Online Matching System for Special Needs
For Unificationists the Marriage Blessing is the most sacred sacrament. Parents who have adult children with extreme challenges may very well still want their child to receive the Marriage Blessing. The Online Matching System wants to support such families by providing a venue where they can meet and talk.
We have families across the world with adult children who might be severely challenged. It may never be possible for these individuals to live independently outside of a full-time care team. Some may not be even able to recognize their own situation. However, each of them is still precious and their lives should be honored. Offering the Marriage Blessing through their family is a gift that should not be withheld. That is why this service is offered—With gratitude and love.
- Easterseals provides exceptional services, education, outreach, and advocacy so that people living with autism and other disabilities can live, learn, work and play in our communities.
- The U.S. federal government website for information on disability programs and services nationwide.
List of Organizations for People with Disabilities:
- Comprehensive list of organizations for people with disabilities.Center for Parent Information and Resources:
- Offers multiple resources for parents of children with disabilities.
Administration on Disabilities (AoD)
- The Administration on Disabilities works with states, communities, and partners in the disability networks to increase the independence, productivity, and community integration of individuals with disabilities. Under authorities provided by the Developmental Disabilities Act (DD Act), the Rehabilitation Act, the Help America Vote Act, the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, and the Public Health Service Act, the AoD works to improve opportunities for people with disabilities to access quality services and supports, achieve economic self-sufficiency, and experience equality and inclusion in all facets of community life.
National Alliance on Mental Illness
- NAMI, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness, an association of hundreds of local affiliates, state organizations and volunteers who work in your community to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need. – See more at: http://www.nami.org/About-NAMI#sthash.esQJl7nV.dpuf
Tutoring for Students with Learning Disabilities
- All students learn at their own pace and in their own way – this is especially true for students with learning disabilities. Special education services are a regular feature of the public school system, but with classroom sizes growing and resources shrinking, those students don’t always get the individualized attention they need. Tutoring services can help to bridge the gap for students with learning disabilities or other disorders that interfere with learning.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Resources
- Autism speaks strives to raise public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families, and society: they work to bring hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder.
- Website of the National Autism Society of America. Offers various resources and a generous amount of information about Autism Spectrum Disorder.
- Behavior analysis focuses on the principles that explain how learning takes place. Positive reinforcement is one such principle. When a behavior is followed by some sort of reward, the behavior is more likely to be repeated. The field of behavior analysis has developed many techniques for increasing useful behaviors and reducing those that may cause harm or interfere with learning. Behavior analysts are qualified to provide services to clients with a variety of needs, including improvements in organizational functioning, skill deficits, and problem behavior, among others. ABA is a widely accepted form of therapy for children with autism-spectrum disorders.
National Autism Society of America:
Introduction to Behavior Analysis:
Down Syndrome Resources
National Down Syndrome Society:
- The mission of the National Down Syndrome Society is to be the national advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome.
- The mission of the National Down Syndrome Congress is to provide information, advocacy and support concerning all aspects of life for individuals with Down syndrome. The vision of the NDSC is a world with equal rights and opportunities for people with Down syndrome.
- The International Down Syndrome Coalition (IDSC) is dedicated to helping and advocating for individuals with Down syndrome from conception and throughout life.
National Down Syndrome Congress:
International Down Syndrome Coalition:
Intellectual and Developmental Disability Resources
American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities:
- AAIDD promotes progressive policies, sound research, effective practices, and universal human rights for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
- The Arc promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supports their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes.
Orthopedic Impairment Resources
United Cerebral Palsy:
- United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities.
- Gateway to an abundance of disability- and rehabilitation-oriented information organized in a variety of formats designed to make it easy for users to find and use.
- The Spina Bifida Association (SBA) serves adults and children who live with the challenges of Spina Bifida. Since 1973, SBA has been the only national voluntary health agency solely dedicated to enhancing the lives of those with Spina Bifida and those whose lives are touched by this challenging birth defect. Its tools are education, advocacy, research, and service.
National Rehabilitation Information Center:
Spina Bifida Association:
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke:
- The mission of NINDS is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease.
Speech and Language Impairment Resources
Center for Speech and Language Disorders:
- The Center’s mission is to help children with communication disorders reach their full potential through family-centered services.
- ASHA’S mission is to make effective communication, a human right, accessible and achievable for all. It is the national association for language and speech specialists, and provides resources to connect to helping professionals in the area of speech and language.
- Small Steps in Speech is a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization which provides grants on behalf of children with speech and language disorders for therapies, treatments, communicative devices, and other services aimed at improving their communication skills.
American Speech Language Hearing Association:
Small Steps in Speech:
“Forgiving a Nation”
By Annie Hapeman – Unificationist mother of a child with down syndrome
I knew right away that something was very wrong environmentally when my son was born with Down syndrome, just two doors down from where another child was born with DS two years earlier. We lived way out in the country, and the odds of these two children being born on the same rural road were phenomenal.
I soon came to realize that our neighborhood was the epicenter of a cluster of children that were born with this chromosomal abnormality. Eventually, the Dept. of Public Health verified that the birth rate of these children in our neighborhood was 400% higher than the national average.
I couldn’t believe it when a friend of mine shared a copy of the Congressional BIER REPORT with me. The report, in essence, was a Benefits/Risk analysis that weighed the estimated financial profits of running nuclear power plants, against the probable medical consequences. In other words, “how much money can be made, verses how many cases of birth defects and cancer cases are expected if these power plants are up and running?”
When the newly formed NRC questioned if the nuclear industry would assume responsibility for the predicted medical consequences, the industry refused to be held accountable; instead, Congress gave them the green light to proceed.
I felt angry and betrayed by the country that I loved. How could Congress consider our children simply as collateral damage? Nevertheless, the greatest religious leaders have always taught that forgiving one’s enemy is the keystone for world peace and peace within one’s own heart
“With clenched teeth, you have to go up to the stage where you find that you can pledge to heaven and earth, ‘In God’s name, I love him more than anyone else,’ about the person you cannot love. You have to try to pledge in God’s name that you will reach the place where you will be able to sincerely relate with a full heart to someone who you can’t relate to.” – Sun Myung Moon.
One of the children who was born in this neighborhood was born with a collapsed lung and a very rare form of mitochondrial malfunction. I was hired to do overnights with this child. At first, I was a bit intimidated by the machinery that regulated his feeding tube; but over time caring for this special child’s physical well-being became second nature.
Sometimes I would hold him in my arms in the middle of the night and pray that God’s loving white light could surround us, like a healing blanket.
Together we basked in the heart of God, by the soft glow of a night light and children’s songs humming in the background on his tape recorder. Many nights I wished that those who sanctioned the start-up of the nuclear power plants in our country could spend a night or two, with this frail child. He was one of the children that scientists advised Congress to consider, before sanctioning nuclear facilities.
During one of overnights, I had an incredible experience while holding this child in the dark silence. I thought about the people in the nuclear industry and in our government. I knew that they were well-meaning people, who simply had no idea of the consequences of their choices. I prayed for them that somehow their souls could be with me and with this child in this sacred moment. Tears for my enemy wet my cheeks; not angry tears, but tears of deep compassion. How I wished that they could be touched by the love that I felt from God for these special children. How I wished that they could taste, could experience how drastically their choices sliced through this family’s life. How I wish they could hold this child’s frail body that struggled to breathe without choking. Most of all I wished that they could enter this realm of God’s heart.
That night, I prayed that God would forgive my country and that my country would come back to God. Forgiving those who gave the nuclear industry the green light, without holding them responsible for the pain and suffering that was expected, took a long time, and it seemed like endless tears. Eventually, I came to a place in my heart in which I simply wanted to share the sacred joy, the eternal love of God that I experienced in the dead of night with this child. That innocent love was stronger than my own anger or pain.
The next day that little boy’s mom asked me if I had done something special with her son that night. I said no because every night I prayed when I held him in my arms. But that night had been different because I found tears of love for my enemy.
Previously this child’s chest was concave; it changed dramatically. The deep indentation that was present from birth remarkably had rounded out overnight. Forgiving the unforgivable with tears brought amazing results.
We have so many laws that protect big business from financial ruin, allowing industrial giants to prosper without holding them responsible for the health problems that their pollution is causing. It’s as if we had worshiped big business as our provider; only to watch it turn into a tyrant over our lives.
I have to remind myself to breathe deeply and to remember the goodness that big business and our government once expressed, and is still capable of expressing.
These special needs children showed me how limited logical thinking is all by itself; and they constantly seem to insist in their often, silent ways, that I dig deeper into the heart of God; into the heart of mankind, and learn how to see everyone with eyes of compassion. Perhaps we needed these special children to remind us of that sacred love and vision that moved our forefathers as they wrote out our Constitution, which guarantees our right to life.
I look forward to the day when Congress has the courage to take responsibility for its choices and to honor these young people and their families for the sacrifices they made so that our nation could move into a more industrialized age. For now, I want to take a moment to honor these special children as great heroes and great peace-makers. These children were sacrificed for the advancement of our country, and yet they smile gently and without resentment.