Monthly Archives: April 2016

Interview #8 Shelly Christensen

I initially “met” Shelly on the phone, when I called with some questions related to the inclusion of people with disabilities into Jewish communities.  She was incredibly generous with her time and, some 40 minutes later, I felt like I had a new friend in Minnesota.  Not long afterward, we got the chance to meet in person at an AAIDD conference and now we talk frequently since she is a Faith Inclusion Network National Board Adviser.  
Shelly has a lot of experience as a faith and disability advocate, traveling across the country to speak and be involved in many large Jewish and interfaith initiatives.  But what I appreciate personally about Shelly is her gift of encouragement.  I always come away from our conversations feeling wonderful!  Thank you for that beautiful gift and for all you continue to do to further the national faith and disability movement, Shelly.
Interview with: Shelly Christensen, …

Autism Moms Interview #7 Angela Kahler

I met Angela Kahler at our first Gifts of the Heart event in 2012.  We connected as autism moms and fellow Catholics immediately and I knew she and we would become good friends. (Which we have!)
A bundle of energy. Angela is extremely involved in the community.  She was on the FIN Board of Directors for 4 years and is still very active with FIN events.  She is also a Disability Advocate at her church, Church of the Ascension in Virginia Beach and the Treasurer of the Virginia Beach Special Educational PTSA.  
Thank you for your friendship, Angela, and all you do for your family and the disability community.
Question: How old was your child when they were diagnosed with autism? Can you share how you felt when you received that diagnosis?
Angela: Joe was pretty young. He was 23 months old when he was diagnosed. I grieved the loss of the life …

Autism Moms Interview #6 Katie Moormann

Katie Moorman and I have been friends for many years.  We first met at Living in Holland when I helped to facilitate this parent support group at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church.  When it was time to hand over the reins, so to speak, of coordinating LIH, I knew (maybe even before Katie did) that she was the natural choice to lead.  Now many new families are meeting as part of LIH at Crossroads Church in Norfolk and our little group is stronger than ever!
A talented writer, Katie shares the very real challenges that affect her family as she and her husband raise a child with multiple disabilities.  I know all autism moms (and dads) will appreciate her honesty and insights.  Love you, Katie!- K. Jackson
 Interview with:  Katie Moormann
Coordinator of Living and Holland Ministry at Crossroads Church, 1127 Surrey Crescent, Norfolk, VA 23508
Mom to: Iva “June” Moormann, age 6 1/2
Contributing author for,  Loving Samantha …

Sharing our story…thank you CBN!

In February, 2015, the book Loving Samantha was published.  This was truly a project born out of love and a desire to bring hope to other parents raising children with autism and special needs.  Through what I am convinced is God-ordained meetings and events, Dawn Goeb with CBN found me and asked for a copy of my book.  In a few weeks, the story will air on the 700 Club.  I am in awe of God’s perfect timing and the amazing journey He continues to lead me on with Samantha and my work in faith and disability advocacy.  Praise God!
I drove into the beautiful Regent University campus and found a parking spot in front of the impressive CBN building. I was just stopping in to give Dawn Goeb pictures to scan of my daughter Samantha. She wanted them to use for an upcoming show to be aired on the 700 …

Building Disability Awareness with our Children

As a professional educator, it has often occurred to me that we as a community need to invest in teaching our children about disability inclusion if we are going to impact the future.
I have always found children to be delightfully honest and willing to consider news ways of thinking. It just makes sense that, during their most impressionable stages of development, we should give them the chance to learn about disability, learn about what makes people different.  We need to make the subject of disability a comfortable topic to discuss, giving them the appropriate vocabulary to be effective advocates. Perhaps this kind of education at a young age can build a foundation of awareness that will foster change in our society.

This morning I had the opportunity to talk to students at Norfolk Christian Lower School in Norfolk, VA about how everyone is unique, much like a puzzle piece.  I referenced …

Autism Mom Interview #5 Pamela Tanner

Pamela Tanner lives in Chesapeake with her husband and beautiful daughter, Raven.  She and I connected right away when we met.  Not only do we have autism in common; raising girls on the spectrum, but we both also have a passion for and professional experience in the field of music.  It did not take long to invite Pamela to be on our FIN board of directors and for us to get involved in a wonderful music project together, the arrangement of performances of “Let’s Share a Journey”.  (But more on that another time!) 
Thank you Pamela, friend, for answering these questions with such honesty and sharing your precious Raven with us!- K. Jackson
Interview with: Pamela Tanner
Position: Sr. Operations Supervisor, Kantar Media and Founder and Director of Raven’s Way Foundation
Question: How old was your child when they were diagnosed with autism? Can you share how you felt when you received that diagnosis?
Pamela: …