Jennifer Mizrahi has a very constructive attitude towards disabilities which has galvanized her to found RespectAbility, a group to fight stigmatism, ableism, and other biases.
Her theory is that all of us are onlyTemporarily Abled Bodied (TAB). Her definition of disabled is a “significant barriers to everyday living.” A simple example is our elderly population who are living longer. Speak to anyone of them and he or she might confide, “I can’t jog anymore or ski, or walk without a cane, or I take blood thinners.” A young person might disclose, “When I was hit by a car ---when I played soccer ---when I became ill ----”
We are as well all born differently. To name a few classification some have dyslexia, others concentration issues. Some are born with a propensity to addiction.
Jennifer had major challenges learning how to read and do math. At age 14 she was finally diagnosed with dyslexia and got the special education she needed to learn. Jennifer has a “yes, I can” outlook. At age fourteen her family sent her for the summer to Paris, France where she had an Aunt who was the founder of Ella Baché cosmetics. Of course, to help her aunt in her business Jennifer had to learn French. Ella Baché, who has since passed away, was a practical woman, and thus had asked her to attend L’Institute Catholicwhich offered a daily 5 hour immersion into the French language.Jennifer explains, “Being fourteen years old I obviously was the youngest in that group. Despite my dyslexia I learned French, felt comfortable and did make friends.” L’Institute which is famous for its academic subjects is actually a university known for its alumni including cardinals and the feminist writer, Simon de Beauvoir.
RespectAbility appreciates that people with disabilities make excellent employees. Statistics reveal that those who work have a more meaningful life, less conflict with the law, and make great contributions to society. RespectAbility firmly believes that we should “Work with people with disabilities not for them.”
Jennifer points out that her positive stance was in part motivated by her Jewish faith. “When the commandments were given they were given to all not just the able bodied.”
RespectAbility has excellent information.