Meet The Moms

Iris & Alma

Iris Mehler, MS, CRC

Iris Mehler has 25 years of professional experience, and 15 years of personal experience as a parent and advocate, smashing barriers and promoting equality. In her previous life, she completed a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and a post-graduate certification in Assistive Technologies (which became very useful once her daughter was born and their home suddenly turned into a durable medical equipment storage unit…).

Iris also holds bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Developmental Education in which she focused on alternative methods of learning, while teaching in child development centers in Tel Aviv, Israel and San Diego, CA. She is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), and is currently managing a team of 15 (professionals and paraprofessionals) in her daughter’s home-based, interdisciplinary rehab team.

Iris has worked extensively with people with disabilities and their families through individual counseling and leading support groups.

After her daughter was born with quadriplegic cerebral palsy, she focused all her attention on creating a prototype for a play-based unschooling environment for her children. As a homeschooling family, Iris was able to take her children on global travels and explore other cultures with them.

Iris has been involved in numerous efforts to bring attention to issues surrounding family life with disabilities. As part of that, her family was featured in a documentary film, Diaries of an Unconventional Journey.

One of her achievements is the method she developed with her daughter for communicating with non-verbal children with significant motor challenges called Kereni’s Method. This method takes the burden of communication away from the child and transfers it to the caregivers.

In addition to supporting families with communication challenges, Iris provides individual support to families in crisis after a new diagnosis, ongoing support in group settings and individuals for families of children (of all ages) with disabilities. Iris provides consulting for businesses and organizations on creating barrier-free and inclusive environments and leads advocacy and activism efforts on a local and international level.

In 2024 Iris Co-Founded 1in6 Support with her long time 1in6 Consulting partner Alma Schneider. 1in6 Support is a registered non-profit providing advocacy, support and consulting for families of children with disabilities, communities, and organizations.

Alma Schneider, LCSW

Alma Schneider is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has nearly three decades of practice under her belt. She is a mother of four children, one of whom has Prader-Willi Syndrome, Autism, ADHD and unbeatable charm and good looks.

Alma never planned or wanted to be a poster mom for families of children with disabilities but here she is! She finds sharing her life and work experience to be the most rewarding and valuable service she can provide to others in this lifetime. Her disability community has shown her the incredible beauty, resilience and kindness that exists, alongside the loss and challenges of living a life that was not expected. She would like to bring awareness, support and practical help to others about how to make their lives as rich and meaningful as they can be.

In 2010, Alma created the Montclair Friday Group, a free support and social policy group assisting hundreds of NJ parents to navigate schools, family life and society while raising children with disabilities. The group currently assists over 500 families.

In 2015, Alma began teaching a cooking and social skills class to adults with disabilities that continues to create delicious dishes and magical connections.

In 2021, Alma was asked to be on the People with Disabilities Advisory Committee to the town council of Montclair, NJ to assist in making the town more inclusive and accessible.

In 2023, Alma and the Food Network “Chopped” winner, Meny Vaknin, began a cooking support group for fathers of children with disabilities.

In 2024 Alma Co-Founded 1in6 Support with her long time 1in6 Consulting partner Ilah Mehler. 1in6 Support is a registered non-profit providing advocacy, support and consulting for families of children with disabilities, communities, and organizations.

Some other Alma Trivia:

Alma is a native New Yorker but left town to attend the University of Wi-Madison where she was a psychology Major. She returned to NY after living in Spain and Japan to receive her masters in Social Work at Hunter College School of Social Work. She is fluent in Spanish and can call a cab in Japanese.

Alma loves music which soothes her inner savage beast. She attended LaGuardia High School for Music and the Arts in NYC for voice and she also plays guitar but pretty badly.

In 2005, Alma founded Parents Who Rock, LLC, a non profit association of musicians who perform concerts to raise funds for local charities.

Alma is also passionate about food and cooking. In 2008, Alma started Take Back the Kitchen, LLC, a consulting company helping families identify and overcome their psychological and practical obstacles to cooking.

Alma has worked at Planned Parenthood in WI, taught English in Japan, worked at the World’s Fair in Seville, Spain, worked on a psychiatric unit in Harlem, a Settlement House in Hell’s Kitchen, and Mercy Corps in NYC providing trauma work after 9/11.

She is a yard sale addict and cannot pass up a bargain. Ever.

She danced on stage with Baryshnikov at Lincoln Center when she was in the 4th grade.

She calls out anyone, including strangers, who uses the “R” word.

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We invite you to join Alma and Iris, two moms who have nothing in common except that they are always right and have everything under control. NOT!

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