Archive for February, 2016

Growing Up: Disability and Cultural Dynamics in an Egyptian/American Family

U of Chicago School of Social Service Adminisration

by Christine-Marie Youssef, M.S. Ed, A.M., LSW

from the Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal

To access: Growing Up: Disability and Cultural Dynamics in an Egyptian/American Family  An 11 pp. paper available for download as a PDF.

Christine-Marie Youssef shares her life story as a person with a visual disability. Possessing a Master’s of Science in Education specializing in teaching individuals with visual impairment and blindness and in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy from Northern Illinois University and a Masters of Arts in clinical social work from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, her reflections on her experiences provide perspective from both her personal life as well as her professional training and experience.

photo from Heather K. Horton 

NYC Ballet provides workshops for children with cerebral palsy

New York City Ballet. Some might picture the people involved in high culture as less than willing to condescend to those who are not naturally gifted physically or mentally, or to people with disabilities. Erase that picture. People everywhere are made in the image of God, and like Him, have it within themselves to show generosity, compassion, and love. The New York City Ballet illustrates this in the following article.

Here’s the story:  Upworthy: A mom wrote a letter to the NYC Ballet about her daughter’s disability. They responded gracefully.

So there you have it: the graceful responding gracefully.

picture from 

The Merciful Mother of the Mentally Ill Icon


Merciful Mother of the Mentally Ill

Now this has a Roman Catholic source, but since it is an icon, surely Orthodox Christians can affirm the effort. Is it not a window into heaven, into the Divine love the Son of God has for all who have mental health issues, a love that His Most Holy Mother shares? We count her as a Champion Leader, leading the Saints in intercession for us before her Son, enthroned in Heaven at the right hand of the Father.

I am also posting a similar, more familiar Orthodox icon of the Most Holy Theotokos with our Lord Jesus Christ- the Life Giving Spring Icon– for consideration and comparison.

Life Giving Spring

Sources:  Merciful Mother of the Mentally Ill & Irenikon: Feast of the Life-giving Spring, Bright Friday

Orthodox Wiki: An Explanation of the Life-Giving Spring and the Icon

Theotokos of the Life-Giving Spring: Scroll down for a gallery of icons

Icon of the Merciful Mother of the Mentally Ill is originally derived from the  Guild of St. Benedict Joseph Labre
O Lady graced by God,
you reward me by letting gush forth, beyond reason,
the ever-flowing waters of your grace from your perpetual Spring.
I entreat you, who bore the Logos, in a manner beyond comprehension,
to refresh me in your grace that I may cry out,
“Hail redemptive waters.”


Wrightslaw special education law and advocacy programs

Wrightslaw offers a variety of special education law and advocacy programs taught by nationally-recognized experts in the field of special education law and advocacy. To access:  Wrightslaw special education law and advocacy programs

See also  training program conference descriptions &  Wrightslaw Books, E-books, Training Downloads & a DVD  &  videos 

Two of the videos (give them a moment to download):

An American icon carver for those with visual disabilities?

Six years ago, as well as seven days ago, posts were published on this website in regard to icons for people with visual disabilities. Here is the earlier one:

Icons for the visually impaired

In this post we learn that in Russia, there are those, notably Roman Baturin, who are providing 3-D icons in bas relief for persons with visual disabilities. Personally, I have not discovered anyone in the Americas who is doing this.

But there is a 3-D iconographer on the American side of the Atlantic Ocean, named Jonathan Pageau, who also carves icons from wood and stone. Here is his website and his online gallery:

Pageau Carvings /Gallery

Jonathan is an editor at  the Orthodox Arts Journal, an online journal devoted to the Orthodox arts which gathers scholars, musicians, designers, artisans and iconographers from North America and Europe.

Orthodox Arts Journal

The question arises: would Jonathan or one of his students be willing, able, and eager to follow in the footsteps of Roman Baturin and provide icons for those with visual disabilities in America?

If there is an interest in this, as there really should be, I would recommend the interested parties to contact Jonathan Pageau. His address, phone number, contact form, as well as his Twitter feed and Facebook page, are listed on his website.


Rod Dreher: “Hi, honey, I’m ADHD”

Climb every mountain …

“This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the Church.” (St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians 5:12)

Rod Dreher, who is an Orthodox Christian, wrote “Hi, honey, I’m ADHD” on Beliefnet, July 20, 2010. A spouse with ADHD is hard to live with, he admits. In the post he hints that he himself has this disability. Some of the comments at the end of the post are very illuminating; many are written by people who know the situation from experience. To access:

At the beginning of Rod’s Post, written in blue, is “Attention-deficit disorders can take a big toll on marriage.” This sentence is a live URL,  leading to this New York Times article by Tara Parker-Pope:

(And though, there is no current diagnosis, yours truly shows  signs of it, too.) I bought a book a while back that paints what is for me a familiar picture:

Adult ADD: A Reader-Friendly Guide to Identifying, Understanding, and Treating Adult Attention Deficit Disorder, by Thomas A Whiteman, PhD & Michele Novitni, PhD, Pinon Press, 1995.)

Here’s a site from Science Reference Services with a long list of resources on ADHD, including the book mentioned above:

picture from 

St. Valentine †259

St. Valentine

 St. Valentine was a priest in Rome who was martyred in the year 259 A.D. He had defied Emperor Claudius’ decree that no marriages were to take place (so young men would be free for a war effort) and was found out and arrested. Claudius, after hearing that St. Valentine was making converts in prison, after a blind girl was healed through his prayers, had him tortured, beaten, and beheaded. He is counted as an intercessor for persons with epilepsy. (Personally, though, given the fact that he healed a blind girl in prison, I would ask his intercessions if I had visual impairments.)

His Feast Day in the Orthodox Church (as well as in popular American culture) is February 14.


 Mystagogy: The Orthodox Saint Valentine

Source of icon: 


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