If you’re having a hard time with your feelings, using drugs or alcohol, or waiting for help, here are some small steps you can take according to SAHMSA:
Reach out for help if you’re really struggling: If you or someone you know is having a difficult time, you can call or text 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org. They have people you can talk to any time, day or night.
Remember it’s okay to feel how you’re feeling: Sometimes it’s normal to feel sad or upset. Healing takes time and it’s not always a straight path. Be nice to yourself and talk to yourself like you would to a friend.
Take care of your body: Your body needs to be taken care of too. Make sure to get enough sleep and try to have a regular sleep schedule. If it’s safe, spend time outside. You can also play sports or do exercises you enjoy, even if it’s just stretching or going for a walk.
Take care of your mind: Your mind needs care too. You can write or draw your feelings to help process them. Taking a few deep breaths can help calm your mind and slow your heartbeat. If the news or social media stress you out, it’s okay to take a break from them. Find things you’re interested in and spend time doing activities you enjoy.
Connect with people who can support you: It’s important to have people around you who care. When you’re ready, you can ask for help. You can join a group where people understand what you’re going through, or find an online community that feels safe. Talk to people who care about you and won’t judge you, and listen to their advice. If you have a safe relationship with a partner, it’s okay to talk to them about what you’re going through. You can also get involved in things like sports, school activities, or religious groups. Volunteering for a cause you care about can also make you feel good.
Valentine’s Day is a special occasion celebrated worldwide to honor love and affection between partners, family, and friends. It is all about spreading joy and making memories. For individuals with intellectual disabilities, it can be an opportunity to celebrate and experience love in their lives.
Here are some ideas for individuals with intellectual disabilities to celebrate Valentine’s Day:
Make handmade cards: Creating handmade cards for loved ones is a fun and simple activity that can bring joy to both the creator and the recipient.
Bake sweets: Baking is a fun activity that involves multiple senses, like smell and taste. Consider making heart-shaped cookies, cupcakes, or a special treat together.
Play games: Valentine’s Day-themed games like bingo, a heart-shaped memory match, or a heart scavenger hunt can be a fun way to spend time with loved ones.
Music and dancing: Music and dance are great activities to promote social interaction and self-expression. Turn up the music and have a dance party to celebrate.
Valentine’s Day is a day of love and should be celebrated by everyone regardless of their abilities. By creating special activities and experiences, individuals with intellectual disabilities can celebrate the love and affection in their lives and make memories that will last a lifetime.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brainthat affects social communication, behavior, and sensory processing. 1 in 36 children is diagnosed in the United States yearly. Despite the high prevalence of autism, there is still a lot of misinformation and stigma surrounding it. Autism Acceptance is a movement that aims to change that.
What is Autism Acceptance?
Autism acceptance is the idea that autism is a natural and valid variation of the human experience and that autistic individuals should be accepted rather than cured or normalized. It emphasizes the importance of listening to the voices and experiences of autistic people themselves and respecting their autonomy and agency.
Autism acceptance is different from autism awareness. Awareness, though important, is more focused on educating people about the existence and symptoms of autism and can perpetuate a deficit-based view of autism. In contrast, acceptance celebrates the diversity and strengths of autistic individuals and recognizes that they have unique perspectives and contributions to offer to society.
Why is Autism Acceptance Important?
Autistic individuals face many challenges in a world often not designed with their needs in mind. They may struggle with sensory overload, social isolation, and pressure to conform to neurotypical (non-autistic) standards of behavior and communication.
Autism acceptance can help to address these challenges by promoting a more inclusive and accommodating society. By accepting autistic individuals for who they are, we can create environments that are more accessible, respectful, and supportive.
Autism acceptance also challenges the medical model of autism, which treats autism as a disease or disorder that needs to be cured or fixed, which can lead to harmful and unnecessary interventions prescribed to make autistic individuals more “normal.” By embracing autism acceptance, we can move away from this deficit-based approach and towards a more holistic and person-centered view of autism.
How Can We Practice Autism Acceptance?
Autism acceptance is a practice we can all engage in daily. Here are some ways that you can support autism acceptance:
Listen to the voices of autistic individuals: Find blogs, social media accounts, and other resources created by autistic individuals. Learn from their perspectives and experiences.
Challenge stereotypes and misinformation: Educate yourself and others about the diversity and strengths of autistic individuals. Speak out against harmful and stigmatizing portrayals of autism in the media.
Advocate for inclusive policies and practices: Support organizations and initiatives that promote accessibility, accommodation, and acceptance for autistic individuals. Encourage your workplace, school, and community to prioritize the needs of autistic individuals.
Respect autonomy and agency: Recognize that autistic individuals have the right to make decisions and communicate in their way. Avoid imposing neurotypical standards of behavior and communication on autistic individuals.
As individuals, we can all practice autism acceptance in our daily lives by listening to the voices of autistic individuals, challenging stereotypes, advocating for inclusion, and respecting autonomy and agency.
Although the weather outside may be frightful, there are plenty of reasons not to stay hunkered down inside this December and beyond. A lot of hot spots in Philly become hubs of activity in the winter. You’ll find lots of places to stroll, gawk at the sights, be inspired, and take pictures. And most of the ones listed below are free and accessible.
Christmas Light Show and Wanamaker Organ Concert
Now through Dec. 24 (Closed Christmas Day), Dec. 26-31
Enjoy a longtime Philadelphia tradition. Since 1956, locals have flocked to the Christmas Light Show and Wanamaker Organ Concert, which is wheelchair accessible. Now at Macy’s Center City store in the historic Wanamaker Building, you can watch snowflakes, ballerinas, and reindeer float by against a blue velvet curtain. During the light show, 100,000 bright LED lights create fantastic holiday images. The shows run every two hours from 10 am to 8 pm. At the end of the light show, you’ll hear live festive music from the world-famous Wanamaker Grand Organ. Good, less crowded times for viewing the show are Monday through Thursday.
While you’re there, check out the third floor of Macy’s, which became a “Dickens Village” for the holidays. The 6,000 sq. ft. village brings Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to life with a free self-guided tour of an animatronic display that ends with a one-on-one with Santa.
Where: Macy’s is located in The Wanamaker Building at 13th & Market Streets. More details.
Christmas Village at LOVE Park
Now until Dec. 24
Get into the holiday spirit at Christmas Village at LOVE Park in Philadelphia. Inspired by traditional European open-air Christmas markets, this shopper’s destination offers gifts and festive treats like warm waffles, gingerbread, and mulled wine. About 80 local and international vendors have set up shop here. Each day, street-side performances and special events will be held. For the brave, there are daily Ferris wheel and carousel rides. See the full Christmas Village calendar for upcoming events. The complete festival is wheelchair-accessible.
LumiNature at the Philadelphia Zoo
Now until January 7, 2023
In the evening the zoo lights up with more than 1 million holiday lights in 14 distinct zones. Displays include a 21-foot tall bright snake, a 100-foot-long aquarium tunnel, and a 15-foot tall glowing blue gorilla! More details
A Longwood Christmas at Longwood Gardens
Now until January 8, 2023
Longwood Gardens transforms into a winter wonderland each holiday season. Dozens of holiday trees, luminous outdoor displays, and magical treehouses are on display. More detail
Winter in Franklin Square
Now until February 26, 2023
Visit Franklin Square for free nightly light shows inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s legendary kite and key experiment. More details
Dilworth Park (multiple attractions)
Now – March 26, 2023 (dates vary by attraction)
Head to Center City’s Dilworth Park to see seasonal attractions that have popped up for the holidays and beyond. Like ice skating? Then glide on over to Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink. Even if you prefer not to skate yourself, it’s always fun watching others zipping around. Relax with a hot cocoa at the Rothman Orthopaedics Cabin. And take a stroll through the seasonal plant arrangements and holiday topiary in the Wintergarden. On one side of City Hall, through Jan. 1 you can see a free Deck the Hall light show.
Something new this season is “Play the Lights,” an interactive instrument that works like a normal keyboard, only with technicolor visual effects that are projected onto the façade of City Hall when you play each note. While local professional pianists and organists will be around to showcase what’s possible with synchronized holiday music, you may also get a chance to try your hand at this. Every Tuesday and Wednesday night from 8:45 pm to 9:30 pm, visitors of all ages are welcome to try “playing the lights.”
Look for gifts like handcrafted trinkets, jewelry, and yummies like French toast bites and pretzels at the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market through Dec. 24. Elevators between the transit concourse and surface streets make Dilworth Park wheelchair-accessible.
During Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month (and every month), we can all work to raise awareness and promote inclusion for individuals with developmental disabilities. Get involved!
Educate yourself and others: Learn about developmental disabilities and share information: attend workshops, read books or articles, or watch videos about developmental disabilities.
Volunteer: You can volunteer at local organizations that support individuals with developmental disabilities by spending time with individuals, helping with events, or supporting administrative tasks.
Donate: Consider donating to a charity or organization that supports individuals with developmental disabilities. It will help provide resources, services, and support to those in need.
Advocate: Speak up for individuals with developmental disabilities by advocating for their rights and needs: write to lawmakers, attend rallies, or participate in social media campaigns.
Host an event: Host an event in your community to raise awareness about developmental disabilities: a fundraiser, a community event, or a social media campaign.
Share stories: Share stories of individuals with developmental disabilities in your life or community to help change perceptions and increase understanding about developmental disabilities.
Participate in social media campaigns: Join social media campaigns to raise awareness about developmental disabilities. Use hashtags and share information about developmental disabilities on your social media channels.
Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month is about recognizing the value and potential of all individuals, regardless of their abilities. Together, we can promote awareness, understanding, and inclusion to create a more compassionate and equitable society for everyone.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month each October to commemorate the many contributions of people with disabilities to America’s workplaces and economy. The theme for NDEAM 2022, “Disability: Part of the Equity Equation,” recognizes the important role people with disabilities play in a diverse and inclusive American workforce.
Held annually, National Disability Employment Awareness Month is led by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, but its true spirit lies in the many observances held at the grassroots level across the nation every year. Employers of all sizes and in all industries are encouraged to participate in NDEAM.
For specific ideas about how you can support National Disability Employment Awareness Month, visit www.dol.gov/NDEAM. Suggestions range from simple, such as putting up a poster, to comprehensive, such as implementing a disability education program. Regardless, all play an important part in fostering a more equitable and inclusive workforce, one where all people are recognized for their abilities — every day of every month.