fact, these rights make up the platform of the Declaration of Human Rights. An agreement signed by the vast majority of nations of the world.

And no, all cultures are not equal and deserving of respect. If your religion, if your culture, destroys the hopes and dreams, and the right to life and freedom of others, and half of your population because of their gender, then you are not entitled to respect. If your religion and culture gives you permission to massacre nonbelievers (even members of your own religion whom you deem heretics) then you are not entitled to respect. You are most certainly not entitled to be free from criticism.

There is nothing wrong with believing that all people "are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, and among those rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

It has been 15 years since that fateful morning when America arose from her slumber. At times the American people have grown tired and weary from the reality of the world. There are too many who think that ignoring what is happening around the world, will keep us safe. But simply because you take no interest in politics, doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you. Let us not hide ourselves in fear, angst, or selfishness.

Let us fight the good fight. Let us always strive to do what is right, not what is easy. We have never shirked from our place, and responsibilities, in the world. That is what it means to be an American. That is why, the United States of America is the shining beacon on the hill.


And no it is not easy to forget the destruction of the World trade Center, especially when the hubby works across the street from the Freedom Tower.

A photo posted by Elise (@raisingasdkids) on