Writing

HuffPost

5 Father’s Day Lessons For Every Parent From An Autism Dad

Coach Mike happens to be the father of one of the team’s athletes, Mike McQuay, Jr. (Mikey), but the whole team benefits from his nurturing style and high expectations. Seeing him in action, it’s no surprise that Coach Mike guided his swimmers to successfully dominate the competition at the state and national level Special Olympics events documented in “Swim Team.” Read more…

Documentaries Make An Impact Through Artistry As Much As Advocacy

Somewhere along the line, it became important for documentary films to have a so-called call to action, particularly if these films are competing for the typical sources of funding. Some of the best known and most generous documentary funders now explicitly state or demonstrate through their choice of films that fundable documentaries must address contemporary social issues and seek to challenge the status quo, inspire people to join or create a movement, or otherwise call for social action. Read more…

The #1 Way Schools Are Failing Our Kids Will Surprise You

This isn’t a story about bullying, but let’s start there, with a recent incident at an 8-year-old’s birthday party. “Who here thinks Adam is unpopular?” a young bully asks his classmates, right in front of Adam. “Raise your hand.” Hands shoot up. Adam, who has autism and is confused, also raises his hand. The kids laugh. Then the bully starts shoving Adam. Read more…

Benched: Why We All Lose When Kids With Disabilities Are Shut Out of Sports

8-year-old Casey is in many ways like any other boy, especially when it comes to his passion for sports, and particularly competitive swimming. But he has a problem that affects us all. Casey is autistic. That isn’t the problem. Read more…

The Shopping Cart Shuffle: Our Schools Couldn’t Care Less about the Potential of Kids with Autism

I am moved to tears when I hear 16-year-old Vincent play the piano. On top of precise technique, his rendition of the second movement of Beethoven’s “Emperor” concerto is achingly beautiful. You’d never know it from hearing and seeing him play, but Vincent struggles with a lot in his life. Read more…

Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship Is How Families Are Creating Meaningful Jobs for Their Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

When Broadway’s Lyric Theater was putting together the menu for concessions for the musical “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” they had a specific criterion. They needed snacks that would not disturb the performers on stage when eaten. The design challenge led Dr. Steven Bier and COO Rachel Cheng, owners of Popcorn for the People, to create custom packaging which doesn’t rustle. It was a big break for this fledgling family business that employs adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Popcorn for the People is now one of the best-selling items at the Lyric’s snack shop and is also a staple at Rutgers University athletics events. Read more…

Kveller

My Autistic Son Is More Than Your Kid’s Mitzvah Project

My 12-year-old son has autism, and playdates have always been hard to come by. For this reason alone, I was happy to have him be part of a local bar mitzvah project program that matches neurotypical kids with kids who have disabilities. The young volunteers receive credit for every playdate completed. I started welcoming kids to our house a few years ago for weekly visits, despite the awkwardness that comes with knowing my child is someone’s mitzvah project. Read more…

How We Avoided the Bar Mitzvah Industrial Complex

I was recently asked if I would agree to be interviewed for a popular bar/bat mitzvah blog. My family had made the somewhat unconventional choice to hold our son’s bar mitzvah party at a bowling alley and the writer was interested in that angle. Read more…

nywift

How I Built a Distribution Plan at Film Festivals

Didn’t get into Sundance, SXSW or Tribeca? Don’t give up. There are alternate paths to indie film success and ways to make festivals work for your film, even without a top tier premiere. I must admit, I’m a little anti-establishment, even for an indie filmmaker. I didn’t apply to Sundance. But nevertheless, my documentary Swim Team found success and distribution at film festivals. Read more…

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