Caring for the whole family:
Then. Now. Always.
Disability Support Services (DSS) cares for clients in full. This means our focus is on the individual, the family, their social life and how they interact with the world around them.
JFCS is Portland’s only Jewish social-services agency providing support and resources for the disabled community. It has adapted with the times, beginning in 1998.
THEN, Corinne Spiegel launched what today has become DSS, in large part to combat isolation, invite inclusion and ensure disabled Jewish children have their place within the Jewish community. “To make the family whole,” explained Corinne, who for 18 years and with a master’s in special education to back up her energy and expertise, worked for DSS and is a steadfast agency volunteer today. Corinne is the mother of four children including Nathan, 39, who is developmentally disabled. When Nathan was Hebrew school age, some of Corinne’s vast advocacy work for JFCS included collaborating with teachers – and his peers by extension – to train them in classroom and learning accessibility and inclusion. She did this for Nathan’s sake, yes, but also for the Spiegel family.
Fast forward to NOW: Today, Shayna Sigman, DSS manager, and Janet Menashe, senior disability case manager, carry the mantle. Shayna, for example, trains Jewish educators – both adults and teens – in concepts like universal design and accessibility best practices; runs creative Zoom-based socialization opportunities for clients like arts and crafts; and spearheads learning opportunities, such as webinars highlighting disabilities advocates.
While DSS will morph as client needs dictate, one constant remains: DSS ALWAYS will be there for the whole client and that means families, too. Jason Metzger recently sat with his adult daughter, Andrea, so they could draw together during an arts-and-crafts Zoom for clients and family members. He joked that his illustration skills were poor, but no matter: Jason enjoyed social time with his disabled daughter and others who’d logged in.
DSS, Jason said, “is like an extended family.”
Access for all abilities
Our Disability Support Services include:
- Case management
to connect with resources and navigate government programs.
- Tikvah social group
to reduce isolation
- Support group for parents of people
- Accessibility trainings for educators and professionals in other organizations