Page 1


Summer 2020

The New Face of

Special Needs

Back to School with New Basics See Page 10

Making Remote Learning Work See Page 18

Great Day for a Hike See Page 26

A Supplement of



Watch Him Blossom HCS NY.O R G 7 1 8 . 8 5 4. 27 47












8 45 . 426 . 219 9



MAGAZINE PUBLISHER Moshe Klass moshe@buildingblocksmagazine.com SENIOR EDITOR Yaakov Kornreich yaakovk@aol.com CONTENT EDITOR Tzivy Reiter Tzivy_Reiter@ohelfamily.org EDITOR Toby Vogel editorialcoordinatorbb@gmail.com FEATURES EDITOR Chaya Ilene Klass ilene@buildingblocksmagazine.com FEATURE WRITERS Annie Lederfeind, Yitty Rimmer, Chana Rochel Rubinstein, Juby Shapiro, Golda Turner and Judith Weisz ADVISORY BOARD Ruchoma Bondy, Brocha Holczer, Rabbi Yaakov Klass, Tzivy Reiter, Yitty Rimmer, Breindy Rosenblatt, Juby Shapiro, Toby Teichman and Golda Turner PRODUCT REVIEW COORDINATOR Leah Postelnik leah@buildingblocksmagazine.com REVIEW EDITORS Chaya Ilene Klass ilene@buildingblocksmagazine.com Breindy Rosenblatt brosenblatt@auditoryoral.org Yitty Rimmer sar3018@yahoo.com BOOK REVIEW EDITOR Tzivya Steinhardt ADVERTISING David Hoppenwasser David@buildingblocksmagazine.com Heshy Korenblit Heshy@jewishpress.com Arthur Klass ArthurKlass@jewishpress.com Leah Postelnik Leah@buildingblocksmagazine.com PRODUCT ADVERTISING Leah Postelnik Leah@buildingblocksmagazine.com RECRUITMENT ADVERTISING David Hoppenwasser david@buildingblocksmagazine.com DESIGN BY Lani White Lani@icatchgraphix.com



Summer 2020

The New Face of

Special Needs

Back to School with New Basics See Page 10

Making Remote Learning Work See Page 18

Great Day for a Hike

A Supplement of

About The Cover: The front page illustration commissioned for the cover story was created by Ari Binus. You can view his work at www.aribinus.com.

See Page 26

E-mail us at: list@buildingblocksmagazine.com to join our mailing list. Stock Photos from 123rf.com & dreamstime.com Building Blocks Magazine is published in collaboration with the Jewish Press. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form without prior written permission from the publisher is prohibited. The publisher reserves the right to edit all articles for clarity, space and relevance. Building Blocks Magazine assumes no responsibility for the content of advertisements. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Building Blocks Magazine or the Jewish Press. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the express written permission from the publisher. The rights of the publisher will be strictly enforced. Building Blocks Magazine is a US Registered Trademark.

For questions and comments or to order extra copies contact us at: buildingblocks@jewishpress.com or 718.330.1100 x352.

Look What’s





Su mm

er 2020


26 28 35

Places To Go: It’s a Great Day for a Hike

Golda Turner

Back-to-School with New Basics

Annie Lederfeind,



Direct Service Providers Step-Up to the Covid Crisis


Making Remote Learning Work

Yaakov Kornreich

Yaakov Kornreich Move to Improve the Mood: Strategies for People with Autism

Kaila Weingarten, MSED


The School Re-Opening Challenge for Special Education

Yaakov Kornreich

Rabbi Yaakov Klass




Covid19 & Our Most Precious Population

8 10

I ss

The Comic Craze: How Comics Can Help Children to Develop Social Understanding Judith Weisz

Family Forum



Medication Management like a Boss. 7 Tips for Keeping Organized

Karen Furman

37 38 42 46

Calendar of Events BB Products Showcase BB Marketplace Recruitment

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Summer 2020

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Covid19 & Our Most Precious Population


any of us both adults and children of all ages have been bemoaning our lot in the course of this seemingly unending pandemic. Many have quarantined for the better part of four months. It has presented difficulties in dealing with the everyday chores, such as food shopping creating feelings of food insecurity for many especially the senior citizens and those with compromised health conditions. Young children have found being isolated at home unbearable and have presented their parents with what be the most enormous challenges as parents they never expected they would ever be faced with. All segments of the business world have been upended leaving the economy in shambles. In a vicious cycle many sectors of the economy have seen their workforce pared significantly. Basically, every segment of society has felt the brunt of this vicious virus. It has brought about the greatest ever challenge to our healthcare industry, with our physicians, nurses and all healthcare workers taxed in many cases to a humanly unbearable burden. While all others had the ability to social distance they did not have that good fortune. The heroism of those so tasked has not only been great but their very acts of courage have carried the day. Yet, we didn’t completely fall apart as utilizing man’s technological ingenuity has delivered from a total abyss. The personal computer and the fact that a good portion of the economy is connected to this modern day marvel, has allowed many to work remotely and thus continue to provide for the multitude of services upon which we all depend, these are services that provide solutions to multitude matters we encounter

in our everyday lives. Yet one of the greatest challenges has related to educating our children, and in general Torah study for all ages, Zoom and other such social platforms have enabled some semblance of normalcy delivering something that resembles in person human interaction. Not to say that this has been total smooth sailing even for the most sophisticated of users but it has helped to fill the void. Yet if there are any, whom we can refer to as being the really hardest hit it is our most fragile populations, those with special needs and diminished skills. It is precisely this segment of the population whose need is so pressing that only through extra effort that at times has proven herculean has there been so e satisfaction of this dire need. Even individuals with limited capacity can benefit from computer technology, especially if it conveys repetitive skills that can prove easy to comprehend, thus leading to their personal satisfaction and possibly even performing a function that has some sort of value in the real world. Truly, if any have the right to bemoan their fate in these difficult days it is this population, who very often lack the means of expressing their discontent. It is precisely with this in mind that we present this issue of Building Blocks, where you will find ,,,, etc… We want to wish everyone a healthful and meaningful summer, a period of respite as we re-energize ourselves for what lay in store for the year ahead. Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com

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Summer 2020

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4 years old Diagnosis: Trisomy 18 We celebrated Mimi's 4th birthday begining of July! No coincidence that the theme this year was "FOUR"ever loved! It's been four years of loving Mimi under the circumstances we face! Dreams were shattered, milestones were never met, hearts were torn apart.... Yet there is life! Mimi wasn't even given the chance to make it past birth and here we are celebrating her forth birthday, when we were so close to losing her way too many times to count! Mimi is slow at reaching her milestones but she is so fast at capturing the hearts of those who know her! Mimi lives in a children's home in Ossining New York called Sunshine Children's home. The care Mimi gets there is unbelievable! We visit weekly, are in touch with all of Mimi's caretakers, and we advocate for her like any parent would for their child! We may not take care of Mimi's daily cares, but we don't stop caring for her! Latest addition to Mimi's accessory list besides trach, gtube, catheterization..... She got BAHA hearing aides, which is a hearing aid on a headband (which you see in the pics)to which she is responding nicely! Mimi enjoys school and extra curricular activities which are offered to her! Mimi is currently being weaned off the vent. She can do almost 2 hours now and our goal is for her to be vent free during the day! 8

Summer 2020

YOU NEED A DOCTOR’S PRESCRIPTION TO PLAY THIS GAME FDA Approves First-Ever Treatment Video Game for Kids with ADHD. EndeavorRx offers a non-drug option for improving symptoms associated with ADHD in children and is an important example of the growing field of digital therapy and digital therapeutics. EndeavorRx is a first-of-its-kind attention treatment for children with ADHD, delivered through a captivating video game experience. Endeavor was designed to help strengthen attention in kids between the ages of 8-12 years old. It operates like any other video game, where kids must navigate their character through different worlds and unlock new items and challenges. It’s designed to be played in 30-minute intervals  daily in one-month cycles as part of a larger support protocol designed by the parent company Akili. Five clinical trials suggested the game helped increase attention with few risks. The EndeavorRx treatment is not a substitute for your child’s ADHD medication.

TEEN MODEL WITH DOWN SYNDROME GETS WORLD’S ATTENTION AS ONE OF NEW FACES FOR GUCCI BEAUTY Ellie Goldstein, an 18-year-old model, from London, was born with Down syndrome, and has never let her condition get in the way of her dreams. “It feels so amazing and fabulous” She says. On some of the challenges she’s faced, Goldstein said: “I haven’t had any bad experiences having Down syndrome. I think it’s because of my personality. The only challenge I have faced was maybe people signing to me and talking to my mum instead of me, until realizing that I can communicate and that I am just like them, maybe just slower at learning some things.” (Daily Scoop) More Block Bits on Page 14

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nother school year is starting. But it’s not another school year. It’s the school year after COVID. It’s the school year after

months of distant learning, Zoom, phone, google meet. Its the school year after LOCKDOWN. Quarantine. Some families had losses. Some households now have financial difficulties. Some children experienced the trauma of seeing a trusted adult become ill and incapacitated, even for a short time. And some families, thank G-d were spared difficulties and the children enjoyed their freedom to some extent. And now, it’s time to go “back” to school. Schools are having meetings and orientations to educate and train teachers in acclimating to school and helping the children re-acclimatize. How to handle behavioral issues, making sure that there are enough adults around that a child can talk to. Supervisors offering help and guidance. Many parents are wondering how they can help facilitate their child’s transition to school in the smoothest way possible. Based on interviews with educators in elementary, middle schools and high schools, is the compilation of some basic advice.

BE A PARTNER The most important thing stressed by all. Partner with the school. Contact the Principal, guidance counselor or whatever administrative person of your choice and let them know if something has changed. The economics of the home, a loss 10

Summer 2020

Back-to-School with New Basics of a close one, or behavioral changes such as hyperactivity or anger. The person contacted will share the pertinent information with those necessary. This is extremely important information for teachers who may be planning a “What happened during COVID?” type of back to school activity. Based on experiences of students in the class, the teacher may tailor the assignment.

BE POSITIVE Perhaps the most spot on advice came from a middle school Rebbe/ educator. The parent should focus on getting kids into a positive emotional state. Keep a happy state of mind. Don’t talk about the “second wave” or worry about how schools will social distance, the use of masks and other issues in front of your children. They are going back to the school of your choice. Trust the administration and trust their decision making. Once school starts, speak with your child about normal school things, recess, lessons, homework. Stay away from questioning your child about the desk set up, who wore a mask etc. If your child wants to talk, listen, of course, but don’t get overly involved or make an issue. If you hear something concerning, talk to the school administration. It is important to stay positive about the school and the rebbeim/teachers at all times, especially now when school is a place that you want your child to feel physically safe from sickness and depend on the administration’s decisions.

TRANSITIONS TAKE TIME For the younger children, expect emotional regression. A child who had school anxiety upon entering pre1A or first grade, may experience it again entering second grade. A shy child may be more reluctant to face a class again after being in somewhat of a cocoon at home. Even though the child knows that he is going into a new grade, some may still expect to return to their old classroom or see their old teacher. They may expect to pick up where they left off. Communicate to the teacher, principal guidance counselor etc. if your child has had previous difficulty beginning school or making friends. The blessing is that there is a summer buffer between the lockdown and school starting. Many children went to day camp and at least started playing with other children outside.

“ It is important to stay

positive about the school and teachers at all times� Due to the necessity to create smaller cohorts in the classes, students in co-ed schools may be divided b y gender so they will have more of a chance to be with their friends. Friendships and comfort zones are being researched by these educators. The school administration recognizes that the students will have to readjust. Initially, there will be longer recesses or more frequent breaks during the day. A school social worker shared that many children did exceedingly well in the less


structured setting. Share this with the administration and the new teacher. Explain that being allowed some physical latitude, fidgets etc has actually helped your child learn better and would be helpful in the classroom. In some schools, teachers have become aware of different types of learning through the remote experience, and may give the children some leeway. Another change in learning style was mentioned by a high school principal. During distance learning the students took on more re-

sponsibility for their own learning. Many schools will build on this and develop an approach to encourage students to be more progressive as learners and as adults. Teachers will be supported with professional development to guide students.

BE PATIENT A principal pointed out another point. Be patient with the teachers. Since many children were not able to finish the previous year’s curriculum, some teachers will have to start the year teaching materials

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Summer 2020



that they never taught before. A seasoned 6th grade teacher has to readjust her curriculum and syllabus to teach the end of fifth grade math. If the third grade class did not learn Kriyas Rashi, a seasoned fourth grade teacher may find herself teaching reading Rashi for the first time! One major Bais Yaakov school had teachers fill out in their end of the year report what subjects they were NOT able to cover. Then there is a decision making process to decide if this information is necessary for the students to continue the subject matter. For example: Ancient history is not necessary to begin US History. But US History 1 is necessary in order to continue with US History 2.

DO YOUR SHARE Everybody has to catch up, and the whole class has missed out on segments of the curriculum. Each school will handle it in the way that best fits their philosophy of education and their student body. While you should not pressure your child to catch up, there are ways that a parent can help the child segue back into school. First of all, keep your child reading, or read to your child. Try not to let reading suffer during this time. Have fun with your preschooler with phonetic games and silly words and rhymes. If possible, have your older children read to expand general knowledge of a subject matter (e.g. Magic Tree House books for History/Social studies subjects). 12

Summer 2020

Parents can model think out loud for real life math problems (Which ream of paper is the cheapest? If I buy 5 packs on sale how much would it cost? How much money will I be saving? How much change will I get?) Don’t expect answers, but your child should hear you figuring this out, and may even pipe up with an answer or two! If your child is mandated for related services, (Speech, SETTS, Counseling, OT etc) make sure that all the paperwork and approvals are in place. Even if you are not sure you want the services, accept them this year. You can always discontinue further down the line. Contact the Special Education Co-coordinator at your school. School administrators realize that there is a great concern about physical safety and illness. The schools are doing what they can to follow the guidelines set by the CDC and other agencies. Even if they seem ridiculous, it is essential to foster an attitude of cooperation. The only reason the administrates interviewed would recommend a child be kept home and continue distance learning if there is a medical need on the part of the child or a home occupant. Otherwise the best place for the child is in school.

Parents Can—  Pre-empt. Don’t wait until the day before school starts, or write a note to the teacher on the first day of school. Contact the school ASAP if there is an issue that needs to be communicated. Principals and administrators are working now. Contact them.  If masks are required in school, make sure that your child’s mask is comfortable and attractive. You can browse online and let your child pick out a few. Make sure to do this well before the first day of school.

 Prepare your younger child for school by telling him stories about a child returning to school that reflects your child’s worries (will the teacher look scary with a mask) and how the child manages through the day. See online resources listed at the end of this article. Read other back to school books.  Have toys available that will encourage your child to play act returning to school, either by using dolls/little people toys as manipulatives or actual role acting play.  It is always important to have a smooth running morning, but this year with so many new variables, it is super important to make sure that everything is prepared and ready for your child’s first days of school.  Make a “Best thing in School” jar. When children come home from school or at dinner have your kids say the best thing that happened in school that day and then put a marble or other small item in the jar. When the jar is full have some kind of family reward time activity.  Provide some kind of closure for your child with last year’s teachers. You can buy a small gift, or home made card and bring it over to the teacher. Depending on the age of the child or the school set up, your child could bring it into Back to School Continues from Page 14

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NYCEIP is a public program for children (0-3 yrs) with diagnosed conditions that lead to developmental delays, or children without diagnosis whose delays are serious enough to be eligible for EI. To refer a child to the NYC EIP, call 31 1. Eligible children receive services based on a multi-disciplinary evaluation by NYS approved evaluators and via an IFSP developed with input from parents, NYC EI staff and other team members. The municipality chooses and arranges for providers to deliver authorized services at no cost to the family although health insurance may be accessed for some reimbursement. EI may be provided at home, day care etc. EI only covers EI services; not day care or other fees. Jumpstart EIP is approved by NYS DOH and has an agreement with NYS to provide EIP services.

Resources: Torah U’Mesorah: Project Hemshech for Chizuk TU Chinuch Voice for parents https://www.nasponline.org/supporting-childrens-mental-health-tips-for-parents-and-educators


Back to School Continued from Page 12

Helping Students Through a Period of Grief, Becki Cohn-Vargas, Carlee Adamson. May 13, 2020 https://www.elsa-support.co.uk/ back-to-school-after-coronavirus-story/ ChaiLifeline: https://nefesh.org/MindBodyandSoul/resources-on-coronavirus.html https://www.amazon.com/transparent-masks

school, or you can arrange to meet the teacher in front of the school building. It will give your child a sense of closure to say Thank you and a physical goodbye to the teacher and your child will feel good for being a “giver”.

Block Bits Continues from Page 8 Common questions parents ask therapists AND A THERAPIST'S RESPONSE

Graphics and Content by Michael P. Sy, PhD


When will my child become "normal"? Using the term "normal" is unfair to use especially to children with special needs. They are created uniquely, with gifts, and develop at their own pace just like you and me. We need to be realistic and focus on how the child can become functional at home, school, and in the community, rather than become "normal".

Can you also do the homework of my child after therapy? Therapists (OT, PT, and SLP) provide children with special needs learning opportunities so they can enjoy daily living through moving, doing, and communicating. Although they are called "teachers", they are not academic tutors. Therapists in the contrary hone the "soft skills" needed to encourage your child not just to be a student, but a life learner.

Can we just do therapy daily to hasten my child's development? Undergoing therapy has no definitive time limit. Each session is an assessment of your child's growth. Developmental delay is a condition and is not like a fever (illness) or a disease that you can cure through medicine or surgery. However, a key to ensuring your child's fullest potential is your constant compliance with therapy, regular and realistic goal-setting, and seeing your child through his/er heart not the diagnosis. Disclaimer: The questions and responses are based on my clinical experience. This infographic does not represent any of my affiliations. Cheers!



Summer 2020

 At all times remain positive about the school policies, the teachers and the administration. Each school has to make their own policies based on building size, school population, location, scheduling, individual restrictions etc. Help your child feel secure in his/ her school.  Let this be a learning and growth experience for your teen. There will be some new things to

navigate, let your teen figure it out and grow. Parents do not have to smooth it all out. Of course, if you see your child is having extreme difficulty, contact the school. Talk to and listen to your teen. But don’t jump in to solve all the problems. Annie Lederfeind, TDHHMS,SPED,TSHH AVED is a certified special education teacher and a teacher of the deaf. She is also certified as an Auditory Verbal Educator by the Alexander Graham Bell Academy. 

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Yaakov Kornriech

Direct Service Providers Step-Up to the Covid Crisis


he world of direct service providers (DSP) has been turned upside down by the impact of the Covid-19 virus and by the new realities it has imposed on all schools, services and residences for individuals with Special Needs. Community-based service organizations, such as Ohel, were forced to improvise, adopting new, untried technologies and asking their direct service providers to risk their own health and stretch their professional skills for the sake of the welfare of the individuals under their care. Lisa Sheinhouse, Ohel’s Director of Community Services, was faced with the challenge of re-inventing virtually overnight the various programs under her supervision when the Covid virus outbreak suddenly emerged in March. Ohel DSPs responded by stepping up to take on the added burdens of operating residential facilities and providing new alternatives to the normal services and daily activities under the Covid-19 lockdown.

HEROES OF THE WEEK There were some members of the Ohel staff who distinguished themselves by their dedication, creativity and self-sacrifice above and beyond all the others. These individuals have been granted special recognition from Ohel as “Heroes of the Week.”

GOEL GOLIAN One is Goel Golian, a DSP worker at the 41st Street Ohel residence in Boro Park for people recovering from psychological illness. The 16

Summer 2020

Covid crisis hit the residence particularly hard during the days leading up to Pesach. Some of its residents and staff members became ill, creating enormous additional challenges at a time when the work load had increased exponentially, both because of the virus and the need to prepare the residence for the Yom Tov. Because of the isolation imposed by the lockdown, the level of anxiety among the residents had increased, while the new people added to make-up for the staff shortages had to be trained and

while ensuring the men were safe and had a wonderful holiday.”


Another Ohel “Hero of the Week” is Heather Kanner, who works for Ohel’s Long Island Day Hab program and at Ohel’s Hewlett Bais Ezra residence. Heather continued to work at the residence when several people were diagnosed with Covid, and maintained a fulfilling day hab schedule providing structure, recreation and routine for residents during a scary time. It included sports, water fun, Challah baking, arts and crafts, Jewish learning and science education. She shared them with everyone at Ohel by creating videos of these activities accessible through YouTube. Heather created video tutorials with step-by-step instructions designed to introduce individuals with intellectual disabilities to the proper procedures for general hygiene, hand-washing and the wearing PPE to help protect them GOEL GOLIAN from Covid infection. Those videos have served as a valuable resource brought up to speed. Goel stepped for the entire Ohel community. in to work extra shifts and go YAAKOV MEIRI beyond the call of duty to prepare Yaakov Meiri is Ohel’s figurative the residence for Pesach and did “superhero” who somehow everything within his power to manages to assure the supply of meet the needs of the residents. everything needed to support Ohel’s citation honoring Goel Ohel’s mission of chessed and said, “He did this with kindness, caring. Yaakov established his consideration and humor that reputation at Ohel long ago as the his colleagues respect him for. one person who always was able He trained three new counselors, to get it all done, whether it was whose first shift was Passover, all Covid Crisis Continues on Page 36



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vercoming the learning curve and other barriers to effective therapy in the use of remote learning technologies during the Covid-19 crisis has been a challenge even to the most experienced therapists and other Special Needs professionals.. When the crisis began, both the New York City Department of Education and community organizations had to scramble to equip the households of the children and adults they serve with broadband internet services and the devices needed for them to participate in remote therapy and learning sessions. There was also the issue of persuading households which did not already have the technology to accept it and learn how to use it. Therapists providing services to children in mainstream public school classrooms complained that they were thrown into remote learning with practically no planning, training or technical support. One Brooklyn-based occupational therapist, whom we will call “Sara,” said that in her experience, the success of the transition was very much dependent on the child’s individual circumstances. The children who did best generally had relatively mild disabilities and came from middle-income households which already had internet access and the devices needed for remote learning.

with internet devices are an exception to that rule. Sara said that many of them would prefer use the devices for play rather than pay attention to the remote learning lessons. Sara believes that the cooperation and participation of parents is crucial to a positive outcome. When parents are motivated to get involved in supervising the remote learning sessions, the children get much more out of them than if their parents are busy doing other things while their children are left to learn remotely, mostly on their own. Sara also made an effort to keep in touch with parents who turned down the offer of remote learning for their children this past spring by sending them activity sheets and making weekly phone calls to encourage them to get involved and not allow their children to fall further behind due to neglect. The children she works with remotely also need access in their home environment to basic educational supplies, such as paper, coloring books, scissors and crayons, in order to get the full educational benefit of their remote sessions. She said that some the children she worked with remotely this spring did so well that they continued to participate in the video sessions even while they and their KEYS TO SUCCESS families were away on vacation. OR FAILURE When other parents in the same High-functioning autistic chil- class who had initially declined dren who are already proficient the remote learning option heard 18

Summer 2020

about these success stories, some changed their minds and signed up for the video sessions shortly before the school year ended. Sara became seriously ill due to Covid during the lockdown and is still suffering from the long-term effects of the virus. She says that when she does go back to doing hands-on therapy in school classrooms, she will insist that each of

her students be given a personal educational toolbox, with their own crayons, coloring books, scissors, etc. that do not need to be shared with the other children, even if she has to pay for the extra supplies herself. “Rachel” works for the NYC public school system as an occupational therapist in a lower income school district in Queens. She agrees with Sara that the outcome from remote learning is very dependent on each child’s family situation and home environment. She reports having encountered a language barrier in trying to work remotely in cooperation with parents from Remote Learning Continues on Page 36

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Spotlight on

Kaila Weingarten, MSED

Move to Improve the Mood: Strategies for People with Autism


hildren are programmed to move starting in utero. After birth, rocking and hugging infants is soothing. The benefits of movement are obvious. In my years working with children as a shadow, service coordinator and therapist, I have seen miracles and transformation when children receive excellent occupational therapy. Alexa Moses, MS, OTR/L, an occupational therapist at Shema Kolainu – Hear Our Voices (SKHOV) presents workshops sharing her insights on how movement helps with emotional regulation. Interestingly enough, becoming an OT was not on Alexa’s agenda, not even in college. When researching career options, she tutored kids in an oncology unit, and watched them receiving OT. Fascinated, she observed further sessions in a nearby clinic and was hooked. To her, occupational therapy is “about what I can do to help students have a more enriching and independent life.” Alexa works with each student as an individual, and tries to figure out what motivates them and how to help them regulate emotions. “A neuro typical person, she explains may go for a run or to the gym if they’re having a hard day.” She helps students tailor the energy and emotions into something productive. What does this look like in real life? It looks different for every child, she admits. But she tells me stories. One boy threw chairs when he was angry. She helped him redirect, by naming the emotion, and having 20

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him punch a punching bag. After pummeling it, he, said “Now I feel okay.” His aggressive behaviors mellowed once he had a positive outlet. Alexa cautions that before starting with the movement strategies. Students first need to learn what an emotion is. How does a specific emotion look and feel like? Then the therapist, parent or teacher can break it down further to talk about facial expressions, tone of voice and body language. A team approach is helpful. Some people with autism are great at figuring out body language since it doesn’t require eye contact. She tells me about a surprising tool that she includes in her repertoire: Snapchat. It’s a modern tool, and the incentive is built right in. Students enjoy the autonomy of choosing the filters, and it’s great for teaching body language. For some students with ASD, sign language is a helpful visual tool that assists them in

learning more about emotions. Students learn that is okay to have feelings, yet we need to channel them in a safe way. What are the movement coping strategies to help manage emotions? One method she recommends is progressive muscle relaxation, which is exactly what it sounds like-slowly relaxing the muscles. The theory behind it is that difficult emotion often lead to tense muscle. Think of how you feel when you’re angry: you may clench your fist and grind your teeth. Progressive muscle relaxation helps stop the tense muscles and helps a person relax. Progressive muscle relaxation is often explained to kids by comparing a raw and cooked spaghetti. Tense muscles are like a raw, rigid piece of pasta. Loose muscles are like wiggly pieces of pasta. A relaxation script is used to help the child relax. But it obviously needs to be broken down into bite size

practices. Practicing in calm situations before the difficult emotion occurs, so this tool is ready when needed. Imagery, audio and videos can be very helpful to break it down even more. YouTube video demonstrations: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=cDKyRpW-Yuc (cartoon demo) https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=aaTDNYjk-Gw (pictures and audio) For a class of older boys, she discussed being happy with who you are. Each student has different goals. Some can do a jumping jack with support, while another can have a goal of doing 6 jumping jacks. But before starting on the goal, they each screamed positive mantras like, “I’m awesome.” They

high fived and clapped for each other, no matter what the person’s ability and goal was. During corona, she was working with parents on incorporating these movements at home. When she discussed with a mother of a child with ASD the importance of having her child practice on a pullup bar, the mom thoughtfully responded that she’d practice at the park along with her child. Imagine the joy of mom and child, doing the same activity side-by-side. I ask Alexa what the secret sauce is. Are there any special movements to help control emotions? She says not. She works with basic functional movements to channel the emotions, and upgrades or downgrades as needed. Some students may have one-to-one support while in therapy. Others can do wall pushups and pull ups on the bar on their

own. And she keeps in mind what motivates and energizes each student. “Each person with ASD is so unique,” she says. Alexa notes that an estimated 80% of people with autism have a movement problem, ranging from something small such as clumsiness, to difficulty with curbs. Although it is not a key feature of diagnosis, it is a common issue. In general, she has a desire to make physical movement fun, and not a chore so students will hopefully enjoy and do more of it. This also decreases the chance of obesity. After all, don’t we want to support people with autism so that they are happier and healthier? Through the right moves, both these goals are met! Kaila Weingarten, MSED is an educator and writer who can be reached at kailaed1@gmail.com.


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Judith Weisz

The Comic Craze: How comics can help children to develop social understanding


omics have had a dramatic revival in popularity, perhaps much to many parents’ chagrin, with an explosion of the genre in the frum world. The pleasure of seeing your child deeply absorbed in a book may be slightly dampened once you realize that it is a comic book rather than a novel that they are glued to. However, comics are full of fantastic learning opportunities too and form the foundation for a wonderful and creative tool that can help children to develop their understanding of social situations. Comic Strip Conversations are the brainchild of Carol Gray, who in 1991, created a tool, widely used with children with autism, called Social StoriesTM. Social StoriesTM are short descriptions of a particular situation, event or activity, which include specific information about what to expect in that situation and why. Comic Strip Conversations are incredibly simple. They are visual representations of a conversation or interaction, using stick figures. Speech bubbles are drawn to show what people have said, and thought bubbles show what people may have been thinking or feeling. Carol Gray’s original Comic Strip Conversations advocate the use of color to help represent more abstract parts of conversations such a feelings or intentions. Individuals on the autism spectrum, ADHD, or those with a variety of communication and be22

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havioural challenges can benefit from this technique. In fact, any child can enjoy and benefit from it. Parents and teachers can easily be trained to use Comic Strip Conversations. First, start with a piece of paper and pens/pencils, with the child taking a key role in drawing out a conversation that took place. Encourage them to include who was there as well as some contextual markers to show where the conversation happened. This may include a clock to show the time of day, a bed to show it was in the bedroom, or a tree to show it was in the park. The child can then recall and write what was said within the speech bubbles. With support they may be able to add what the people were thinking or feeling into the thought bubbles. Of course, it is important to explain that we cannot know for sure what people are thinking or feeling, but we can imagine what they may have been thinking or feeling. This starts to help a child to consider the impact of what they said, on the other person and vice versa, and to begin to see other people’s perspectives, thoughts and feelings. It is best to first use the technique to draw out successful conversations, or interactions with positive outcomes. This allows a child to evaluate the positive interaction and understand what made it successful. It builds up a child’s familiarity with the activity and comfort with the technique. Further down

the line, Comic Strip Conversations can be used to evaluate a social situation that did not go so well, or a conversation where something hurtful was said. Comic Strip Conversations can be kept in a file or folder or even drawn in a blank book. This way a child can look back over them. Some children love to use a white board instead and others may want to use a computer screen or even an app. There is no right way! A few years ago, I used a Comic Strip Conversation with a 9-yearold girl who had been sent out of class by her teacher for being rude. The girl did not understand why she had been sent out. We drew the situation together, and it became clear that the girl had a made a comment to the teacher that was not respectful. When we began to evaluate what the teacher may have been thinking or feeling when she heard the comment, the girl considered it carefully and with support was able to consider the teacher’s perspective. This was a break-through as it allowed the girl to understand why the comment may have been hurtful to the teacher and why it was not appropriate. We then created a ‘take two’ together, a second Comic Strip Conversation that started the same way but gave the child an opportunity to finish the interaction differently. In this example, the girl decided not to say this comment, but only to think it, transferring her comment to a thought bubble instead.

(see illustration)

to begin to understand that they do not always need to say Mrs. Green Leave the classroom what they right now! are thinking and I’m so embarrassed. to underNow the whole class stand the is staring at me. impact of Mrs. Green! what they Shira You look like say on otha rabbit! I just realized her teeth ers. They look like rabbit teeth! I can gain should tell her! Maybe she doesn’t know! an understanding of others’ intentions and relate Mrs. Green Who wants to to how othcome up to do the ers may be Math Problem? thinking or Shira is joining feeling. in so nicely A 6th today! grade child Can I who was do it? Shira suspendI just realized she has ed from rabbit teeth, I won’t tell school, for her because she might t h r ow i n g get embarrassed... popcorn out of the In this example, only the child window onto a teacher drew a and the teacher were included. Comic Strip Conversation with me Adding other participants such as about the episode. She realized that another child, would create more the other girls had probably asked opportunities to see the situation her to throw the popcorn on the from other perspectives. Pictures teacher, because they themselves can become very full! When this did not want to get into trouble. We happens, it can be helpful to num- then drew out another Comic Strip ber the bubbles so that the sequence Conversation, where she decided remains clear. she would respond differently to Having a pen and paper in front the girls, based on her fresh underof you and the child, allows for a standing. fun, concrete, non-confrontational I would like to share one caveat way of evaluating a social situation. that I learned the hard way: if you It develops social and self-aware- were not present in the situation ness, theory of mind, an awareness itself, you cannot know for cerof skills and why things went right, tain what happened. A few years as well as thinking about how some- ago, I was seeing an 11-year-old thing could be done differently, if rel- boy at school. He was struggling evant in the future. It allows a child socially and often lied or bragged

to the other boys, which did not ingratiate him with his class. One day, his class teacher told me that they were learning about castles and that this pupil had bragged that he and his family, ‘always go to castles’. Together, we drew out a Comic Strip Conversation to understand the situation more fully, thinking about what was said and the impact this may have had on others. I later discovered that the family of this boy had a yearly membership to the National Trust and would spend their Sundays touring historic buildings. I learned an important lesson that informs my practice to this day. While a child may not always represent a situation fully or accurately, or indeed may see it from their own perspective, it is important to have knowledge of a situation before attempting to ‘evaluate’ it together with a child. While parents and therapists have different roles in supporting a child’s development of social understanding, Comic Strip Conversations can be used informally at homeand become a household tool. They can make ‘social’ autopsy style conversations fun, less confrontational, collaborative, reinforcing of positive behaviours and even leading to the generation of new ideas and solutions for the future. Have fun! Gray, C. (1994). Comic Strip Conversations. Arlington, TX: Future Horizons. https://www.erinoakkids.ca/ ErinoakKids/media/EOK_Documents/Autism_Resources/Comic-Strip-Conversations.pdf Judith Weisz is a Specialist Speech and Language Therapist and Family Therapist living in Yerushalayim and practicing internationally. She can be reached at judithweisz1@gmail.com Summer 2020


Yaakov Kornreich

The School Re-Opening Challenge for Special Education


housands of parents across the country have reported that their children with Special Needs have regressed because they have not been able to adequately replace the specialized therapies that their children had been receiving before schools closed due the Covid virus outbreak in March. Many parents and teachers did their best to compensate. Parents tried to replicate the work of their child’s special ed teachers and therapists at home, while teachers tried to support the parents and make meaningful connections with their students from a distance. For children with Special Needs, the inherent limitations of remote learning often made it impossible to fulfill all of the child’s goals as laid out in their individualized education plan, or IEP. Recognizing this reality, local school officials were generally flexible and permitted parents and teachers to agree on modified learning priorities for each student during the school closure period. But once schools re-open, they will be held legally accountable once again if students don’t meet the learning objectives agreed upon with parents, as specified in the IEP. As their first order of business, teachers and schools officials understand that they will have to provide remedial education and therapy to help each child make up for what they lost while their schools were closed. It won’t be easy. Kaylea Shelton, an 8th grade Special Education teacher for the Johnson City, Tennessee school system said the halt to in-person 24

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learning has been the biggest challenge of her teaching career. “Nothing compared to this,” she said. “Having to completely change how I’m teaching these kids that I work in small groups and one-onone with on a daily basis.” However, Shelton is confident her students can make up the academic progress lost from having to learn from home. Her biggest concern is lost social skill development. “A lot of them didn’t leave home, and social skills are so important,” she said.


education instruction to resume this summer. Two weeks later, the state Department of Education (DOE) issued guidance on how schools for children with Special Needs should operate. On July 6, special education programs across the state began admitting at least some of their students back into their classrooms. At the Institute for Child Development (ICD), in Binghamton, Rachel Cavalari, the Director of Children’s Unit for Treatment and Evaluation, explained how her school is implementing the new guidance from the DOE. “All of our staff are going to be masked at all times when they’re working with the kids. Instructional areas, even when looking around our building, you can see we have areas that are taped off, trying to give the six-foot space so that it gives visual guides for staff.” While in-person instruction resumes, virtual learning will still being maintained as an option for parents. As Cavalari explained, “Families might have a school district who says you can go back and the family might say, ‘we’re comfortable with what we have, we’re not under pressure to return to work, and the virtual format makes us feel a little bit better at this time.’ So we keep telling all of our families it’s okay.”

Some parents worry that the opportunity to progress their child lost due to the school closures will cause a serious delay in their development. Kevin Anthony, whose 4-year-old son Colin attends the New Interdisciplinary School in Yaphank on Long Island said, “When you have a child with Special Needs, the education to continue throughout the year is so important because there is such regression of steps.” Anthony believes his son has fallen so far behind from not receiving his in-person therapy services over the past few months that he will have to continue with special education rather than being mainstreamed this fall into a typical classroom, as had been planned before schools shut down. The re-opening process for MAKE-UP SERVICES Special Needs programs has already started in New York State. A similar process is taking On June 5, Governor Andrew place in school districts across Cuomo issued an executive the country. In Washington State, order allowing in-person special School Re-Opening Continues on Page 45



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Golda Turner Places to Go


have always loved the great outdoors. My greatest pleasure is strolling through the forests with my camera in hand searching for waterfalls, scenic views, and unusual flora and wildlife. Over the years we have done many short hikes with our children, enjoying the peace and solitude of the forest. My children gain an appreciation of nature, and of our place in the scheme of Creation. We love the shades of green interspersed with colorful flowers in the summer, and the bright multihued foliage in the Fall. On our many trips to New Hampshire, we enjoyed hiking the numerous trails off the Kankamagus Highway and Franconia Notch. They are part of the famous Appalachian Trail, which runs 2,144 miles from Maine through Georgia. My personal favorites are The Flume, a 2-mile mountain hike through a narrow 90 foot high gorge with cascading falls, covered bridges, and stunning mountain views (not wheelchair accessible), and the Basin, where the strikingly clear water swirls across the smooth rocks and cascades multiple times down the granite cliffs (partially accessible). As Meir Efraim grew, we needed to restrict our hikes to those that are reasonably wheelchair accessible. Thankfully, over the years, many States have invested in creating wheelchair accessible paths that can be enjoyed by the disabled, seniors, families with baby carriages, and bikers alike. While hiking along forest paths 26

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It’s a Great Day for a Hike with our son in his wheelchair, I am reminded of a true story of people who decided to prove that IT CAN BE DONE! A number of years ago, after the passing of the Americans With Disabilities Act, the State of New Hampshire remodeled the restrooms in a shelter located in the forest on top of a mountain on the Appalachian Trail to make them wheelchair accessible. Understandably, the locals were a bit skeptical about the use of so much taxpayer’s money to build something that would probably never be used. A group of disabled men decided to prove a point by climbing the mountain in order to use the restroom there! Together with their support crew, these four young men in wheelchairs spent three days being pushed, pulled, and carried through the difficult forest trail to the top of the mountain to successfully take advantage of the wheelchair accessible restroom! Today many adaptive sports programs help the disabled enjoy the outdoors. They have special equipment and training to make people’s dream adventures come true. You

can connect to them through local rehab hospitals or through disability organizations. Though hiking with your family is a special treat, there are a few things to bear in mind:  Pack a knapsack with water, food, first aid kit, flashlight, bug repellant, and fully charged cell phones.  Tell someone where you are planning to spend your day, in case you get lost. Cell phones do not always work in the woods.  Check the weather and dress appropriately. Wear proper footwear. Take along sweaters and extra clothes.  Do not veer off the marked trail---you may not find it again!  Check for ticks after the hike. Most hiking areas have color coded trails of varying levels of difficulty. Trail maps are available for download or purchase. A compass helps find your way in the forest. Plan your hike in advance so you will be adequately prepared. And don’t forget your camera to bring the memories back home. Here are a few hikes not far from the NY area that your family may enjoy.

Bear Mountain State Park (Bear Mt, NY) on

the border of Rockland & Orange Counties has numerous trails with stunning views, including one that is wheelchair accessible. The park also has boat rentals, a merry-goround, a museum, a trailside zoo with local animals, and more.

Bushkill Falls (Bushkill, PA) Im- er. The miles of paved trails

merse yourself in nature as you walk on a series of hik- around the park highlight Places ing trails and bridges through the forest to view eight the entire area. While there, to Go you can visit the Liberty Scilovely waterfalls. Not wheelchair accessible. ence Center or take a ferry to Dingman’s Falls (Dingman’s Ferry the Statue of Liberty. Stroll along a wheelchair accessible boardPA) There are a few resources that list trails that are reawalk through the peaceful forest with a rippling creek, sonably easy to navigate. Trail Link (www.traillink. chirping birds, and rhododendron plants to view two com) lists unused rail lines across the USA that have lovely waterfalls. Take the steps up to the top of the been repurposed into pedestrian trails which are falls for a great view. mostly wheelchair and child friendly. All Trails (www. Palisades Interstate Park (Fort alltrails.com) posts reviews from hikers that have Lee, NJ) Most of you have traveled on the Pali- navigated trails all over the USA. They include maps, sades Parkway overlooking the Hudson River. But did directions, and photos posted by actual hikers and you know that those cliffs house a 2500 acre park con- campers. Accessible Nature (www.accessiblenature. taining over 30 miles of hiking trails through a nature info) is a collection of links to places that you can go to sanctuary with spectacular views of New York City enjoy nature with minimal obstacles. They designate and the George Washington Bridge? Not wheelchair trails as either “very easy” or “wheelchair accessible”. The weather is beautiful and we are longing to get accessible. out. Will we see you there?

Harriman State Park (Rockland & Orange Counties NY) This huge park has

31 lakes and reservoirs, 200 miles of well-maintained hiking trails ranging from gentle to strenuous, scenic vistas, and many wildlife species. There are fishing, boating, and camping areas throughout the park. Remember that this is a very large park crisscrossed by many trails. A good trail map and compass are a must! Not wheelchair accessible.

Walkway Over The Hudson (www. walkway.org) is one of the world’s longest pedestrian bridges spanning the Hudson River between Poughkeepsie and Highland NY. Ride the elevator 212 feet up to the bridge and enjoy the panoramic river views as you stroll, jog, or bike 2 miles across to the other side. Explore the nearby towns, parks, and historical attractions. Marsh Discovery Trail (Meadowlands,

NJ) A ½-mile long wheelchair accessible boardwalk through the brackish marsh with excellent views of the city skyline. The trail connects a series of islands along the former Kingsland Creek and is a great spot for bird watching. The tidal impoundment creates a unique habitat for nesting and migrant aquatic animals and birds.

Golda Turner is the director of Beineinu, an organization providing information and support to families and professionals dealing with special needs. Their website, www.Beineinu.org, contains a rapidly growing database of information and resources, as well as a large chizuk library. For more information contact Golda@Beineinu.org.

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Liberty State Park (Jersey City NJ) is an urban park surrounded on three sides by water. It features stunning views of the New York City Skyline, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Hudson Riv-



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Is the DOE trying to ruin our chances of FAPE? By Tired Mommy


n November, ???? my son Yisrael had his 15 minutes of fame when Simcha Felder ???? posted this picture on twitter. Yisrael is the cute kid in the plaid coat standing right next to Simcha Felder, with his teacher Jamillia on the other side of him. This picture made the cover of Felder focus and a zoom in of Yisrael and Simcha Felder was published in Down Syndrome Among Us. But the purpose of this picture is not to show off Yisrael’s cuteness; it’s to protest the struggles that parents of children being denied a free appropriate public education (FAPE) are going through. Yisrael goes to a private school for children with autism. When he first started, the tuition was $93,000, but over the years, the school raised it. Yes, I sue the DOE for reimbursement, and use the money for the next year’s tuition. Last year, when the tuition was $110,000, we still managed to pay it. This year, it was raised to $128,000. We had to take out a loan which we will repay whenever the DOE decides to reimburse us. (We didn’t get reimbursed for last year until after this year’s tuition was due.) People not familiar with the NYC public school system probably think it would be much easier to send Yisrael to public school. Every year, Yisrael is placed in a public school, and every year, I faithfully go down to the school to see if it’s appropriate for Yisrael. Yisrael’s kindergarten placement was for a class in school A which is in my neighborhood. I went down to the school to check it out, hoping that maybe I won’t have to pay the 28

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$93,000. What I saw was a school that followed the common core curriculum used in general education classes. The teaching method was officially the workshop model. When I commented that the curriculum seemed high for Yisrael, the assistant principal said that they focus on the top kid in the class and once that child could be mainstreamed, they focus on the next to highest. That would mean that a student like Yisrael would never get the teacher’s attention since he is not the highest.

For first grade, Yisrael was placed in school B. I was somewhat optimistic this time, because Yisrael’s IEP started with the sentence “Yisrael appears to be untreatable.” He was also approved for a behavior para. The school didn’t even request it. Yisrael kicked the psychologist in the face and pulled her hair, so she felt that the para was necessary. Once again, the curriculum was too high for Yisrael. What was even more concerning was the peanut butter sandwiches served in the lunchroom. When I asked the principal how the school could accommodate Yisrael’s peanut allergy, she said that they’ll figure it out. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to jeopardize my child’s life just because you

will figure it out. Yisrael was placed in school A again for second grade. During the time between his kindergarten placement and second grade placement, a boy named Avonte ran out of his public school and was found dead months later. As a result, school A moved all special education classes to the 4th and 5th floor, hoping it would make it harder for children to leave the building. The only problem was that they left the nurse’s office on the first floor. All allergy and asthma medicines are kept in the nurse’s office. That means that if Yisrael would have an asthma attack in this school, he would need to walk down several flights of steps just to get his nebulizer. For 3rd grade, Yisrael was placed in school C. Once again, the curriculum was too high for him. The special education classes were spread throughout the building, making it easier for an Avonte disappearance to happen. As Yisrael is a fast runner, I didn’t feel safe with school C. For 4th and 5th grade, Yisrael was placed in school A again. His 5th grade tour was on a very hot day in June. While I was walking up the 4 flights of stairs to the office, I noticed that there was no ventilation in the staircase. Yisrael has a condition caused hypohydrosis. His body doesn’t produce enough sweat, causing him to overheat easily. When I asked the assistant principal if his para will be able to carry him up the stairs, she thought I was joking. I was actually very impressed with Yisrael’s 6th grade placement. School D used ABA methods and

did not try to push academics on low functioning students. It was at the end of the tour that I mentioned Yisrael’s peanut allergy, and the site supervisor said that since students go to the lunchroom when they get off the bus, it would be impossible to accommodate an airborne peanut allergy in a shared building. She said that while they could insist that the district 75 students aren’t served peanut butter, the other 2 schools in the building will be eating peanut butter, and for safety reasons I should ask for an alternative placement. This year, I took off from work as I did previous years to attend Yisrael’s IEP meeting. After a train ride and bus ride, I finally made my way to Flatlands Avenue. I answered all the questions I was asked about Yisrael until the special education teacher asked me about Yisrael’s academics. I explained that he his is on a pre-academic level. She said that she needs to put something down for academics, so I said that he enjoys counting. Yisrael’s teach-

er started giving her report, and I couldn’t help noticing the facial expressions and comments from the district’s special educator. She kept making faces, saying that goals aren’t appropriate, even saying that she doesn’t need to hear this. After confirming that Yisrael had no academic goals, the district’s special education teacher said that Yisrael doesn’t need a behavior para. The educational director from Yisrael’s school tried to explain that teachers are walking around with bandaids thanks to Yisrael. I held up my own scratched hand to show what Yisrael is capable of doing, but this stubborn woman insisted that a special education teacher in public school could handle Yisrael. The educational director explained that often two people are needed in order to untangle Yisrael’s hand from someone’s hair. If he doesn’t have a para, the rest of the class would be unattended as both staff members would have to focus on Yisrael. The special educator insisted that public school staff could

handle it. I tried to explain why Yisrael has a para, but she wouldn’t listen. She continued not listening through the OT report, even proving that she wasn’t listening at the end, when she asked if Yisrael made any progress. The OT said, “Well I already explained that he’s having lots of success with his typing goals.” The psychologist and special education teacher from the district both looked surprised and said, “Yisrael had typing goals?” At the end, they said again that Yisrael won’t be getting a para, and the educational director asked if they even listened to anything that Yisrael’s teachers said. “I didn’t need to,” the special ed teacher told us. “We already discussed Yisrael’s case before the meeting.” I’m not too optimistic about Yisrael’s 7th grade placement. Even if it’s in a good school, if he has no behavior para, it’s not safe for other children to be in his class. Thank you DOE for ruining my child’s chance for a free appropriate public education.

The Smell Ruchy Ehrenthal


t starts when you are changing too many diapers in the confines of an airless changing station and you sense the odor tickling at your nostrils and settling into your clothes, but you force yourself to just focus. Focus on the task of keeping Hashem’s children safe clean and happy. And it continues as you start doling out lunch in bite sized pieces that land on tiny faces, and shirts, and your practical but pretty skirt.

It confronts you head-on when another little person cuddles up to you and the part of you that still has some sense left notices that he is dripping drool (or he needs another change), but you can’t even stop him because your hands are coated in yogurt, banana and avocado. And at that moment you finally choose to abandon all sense. Just let go. See the smiles, feel the joy that’s all around you, as he buries

his head in your neck and chews at your hair. Much later when the mess has been cleaned, the busses have been loaded, and you are plopped on your couch, the smell is still there. And sensibility tells you to throw this filthy skirt in the machine and get in the shower NOW. But you figure that sensibility is overrated so you just sit back and enjoy another whiff of unconditional love. Summer 2020


Who is Good & Causes Good Proud Father

? E


rev Rosh Chodesh Shevat 5780

To my dear parents, sisters, ???? brothers, extended family and friends! The Hebrew letters of Shevat stand for Shenishma Besorot Tovot – may we hear good news. Indeed, I’m excited to share my good news with you. Today we merited to receive a huge present from Hashem – a son through whom we will fulfill our mission in this world (in addition to the eight wonderful children that we already have, baruch Hashem). Hashem increased His kindness and mercy to us by appointing myself and my dear wife and family to become trustees for a pure and elevated neshama that entered this world in order to rectify certain things, as we have been taught by our great Rabbis. No, I do not intend to speak in riddles. I wish to inform you that today we embraced a special child – a child with Down’s Syndrome. We did not know anything about this beforehand, even though we carried out all the routine prenatal tests. We will raise him with pride and joy, with a sense of our special mission, and God willing, with strength and power. I am not deluding myself, I experienced moments of great difficulty, and expect there will be more of these coming. But the more I practice the right attitude, the more I believe that I will be able to stand up to them. And if I succeed in this, it is thanks to the new life approach that we learned to incorporate as Rav Moshe Boyer’s students. 30

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During the first moments after the birth, when the baby was wrapped up and the staff were busy with his mother, I stood behind the curtain murmuring verses of praise and thanks to Hashem for the birth. They soon called me in, and explained to me in a serious tone their concerns about the baby and the implications. This was the first time I saw the baby (cute as can be!) and I thought to myself, was it for this that our Rabbis stated: On the birth of a son one makes the bracha “Hatov V’Hameitiv” (Who is good [to me] and causes good [to others])? In a fraction of a second, I realized that now I had to struggle between deciding that a tragedy has taken place, and condemning myself and my family to a life of misery and self-pity, or, accepting my fate and deciding otherwise. Hashem in His mercy gave me strength and at that moment I closed my eyes and recited the blessing with Hashem’s name – whole-heartedly and with great intensity. Baruch atah … hatov v’hameitiv. Yes, I really meant it. “Who is good” to me – He gave me a healthy wife and the birth went well and He entrusted me with raising this neshama. And “causes good” by giving my wife too the merit of this special task. (I must admit that I later had pangs of conscience that perhaps I had hastily recited a bracha in vain). We are at the end of a hard day. We sat for hours with doctors who are uncomfortable with the situation, and with a social worker, and

so on. I’m not naïve, and I know that this is just the beginning of the journey. But I know that it is all a matter of emunah and attitude. I thought to myself, imagine that you met someone who had never married, or didn’t have children, and you promised him: Listen, you can receive a wife and eight wonderful, healthy children, on condition that you agree to have a special child at the end. Wouldn’t he jump at the opportunity??? So what is the problem here, that Hashem gave me a wife and eight children without bargaining beforehand??? We have eight diamonds at home to accompany us on a wonderful mission. My feeling today is that in life, God gives us everything, wisdom and understanding, 248 limbs and 365 sinews, and we “drive the vehicle” that He gave us along the roads and paths that He paves. Occasionally, He gives us another passenger to join us, and then we feel great. This time, Hashem stopped me and asked me: “Do me a favor, I have a wrapped package to put in your trunk, are you prepared to carry it for a few stations?” Who would hesitate??? I jump up and say, “Yes, I will do this, God willing, in the best possible way”. I’m writing this for myself, and also for all of you. I, together with my dear wife, will do this with pride and joy and honor. One more small request: we are not hiding anything, and you don’t have to whisper behind our backs. Please come over, talk, ask, take an interest, don’t be afraid. Besorot tovot by all of us!

Up Syndrome Sara Benbassat

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???? he name Frank Stone may be unfamiliar to you, it was to ????me until I received a video of him speaking at the US Congress on the matter of the abortion of fetuses with Down Syndrome, where, he argued it is immoral. He said the following: “Richard Dawkins, expressed the opinion that it is immoral to have a child with Down Syndrome, he said he believed that our lives bring more suffering in to the world than happiness, I just don’t know what rock he has been under for the last 50 years.  We no longer lead the short, unhappy lives in institutions that he seems to imagine. I really am the Actor, Author and advocate that is described on my business card.  I speak to over 50 audiences a year, with a motivational message of hope, I have just returned from a promotional tour of the United Kingdom with my co-star from Touched by Grace. I have been to the White House twice” …… He ends with this statement” I teach people all the time not to underestimate others, just because of how they look, G-d didn’t put me here to increase suffering.  He put me here to increase acceptance.  My life is worth living.” Frank has been a public spokesman for those with Downs Syndrome for many years. Since 2004 Denmark has offered all pregnant women a nuchal scan, this has increased the number of abortions involving children with Downs Syndrome dramatically. Last year a staggering 98% of pregnant women who were shown to be carrying a baby with Downs Syndrome (DS) chose to have an abortion. 32

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My brother Eli has Downs syndrome. Thankfully born to parents who truly cherished him, even with all the many challenges, even when the doctors were surprised that my parents chose to “keep” the baby they had given birth to, even when speech therapy, occupational therapy was a huge cost, even when they had to beg all the schools to accept their little boy, never once did they give up, or show any sadness, bitterness or regret. Through my brother we have become acquainted with many people who have special needs, currently my brother lives in an assisted living apartment, there are carers on-site around the clock, but each person living in the apartment has a flat with their own kitchen and utilities, they can choose to eat together downstairs or in their own flat. I could choose to emphasize the daily challenges my brother has ( making himself understood on the phone due to difficulty speaking clearly for example), but instead I would like to focus on the positives, because, to be honest, that’s what my brother does, he focuses on the good in his life. So, here is a list of  positive attributes I have learnt from him, these lessons I have learnt are not through Eli preaching, lecturing or telling, they are lessons I have learnt through being his sister , and I think our entire family has learnt from him. • HAPPINESS WITH LIFE: I have rarely, in all the 30+ years I have known my brother, seen Eli truly unhappy, there have been

times that tragedy ( for example the death of my father) has caused him heartbreak and trauma, but, his life on the whole, has been led with true happiness, it is not unusual to see my brother walking down the street, headphones in his ears, singing loudly to whatever song is playing. He has so many obstacles, yet he lives with such genuine happiness. • FRIENDSHIP: The majority of the community knows my brother, he is often in the local newspaper ( in fact he considers it a travesty the weeks he is not inand he cannot walk down the street without someone calling out to him, or giving him a hug, often, he will have a chat with someone on the street and the conversation that usually follows is this:   Me: “Eli, who was that”, Eli “My best friend” Me “that’s nice, what’s his name” Eli “I don’t know”….. So, it doesn’t matter that Eli does not actually know his “best Friends” name, what matters to him is that someone out there took the time to be his friend, to smile at him, to say hallo, and that is what a friend is. • NEVER TO JUDGE: However hard we try, most of us ( excluding you of course) are somewhat judgmental, we look at how a person dresses, car they drive, job they do, house they live in, and make baseline judgements about the person.  Eli does not do this, he doesn’t care how large someone’s home is, or what car they drive, what he cares about is kindness, and to him, people who are sincere, genuine and kind are the ones who matter. • LISTENING: Writing the word

listening, when it comes to Eli makes me smile, I come from a large family, there are 7 of us, all married except for Eli, all with children, our mother’s house is the central meeting point for all of us, a typical family event will include, a lot of shouting to be heard, followed by a lot more shouting to be heard. Eli though, can sit, silently throughout a meal, which is something I don’t think anyone in my family will ever achieve (sorry guys). He is truly a man that enjoys his food, so that  could be the reason he is so quiet ( so that my mum does not notice how much he is eating!) but I believe that the main reason is, he is just happy to “be” and to listen, when we ask him questions or try to include him in the conversation he does not seem overly concerned about answering at length, but, make no mistake, whilst we are all yelling at each other trying

to get our points across, Eli is listening, taking it all in and noticing everything that is going on. I remember a time someone started to talk quietly about Eli at the table, Eli was sitting on the sofa happily engrossed in something, but as soon as they started talking about him, a smug smile settled on his face… yup he is all seeing, all hearing, so watch what you say! • HAVE GOOD SELFESTEEM: this one does not need much explaining, Eli has many challenges, but he likes himself, is secure in himself and knows he is a good person, loved by many, and has what to give to this world. • SHOWING LOVE: When Eli was younger the hugs and kisses were abundant, as he has grown the way he shows love has become different, he will call his siblings a few times a day and the conversation will always be the same “How

are you, How’s your day, How’s (name of persons children), ok, your busy I’m going, bye” sometimes we may groan when our caller ID shows Eli’s number for the 10th time in a day, but he knows we love his calls. He is always loved and always welcome, he actually knows the code of the front door of my sister’s house, and will often let himself in calling out “only me” as he does, he knows how much he is loved, and how much we love him. Make no mistake, just because Eli has downs syndrome it does not make him any less smart than you and me, in fact, he is so on the ball, he knows if someone is happy or sad, he is funny, hysterically funny sometimes. Our lives have been blessed by Eli.

Summer 2020


What Was Your Favorite Thing? Arthur Berliner

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ach year on the last day of he liked most about Yom Tov since so well, we decided to video ourselves ????

Pesach, our shul has a Neilas Hachag. Many men come with ???? their leftover Matzah and spend the last minutes of Pesach eating their last Kosher L’pesach food while listening to Divrei Torah, and singing zemiros. Several years ago, we realized that it would be best if I spent this time with our family at home and have our own version of a Neilas Hachag. In this way, a Yom Tov which had its’ highlights can have a chance of ending reasonably calmly rather than with several meltdowns (“Shkiya is when it gets dark, cleanup, Havadalah, computer!!!”). However, in our version, the food is “2nd days milchig meals in review”. The zemiros range from classic adult seder songs (Adir Hu) to classic kids Seder songs (Who knows one? from Uncle Moishy). Divrei torah are limited and in their place is a Best of Olemeinu Pesach story and “What was your favorite thing about Pesach?” The answers need to be related, at least, somewhat to Pesach so “Going on the Computer on Chol Hamoed” is not accepted! Each year at least one child mentions that they enjoyed their grandparents coming which inevitably earns them brownie points with the grandparents who are present at the table (although there have been times when a child will mention the other grandparents which has the exact opposite effect!!!). That being said, this year would not have that answer as a possibility. I was curious as to what the kids would say- in these challenging times would they have a highlight? As always, they stepped up to the plate and hit the question out of the ballpark.  Psachya, an upbeat child in general, had a hard time narrowing down what 34

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“I had a great Yom Tov- it’s so hard to choose- can I say more than one thing?” Especially with so many things to cause someone to be negative in the present environment, I highly recommend having a Psachya in your house at all times! Binyamin answered “I enjoyed playing Apples to Apples with Yael, Psachya, and Tatty since that is usually what we play with Bobby when she comes”. Although I had been dreading playing this game since it was guaranteed to take a while and would be interrupting my nap, it turned out to be a wonderful way to spend time with my children. Though tired, I enjoyed every minute of it. Yael answered, “I enjoyed taking a walk with Tatty and Shaul to the duck pond and sitting near the water”. Ever since we have been at home, I have been taking a 20 minute walk with Shaul to meet an exercise requirement from his school. As it became part of our routine, we did so on Yom Tov and Shabbos as well. Yael joined on Yom Tov and suggested we go to the duck pond. Both she and her older brother sat there, each day, for about 10 minutes just enjoying the stillness of the surroundings. It was, once again, a wonderful way of spending time with my children. Avigdor needed some time to think of his answer but finally said, “I enjoyed making the “Who knows one” video for Bobby and Zaidy- does that count?” Each Pesach, when my parents come, my father enjoys leading that song with his own nuances. The kids, even the grown ones, love it and look forward to it. This was not going to be possible this year. Instead, we sang it on Shabbos Hagadol as a way of psyching ourselves up for the Yom Tov. It went

doing it and sent it as a pre-Yom Tov treat to the grandparents. They very much appreciated it. And Avigdor, 20 years old, was a major contributor in making the video- we never knew how much he truly enjoyed it. “It counts”, I said- in so many ways. Gad, the oldest, did not have a surprising answer. “I don’t know if I can say my answer right now”. I guessed in Hebrew and he confirmed it was correct- his favorite part of Yom Tov was when the table cleared at the end of each meal and he had his parents to himself with whom to schmooze. This was not shocking as he has not had patience for his special needs siblings for a number of years. We wondered if he would ever make an effort to have a relationship with them. Being with us for the last few weeks must have been really hard for him because of this. However, something told him that the only way to stay sane was to connect to 18 year old, autistic, Shaul. For the first 3 days of Yom Tov and the last 2 days, it was as if they were in complete sync with each other as there was a lot of scripting going on between them (even during the seder itself!). When I commented to Gad that I don’t know if his grandparents would have been able to handle the scripting at the same time as the seder, he said, “I don’t think I would have done it- I felt much more relaxed at the Seder without them. This was my best Seder in years”. As parents, we could not have heard anything better from our kids. Although it was hard not having our parents with us, our highlight, hands down, was how our children enjoyed Pesach with each other. Hashem continues to be so good to us- Hodu Lashem Ki Tov Ki L’olam Chasdo.




Medication Management like a Boss. 7 Tips for Keeping Organized Karen Furman

ike a Boss” is a very “in” term these days. When I apply it to myself, I feel like I’m in control amid the ADHD chaos in my home. Regardless of morning, afternoon, and bedtime routines there is still a list of things to get done and constant re-prioritizing of tasks. Prescription and medication management is most important on my to-do list. . If we don’t have cereal, we can have oatmeal. If we don’t have oatmeal, we can make eggs. But if we don’t have meds on hand there’s no substitute. Here are 7 tips for keeping organized so you never miss a refill or dose again. Prepare a bold-tip permanent marker, fine-tip permanent marker, highlighter, pen, calendar, and seethrough zip bags or pouch and you’re ready to begin. For each family member who takes medication or supplements have a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. In the section designated where the contents are written, write the person’s name. Into this bag will go the prescriptions that are printed from the doctor. Some prescriptions are digital (in the computer system the pharmacy has access to). For these you can write the name of the drug and the dates it can be filled for a visual reminder of all the scripts. As soon as you pick up a new prescription note, IMMEDIATELY put it in the bag and zip it closed. Use a highlighter to highlight the name, date to fill by, and name of the medication. If you want to be even more organized color-code for each family member. Store these bags in your purse because when you’re out and about you don’t want to remember that you forgot it at home. Write the refill dates on your calendar, in the ‘old fashioned’ method of writing it down on paper. Or if you use a digital calendar, use notifications to give you a reminder the day before you need to get to the pharmacy. After you’ve gone to the pharmacy, if the medication comes in a box with blister packs you can use the fine-tip marker to denote directly on the blister pack dates and times the pill needs to be taken. For example: M Dec 15 or F Dec 19. Some people use pill sorters but in homes with small children, keeping the pills in child-




proof storage is safer. If the same medication is used more than once a day you can add a.m. or p.m. If the medication comes inside a box, tear off the flaps of the box. I have found doing this saves time and frustration. Save one copy of the paper that comes inside the box for reference. After you have one copy for reference, toss all others. Write on the box the next time you can fill the prescription. If you have controlled substances like Ritalin you can’t fill ahead of time which can be enormously annoying. Sometimes, I feel like I live at the pharmacy because of having to go multiple days in succession. It’s like “Hi again. I’m b-a-c-k. Did you miss me since yesterday? And the day before. And the day before.” If the script was filled December 15 then write ‘fill January 15’ on the box. This should sync with what you have written on your calendar. Keep everyone’s medications in a different basket. Once again, if you’re uber organized you can color-code. For liquid medications like cough syrup or antibiotics either make a chart or write directly on the bottle if there is space. Write morning/afternoon/ evening and check off after the dose has been given. Keep the pen/marker nearby or use sticky tack to adhere it to the bottle because this method only works if you can check-off the chart. Snap a photo of the pharmacy hours and save to your phone or copy the hours and keep for easy reference. Regardless if you have followed all the steps above if you show up when the pharmacy is closed you will miss the window of getting your script filled when you need to. With those controlled substances, if you miss the ‘fill by’ date it means going back to the doctor to get another script written, back to the pharmacy, and it’s a good part of the day wasted. Follow these steps and you’ve just managed your meds like a boss.


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Karen Furman is a home organizing and decluttering expert known as The Klutter Koach. She made aliyah from Baltimore in 2010 and lives in Ramat Bet Shemesh with her husband and six children. For more articles on home organizing, real life & practical wisdom, and aliyah visit  www. theklutterkoach.com.  Summer 2020


Covid Crisis Continues from Page 16

managing buildings, purchasing supplies, installing equipment, or overseeing construction and moving projects, Yaakov always knew exactly what to do and how to do it. No detail was ever too small to escape his attention. When the Covid crisis hit, Yaakov’s workload multiplied overnight, but he was up to the challenge. Yaakov and his team worked round the clock, 6 days a week, to procure over 73,705 cases/packages of PPE, set up a distribution warehouse, manage inventory, and pack and distribute food and essential, but hard to find, household supplies to all Ohel homes and programs throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island Mrs. Sheinhouse expressed her appreciation for the comprehensive guidance provided

Remote Learning Continues from Page 18

immigrant backgrounds. Another common problem is poorly motivated parents who fail to log on to their child’s scheduled 30-minute remote learning sessions, which leaves her powerless to help these students.

LEARNING CURVES & VIDEO RESOURCES Rachel complained that the DOE kept changing the video platform that she was permitted to use during the spring semester, requiring her to constantly re-learn how to use the technology. She spent a lot of time doing her own research on the different options available for enhancing her video therapy sessions. The on-line educational resourc36

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YAAKOV MEIRI to Ohel by the New York State Department of Health and OPWDD to protect members of the I/DD community who are more vulnerable to infection than the general population. But no matter how much video therapy and telehealth techniques

es that Rachel’s students liked the most are the cameras maintained by various zoos and aquariums around the world which transmit live videos of their animal and fish playing, eating or swimming around. She also recommends a user-friendly, free whiteboard app available at awwapp.com. The main advantage of this whiteboard system is that a teacher or therapist can share the content on their whiteboard by simply emailing a weblink to their students, who can then access it, free of charge, and without having to log in. Nevertheless, Rachel says that many of children she works are still struggling with the transition to remote learning. She also says that the only child seems to suffer the most from being kept home without interaction with siblings,

are improved, Mrs. Sheinhouse says they will never be able to replace the direct services which require in-person, 1-to-1 contact, such as feeding, hand-holding and physical therapy. Mrs. Sheinhouse also had to overcome her own bout of mild illness due to Covid-19 shortly after Purim. She says that after 18 years in the field, she has been re-inspired in recent months by seeing the difference her efforts have made in the quality of life of the people whom Ohel serves. It has strengthened her pride in her own work and in the agency. Yaakov Kornreich has been an Anglo-Jewish journalist for more than 40 years. He is the Senior Editor of Building Blocks and the Health & Living supplement of the Jewish Press. Yaakov Kornreich has been an Anglo-Jewish journalist for more than 40 years. He is the Senior Editor of Building Blocks and the Health & Living supplement of the Jewish Press.

missing the social contact and support from other children they would normally receive in the classroom. So far, the dedication and skill of our community’s therapists and special needs professionals has enabled us to manage the Covid-19 crisis. But it is not clear how much longer they will be able to continue to provide adequate replacement services to keep our children from falling behind even further without a major new injection of federal funds and a coordinated nationwide plan of action. Yaakov Kornreich has been an Anglo-Jewish journalist for more than 40 years. He is the Senior Editor of Building Blocks and the Health & Living supplement of the Jewish Press. Yaakov Kornreich has been an Anglo-Jewish journalist for more than 40 years. He is the Senior Editor of Building Blocks and the Health & Living supplement of the Jewish Press.

CALENDAR OF EVENTS Please note---many events are being cancelled or switching to virtual due to Corona. Please check with individual venues. We have provided below a separate listing of recurring weekly & monthly events that may reopen. Check with the individual events for any changes or cancellations.

AUGUST 2020 Sensory Friendly 2 Check E Cheese Sunday

More Info: www.chuckecheese.com

A sensory friendly event the first Sunday of every month offering an opportunity for children to enjoy games in a calm and safe environment that includes dimmed lighting, no show or music, and trained & caring staff. See website for participating branches.

Play Without Boundaries at the Please Touch Museum Where: Memorial Hall 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania More Info: 215.581.3181 education@pleasetouchmuseum.org Time: 9:00-11:00 am


At this event, the Please Touch Museum is adapted to provide a relaxed environment for individuals with autism, learning differences, and other sensory or communication needs. Registration requested.

Space Race---Virtual 2 More Info: www.intrepidmuseum.org/ education/access-family-programs Time: 11:00-11:45 am

What does a ship have to do with outer space? Discover Intrepid’s connection to America’s early ventures into space and explore the future of space travel in this virtual program. At-home activity packet will include related activities. Registration requested.

Raising Emotionally Healthy Children 4 More Info: https://amudim. zoom.us/meeting/register/ tJ0udO2urD0qGtRS8tgIwGBbVGuFcuSSEjgV Time: 8:00-9:00 pm

Parents everywhere are struggling to balance work, child care, and self-care while keeping their family’s anxiety under control. Amudim’s online support group is a safe place to ask questions, get answers, and feel understood within a community of people trying to negotiate parenthood during a global crisis. Registration requested.


Transition 101 Leo Rotman, CFP - Virtual More Info: www.yachad.org/events/ series/2482/parent-webinar-series Time: 8:15-9:30 pm

A YACHAD zoom event featuring a Certified Financial Planner who focuses on working with families who have a loved one with special needs to give them peace of mind about their future. Registration requested.

5 Webinar: Autism: After the Pandemic More Info: www.fhautism.com/shop/ webinar-with-dr-jim-ball-august-5-2020/ Time: 1:00 pm This presentation by Dr. Jim Ball will discuss techniques for helping students and adults with

autism, and will focus on specific strategies, enhancing motivation, and generalized training. A step by step demonstration will be presented using real life examples. Modifications will be explored that allow this program to be effective with students significantly challenged with autism, as well as those with Asperger’s Syndrome. Registration requested.

Positive Approaches to Addressing 6 Problem Behaviors of Students with Severe Disabilities – Part 1 More Info: ablenetinc.zoom.us/webinar/ register/WN_3v3YJB63S1C6Ub5yGGF9AQ Time: 12:00 pm

Problem behaviors interfere with student learning, educational advancement, interactions with peers and adults and school success. This webinar session, augmented with multiple scenarios of students experiencing challenging behaviors, will demonstrate: 1) proactive strategies for adapting the environment so triggering events are removed; 2) teaching new skills to the student that will replace problem behaviors; and 3) maximizing clear rewards for appropriate behavior. Depicting student-specific scenarios, this webinar session will illustrate positive, proactive, and functional behavior intervention strategies to be implemented across situations and settings. CEUs available. Registration requested

Raising Emotionally Healthy Children 11 More Info: amudim. zoom.us/meeting/register/ tJ0udO2urD0qGtRS8tgIwGBbVGuFcuSSEjgV Time: 8:00-9:00 pm See August 4th entry Yachad New England Parent &

12 Caregiver Support Group---Virtual

More Info: www.yachad.org/events/ series/2460/new-england-parent-andcaregiver-support-group Time: 8:15-9:15 pm

A support group for the parents and caregivers of New England Yachad. Registration requested.

Fun Activities using Technology to Develop and Conduct a Safety Fair More Info: ablenetinc.zoom.us/webinar/ register/WN_m3JY-d1jR7GAWKxAJlS7zw Time: 3:00 pm EDT


This presentation will feature a specially designed safety fair to help students with special needs learn about safety and to share this information with classmates and the community. The students used technology and assistive devices to develop their topics and to present at the fair. CEUs available. Registration requested.


Check E Cheese Sensory Friendly Sunday More Info: www.chuckecheese.com

See August 2nd entry for more information

Play Without Boundaries at the Please Touch Museum Where: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania More Info: education@pleasetouchmuseum.org Time: 9:00-11:00 am See August 2nd entry for more information


Connecting Parents of Children With Special Needs

Golda Turner

Online and face-to-face - They want me 9 to do what? Thriving in a blended learning classroom More Info: ablenetinc.zoom.us/webinar/ register/WN_vGA0yAwFSl6DfMPzD_lWEQ Time: 3:00 pm

Universal Design for Learning is a powerful approach to personalized learning for all students. But how do we know what tools are the most useful? In this interactive session, we will showcase top digital tools for the inclusive classroom, then engage in practical dialogue around easy implementation options. CEUs available. Registration requested.

Jobs Aboard Intrepid Air Sea and Space Museum Where: Pier 86---12th Avenue & 46th St. NY More Info: www.intrepidmuseum.org/ education/access-family-programs Time/Age: 11:00 am-1:00 pm • Ages 5-17


Intrepid’s programs for children and adults with learning and developmental disabilities. Find out why Intrepid was a «city at sea» and learn about different jobs aboard the ship! Visit spaces where sailors lived and worked, then participate in activities inspired by their experiences.

24- Nourished Festival---Online 26 More Info: online.nourishedfestival.com

Connect with brands in a virtual booth space, access discounts, purchase products, enter giveaways, watch cooking demos and join educational presentations. Registration requested.

Positive Approaches to Addressing 29 Problem Behaviors of Students with

Severe Disabilities – Part 2 More Info: ablenetinc.zoom.us/webinar/ register/WN_woPwG7QmQl-hcys9_nqFdA Time: 12:00 pm See August 6 entry for more information

OCTOBER 2020 Abilities Expo Toronto 24 Where: International Centre---Hall 5

6900 Airport Road, Mississauga, Ontario More Info: www.abilities.com Abilities Expo is the go-to source for the Community of people with disabilities, their families, seniors, veterans and healthcare professionals. The event opens your eyes to new technologies, new possibilities, new solutions and new opportunities to change your life. It brings ability enhancing products and services together under one roof. It’s about introducing opportunities that can enrich your life …especially ones that you never knew were out there. Registration requested. Check E Cheese Sensory Friendly Sunday More Info: www.chuckecheese.com See entry August 2nd for more information


Play Without Boundaries at the Please Touch Museum Where: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania More Info: education@pleasetouchmuseum.org See entry August 2nd for more information


Summer 2020


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Core-Spun: Gradient Compression Support Socks:

ompression socks are used for people who benefit from vascular support. Usually it is an item used with adults. I actually had an adult who required vascular support try these compression socks. The report was that he found them more comfortable and easier to put on then his old brand that he was using. He liked the texture of the socks, and the stretchy material. He was happy with the colors that they came in because he was able to find the color socks that he wore. I also wondered if compression socks can be used in older teenage students who exhibit difficulty with tactile input, fidgetiness, and restless legs. The initial child who tried it, liked the texture and compression, but it was too early to tell if it would have a long term effect in reducing tactile defensiveness and fidgetiness. Although it helped in the short

time that the child wore it. It could possibly be used in addition to other compression items like weighted vests and spandex that help children calm down. Since it is a sock that can be worn, it could potentially provide proprioceptive input while the child is engaged in a variety of positions and movements, and not limited to maintaining a static position in order to be used. Children seated at a desk that constantly fidget and move their feet, may benefit from compression socks to stay seated longer while engaging in learning in the classroom and at a tabletop task.

THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS:  Increases vascular support  Can possibly be used as a sensory compression tool to help children receive proprioceptive input on their feet while they are seated at a desk in the classroom.

My First Tool Box - Plush Creations:


Made in USA - Latex Free

ChewyQ.com 38

Summer 2020

oddlers are curious, love to imitate and copy the adults around them. Plush Creations First Tool Box is perfect for the child who wants a tool set like their male adult role model, but too young to really own one. This Tool Box has a soft textured case, with soft, plush, stuffed, textured realistic looking tools, such as a hammer, drill, saw and screw driver. Toddlers will enjoy pretending to use these tools around the house to fix and build to their hearts content. Since it is really a stuffed plush toy,

this tool box can be cuddled and slept with just like any stuffed animal. (And in the event of the notorious terrible toddler tantrum, parents can rest assured that when these tools are thrown, no one will be injured from them.)

THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS:  Provides role play opportunities for young children  Encourages socialization and interaction through play  Increases cognition and attention through focused play and identifying tool use


Products Showcase




an you imagine a classroom where a robot directs children in lessons? Can you picture a robot greeting children by name, prompting them to make eye contact, dancing with children, or reading them a story? This idea is no longer for science fiction films, but a reality in today’s technology advanced world. Movia Robotics is a company that developed child friendly robots to help children with learning disabilities, specifically those on the Autism Spectrum whose needs were underserved. Children naturally gravitate to robots and engage with them, therefore being able to learn a lesson with a robot is a reward in and of itself for children. With a line of five different types of robots, whose use range from classroom instruction, to home tabletop use, this natural fascination towards robots can help children benefit from the systematic and repetitive teaching methods of a robot to learn new skills. I have to admit that I was hooked on the robots during the demonstration that I was given. These robots are very friendly looking with large eyes that wink, blink, and move as they look at you. The robots speak in an even keeled voice without overly voicing inflections or emotions in the speech patterns. While engaging a child in a lesson, the robots will gently yet persistently repeat and prompt the child for an answer to its question. The robots are small in size, and young children find them fascinating and non threatening to interact with. For a child on the Autistic Spectrum, where facial cues, tone of voice, and speed of verbalization can be overwhelming, robots provide a safe way to learn how to socially interact with others. The robots never show or voice anger or annoyance. They always verbalize at the same rate of speed per word, and willingly repeat an instruction as many times as needed. The staff at MoviaRobotics has developed over 75 pre loaded lessons and sessions that provide evidence based instruction for fundamental skills on a variety of topics. The Robotic system further includes lessons involving Role Playing, Storytelling, Conversation mode, and a group mode that uses stories, exercises and/or dance. The robots are able to do simple stretches with children and engage them in simple dance routines, providing a physical exercise component to the lessons and group activity as well. Every lesson has been researched and proven to facilitate a specific skill development in children. More importantly, the lessons have been designed to

encourage innovative thinking and teamwork among the children. Teachers and/or therapists can customize the system to work with individual children, and the Movia Robotics staff is happy to develop and customize specific lessons when requested. Most importantly, the robots and the programs are designed to be easy for teachers and/or therapists to use while working with their students. They are a wonderful way to provide expanded drill and instruction to children who would benefit from increased instruction and therapies, especially where monetary and staff limitations prevent additional interventions. THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS:  Increases ability to learn socialization skills  Increases ability to improve attention and focus  Provides a way to increase muscle stretches and small exercises  Provides consistent and repetitive drill to help children master skills MAKING THE RETURN TO SCHOOL EASIER For Children With ASD & Other Special Needs Through Robot-Assisted Instruction

For Educators, Therapists & Parents Personalized lessons Easy to operate, with MOVIA’s maintain, and update software enables the a student’s student to be taught individualized and learn quickly education plan and effectively Developed in collaboration with educators, therapists, parents and students.

THE INTERSECTION OF TECHNOLOGY AND SPECIAL EDUCATION Helping Hundreds of Children Progress on IEP goals Improve social interactions Grow in learning readiness and academic skills Email us for your schools' demo www.moviarobotics.com


Summer 2020


Products Showcase Book Reviews I Was Once A Kid, Too!

life to each page, they are not only there to be aesAuthor: H. R. Lederfeind • Illustrator: C. Gershbaum thetically pleasing; the pictures themselves provide a source of entertainment. Each season challenges the Publisher: Targum Publishers • Year: 2017 . R. Lederfeind’s book I Was Once A Kid, Too! reader to find objects hidden within its illustrations for added fun. is laced with nostalgia and A quick and easy read, Ledergives kids ideas for fun in feind’s book mostly sticks to a every season. Using an array of rhyme scheme and rhythm that is different toys, objects found in often used in children’s books in nature, their friends and siblings, order to spark interest and proor just their imaginations, the mote an awareness of language children in the book are very refor the reader. The narrative sourceful when comes to finding stresses the importance of play ways to entertain themselves. The for the development of a child. book inspires kids to create their It shows how play not only proown fun by prompting them to vides children with a necessary improvise and use whatever they creative outlet, it can teach them have available to them. skills and have both physical and C. Gershbaum’s illustrations social benefits that can come in are a colorful and fun edition to handy throughout childhood and the Torah U’mesorah approved adulthood. book. While the pictures bring


Hoppy & Poppie Pink Cheeks


n a world of uncertainty, children need to develop their emotional intelligence to be happy and well adjusted members of society. Hoppy and Poppie pink cheeks is a tool aimed at teaching children how to develop their emotional intelligence. Hoppy and Poppie are soft cuddly stuffed “bugs” that young children will find comforting to hold and cuddle with. Their accompanied board books, written by Renee Adams, and illustrated by Daniel Tigret help children learn about and identify emotions in an easy and pleasant rhyme related to the world around them. The books are interactive as well. “What we feel” provides tactile input to match the pictures on each page. “Not So Scary” utilizes a slide method, to change the pictures to describe the emotions on each page. “Calm in Your Palm”, another story by Renee Adams, Illustrated by Lauren Holloway, uses a story with an attached color block blanket to match the colors 40

Summer 2020

to ways that a child can calm themselves. In addition, there are color coded bracelets for each character with their name on it, providing children with a concrete item to further identify with a specific bug and the emotional intelligence that bug represents. For example Andie Ant may feel nervous, but Betty Bee is curious. Utilizing texture, colors, and pictures are wonderful tools for teaching children how to identify their feelings. Since children can connect how to feel better to physical characteristics, it is easier for a child to generalize these connections when emotions flare up. THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS:  Increases social emotional intelligence in children  Provides a multi sensory tool to identifying emotions  Provides concrete calming tools for children to use

Products Showcase Tummple!


ummple! (Yes, spelled correctly without the capital T.) is a new kind of building and structure game. Using a special multisided picture dice, same sized wooden bricks, and yellow and white half circular shaped pieces called “tumps”, children ages 8 and up, as well as adults, can follow the rules to build unique structures. Players spin the die, and play the picture it lands on. Pictures demonstrate if the wooden brick should be placed on the small side, the upright side, the wide side, or any side. Once placed, the players have to watch not to cause any part of the structure to collapse, otherwise they must keep all the fallen bricks until the end. If the dice lands on the white tump, the player must put the white tump on top of any side of any wood brick, Once the tump is placed, it can never be moved and no other wooden brick can touch it that part of the wooden brick, but other parts of that brick may be used. If the

dice lands on the yellow tump, the yellow on must be placed on top of any side of any wooden brick, and the whole wooden brick is out of play and cannot be used. These tumps add excitement to the game by taking wooden brick sides, and whole bricks out of play, making it more difficult for the next player to build on the structure without causing it to collapse. The game proceeds until there are no more bricks to play. The winner is the player with the least number of bricks at the end. This game is very appealing for older children, involving skill, planning and good old fashioned coordination and dexterity. THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS:  Increases socialization skills through play  Increases cognitive and attention skills through focused planning strategies  Increases fine motor coordination skills through dexterity needed for placement of bricks while building

We’re here to help. Offering over 25,000 combinations of safety beds for those with Special Needs addressing physical and cognitive disabilities.

SleepSafe® - Low Bed in Oak

Safety Rail Down - 21” Transfer Height

SleepSafe® Beds is a domestic manufacturer of adaptable safety beds, featuring removable safety side rails, designed to address the issues of entrapment and falls for those with special needs. The SleepSafe® bed line includes SleepSafe®, SleepSafe® II, and SleepSafer® models, each offering more safety rail to mattress height.

SleepSafe II® - Medium Bed in Oak Padding in Cream, IV Pole and Tubing Channel Access Cut Out

SleepSafer®- Tall Bed In Cherry shown with closed Extension.

SleepSafe® Beds are built to order, offered in twin, full or queen size; fixed, manual, articulation, electric or HiLo foundations; padding; wood or solid color finishes, and other accessories. SleepSafe® Beds help those with special needs get a safe, restful sleep and smiles from their caregivers. Call us for DME provider information.

Made in Bassett, Virginia · 866-852-2337 · SleepSafeBed.com · Free Consultation Summer 2020


Building Blocks Service Marketplace ADAPTIVE EQUIPMENT

Spy Therapeutics 79 Primrose St., White Plains, NY 10606 856.304.2510 • www.sprytx.com Moldable support pillows reduce discomfort and aide in positioning.


MARG info@advocacyresource.org advocacyresource.org • 888.664.6535 MARG, my advocacy and resource group was created by a group of parents who have children with special needs who earned their experience by learning to navigate the system themselves. Having dealt with so many situations, together, they have learned how to properly communicate their needs with care coordinators and agencies to obtain the best results for their child. Advocacy representatives are here to listen, guide you & help resolve any issues you may have. Tafkid 718.252.2236 Tafkid assists families whose children have been diagnosed with a variety of disabilities and special needs.

This listing is intended to serve as a starting point for family members, professionals and care givers seeking programs, institutions and service providers designed for special needs individuals and their families within the Jewish community. Building Blocks does not specifically endorse any of those listed. Readers are urged to contact them individually for more information. You must make your own determination as to whether the services and programs they offer are appropriate for your specific case. 42

Summer 2020

Yad HaChazakah –The Jewish Disability Empowerment Center 646.723.3955 • info@yadempowers.org In-person meetings arranged throughout New York City Vicinity by appointment; Services also delivered nationally by phone, video conferencing, and email. Yad HaChazakah provides guidance, resource information, advocacy, and support networks for people with obvious or hidden disabilities and our families while we promote disability access and participation in Jewish community life. Together, we work to develop your capacities and form a network of resources to manage your home and daily living activities; date, marry, and raise children; work or volunteer; and participate fully in and contribute to your community.


Camp Hasc 1563 49th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11219 (718) 686-2600 • Office@camphasc.org Located in Parksville, NY is a 7-week

residential program for developmentally delayed children and adults. At our unique summer program, and throughout the year in respite weekends, programs, home and hospital visits, a cadre of over 500 Camp HASC staff members serve the social, therapeutic, academic, recreational, and medical needs of our hundreds of individuals with special needs of all ages as well as their families. Camp Migdal 718.313.0264 x1 • info@campmigdal.org 7 week sleep away camp for individuals with special needs, girls ages 5-21 and boys ages 5-9. Servicing children with diagnoses including Downs Syndrome, Autism/ASD, CP, Epilepsy, Global Developmental Delays, Chromosomal Deletion Syndrome, and Intellectually Disabled. Professional medical team, full educational program, SLP, PT, OT therapies, ADL skills and recreational activities. Heimish environment. Wheelchair accessible Camp Mizmor 718.210.0037 • info@campmizmor.org Camp Address: 21 Pierce Road, Glen Spey, NY 12737 7 week sleep away camp for individuals with special needs, girls ages 5-21 and boys ages 5-9. Servicing children with diagnoses including Downs Syndrome, Autism/ASD, CP, Epilepsy, Global Developmental Delays, Chromosomal Deletion Syndrome, and Intellectually Disabled. Professional medical team, full educational program, SLP, PT, OT therapies, ADL skills and recreational activities. Yiddish & English speaking. Chassidish environment. Not wheelchair accessible.

COMMUNITY SUPPORT The Jewish Board/ Mishkon 1358 56th Street Brooklyn, NY 11219 (718) 851-7100 jbfcs.org/mishkon Offers residential placement for adults throughout Brooklyn, New York. Home and Community Based services include Day Habilitation, Community Habilitation, Respite and Camp Tuition Reimbursement.

Building Blocks ? Service Marketplace

OHEL Children’s Home & Family Services 1268 East 14th St., Bklyn. NY 11230 (800) 603-OHEL • www.ohelfamily.org From trauma services to advice for a child with ADHD, marital counseling to support to an individual with a developmental or psychiatric disability, access the full range of OHEL services. Yad HaChazakah –The Jewish Disability Empowerment Center (646) 723-3955 • info@yadempowers.org In-person meetings arranged throughout New York City Vicinity by appointment; Services also delivered nationally by phone, video conferencing, and email. Yad HaChazakah provides guidance, resource information, advocacy, and support networks for people with obvious or hidden disabilities and our families while we promote disability access and participation in Jewish community life. Together, we work to develop your capacities and form a network of resources to manage your home and daily living activities; date, marry, and raise children; work or volunteer; and participate fully in and contribute to your community.


SmartKnitKIDS SMARTKNITKIDS.COM Seamless Sensitivity Products Seamless Socks, Seamless Compresso-T, Seamless Undies, Seamless Bralette


Jumpstart Early Intervention 3914 15th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11218 (718) 853-9700 womensleague.org/jumpstart Provides Early Intervention evaluations and therapy services for children birth to three years old, experiencing autism, mild to severe developmental delays, speech and language and hearing impairment, and multiple handicapped.

Author BECOME A VALUED MEMBER OF OUR TEAM! We are actively investing in building our stellar special education staff for the 2020-21 academic year!

EMPLOYMENT SERVICES JOB TRAINING, PLACEMENT… CBR (Creative Business Resources), a division of Makor (718) 853-9700 Ask for Perela Mayer Is a Supported Employment Program designed to assist adults with learning disabilities obtain and maintain jobs, providing Pre-vocational training, Job development and placement and On-site Coaching and monitoring.

Hamaspik of Kings County 4102 14th Avenue (718) 387-8400 • www.hamaspikcare.org Assist adults with disabilities to obtain and maintain a job. They provide Pre-vocational training and on-site hands on coaching HASC Center Vocational Programs (718) 535-1953 • 1221 East 14th Street Innovative vocational programs where men develop skills and knowledge to thrive in the current job market. Skills taught in a frum environment with support and one on one job coaching in the workplace. WORKS FOR ME-a division of HASC 1563 49th Street Brooklyn, NY 11219 worksforme@hasccenter.org Sign up: (718) 686-2608 WORKS FOR ME is an all-day vocational program for young men with special needs. It was deliberately created in a non-stigmatized environment to be reflective of any typical work training program. Training is offered in such areas as data entry, office assistant, packaging/assembly, culinary assistant and messenger training. Supportive staff provides individualized attention to help each member reach their employment goals. Group skills building classes, volunteer opportunities, and unpaid internships are made available to prepare members to ultimately join the competitive job market.

Available Staff Positions (Elementary & High Schools)


(Must have Masters in Special Education)

• Art Therapist • Teacher Assistant/Aide

We pride ourselves in creating a supportive, happy work environment. Ask any member of our team and you’ll see why! SCHOOL LOCATIONS Queens and Riverdale in New York Livingston, River Edge, and Teaneck in New Jersey


Please email resumes to: work@sinaischools.org

Qualified minorities and/or women are encouraged to apply, EEO.

SINAI Elementary at YCQ opening this Fall!


assists families whose children have been diagnosed with a variety of disabilities and special needs.

Services provided by TAFKID include:

D Family Support Services & Information D Educational Advocacy D Individual Case Consultation D Referrals to Doctors, Therapists, Schools and Government Programs

D Parent Matching D Family Recreation Programs D Parent Training and Meetings D Guest Lecturers D Community Sensitivity and Training D Informational Publications D Pediatric Equipment Lending Program D Tape/Video Lending


Abilities Expo www.abilitiesexpo.com Provides demonstrations and information pertaining to physical handicaps, including the latest products and assistance animals. Events throughout the US.

is a not-for-profit organization services are free of charge to all families. For more information call TAFKID at (718) 252-2236 or e-mail: tafkid@aol.com

Summer 2020


Building Blocks Service Marketplace FISCAL INTERMEDIARY

Hamaspik of Kings County (718) 387-8400 • www.hamaspikcare.org 4102 14th Avenue They are a fiscal intermediary for those who chose to utilize the OPWDD self-direction option. HASC Center 1221 E 14th St. Brooklyn, NY 11230 (718) 942-3881 • fiservices@hasccenter.org We assist parents gain access to nontraditional services such as memberships, classes with the freedom to create a personalized array of supports and services for your loved one.


Hamaspik of Kings County (718) 387-8400 • www.hamaspikcare.org 4102 14th Avenue We guide you thru the waiver enrollment process. We Provide com hab and respite services, in home and communal settings. Site based respite that provide real learning experiences. A variety of day habilitation programs, based on the individual’s needs. Hand in Hand Family Service – TLC Program (718) 705-8291 • www.hihfs.org/tlc tlcintake@hihfs.org Community-based care for medically or emotionally fragile children. Eligibility based on diagnosis, not income. Some eligible conditions – behavior disorders, mood disorders, heart condition and chronic medical conditions. Provides Com-Hab, Respite, Day Haband Family Support Services HASC Center 1221 East 14th Street, Brooklyn (718) 535-1953 • www.hasccenter.com Providing Service coordination, afterschool children’s respite, Sunday autism program for children, individualized athome habilitation, summer camp-aftercamp for girls, 24/7 respite for children, residential homes, Yeshiva day habilitation, Bnos day habilitation, vocational placement program, supported employment, Blanche Kahn Medical Center. 44

Summer 2020

Human Care Services for Families and Children, Inc. 1042 38 Street, Brooklyn, NY 11219 (718) 854-2747 • HumanCareServices.org Guides families through the process of applying for OPWDD eligibility and services. A Service Coordinator serves as the individual and family’s mentor to help access all the services and supports needed to help enhance quality of life. HCS offers Service Coordination, Community Habilitation, Respite, Day Habilitation, Behavior Management, Family Reimbursement, among many other programs and benefits. The Jewish Board/Mishkon 1358 56th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11219 (718) 851-7100, 718-854-0454 www.jbfcs.org Provides residential programs in Brooklyn including Boro Park, Midwood, Mill Basin and the Crown Heights area. We offer community habilitation, medicaid service coordination, respite and a very generous camp scholarship program. Makor Disability Services/ Womens’s League Community ,Inc. 1556 38th St, Brooklyn, NY 11218 (718) 853-0900 makordisabilityservices.org Provides Medicaid Waiver, Community Habilitation & Respite for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities living in the community. Pesach Tikvah – Talent Center in Boro Park & Williamsburg For Boro Park (718) 840-3033 For Williamsburg (718) 875-6900 x 135 Piano, Photography, Art, Hair care/ Styling Sewing, Simcha Dance, food & cookie decorating and much more. Rayim 50 Melnick Dr., Monsey, NY 10952 (845) 782-7700 Residential Services, Self Directed Services, Family Support, Com Hab, DayHab, Respite and others. Also a new innovative DayHab program ages 15 and older. Call ext 208 at above number


Beineinu-Connecting Parents of Children with Special Needs 48 West Maple Ave., Monsey, NY 10952 (347) 743-4900 • www.Beineinu.org Parent Matching, Internet research for medical information for internet-free families, Translation of medical information into Hebrew, Zichron Yehuda Equipment Exchange, Growing International database of Resources, Information of Interest to those dealing with various special needs, Library of Chizuk and Inspirational articles, pictures and videos.


Amramp (888) 817-8804 • amramp.com Making life accessible, Be accessible to everyone Wheelchair ramps, lifts & more. Aqua Creek Product (888) 687-3552 • www.aquacreek.com The Admiral is UL Certified, offers a 450 pound weight capacity and comes standard with an adjustable seat arm providing an additional 6” of adjustment, making lateral transfers from higher wheelchairs easier. Gluten free Soap www.gfsoap.com • (701) 539-2256 Gluten free skin care and soaps. Piano Logic www.pianoforspecialneeds.org A numeric system of tonal sequences played on a keyboard to help with symptoms of autism Sleep Safe Beds Bassett, Virginia (866) 852-2337 • sleepsafebed.com Offering over 25,000 combinations of safety beds for those with special needs addressing physical and cognitive disabilities SmartKnitKIDS SMARTKNITKIDS.COM Seamless Sensitivity Products Seamless Socks, Seamless Compresso-T, Seamless Undies, Seamless Bralette Speech Pathology Associates, LLC (207) 741-2443 • www.chewytubes.com

Building Blocks Service Marketplace SCHOOLS


Bilingual Yiddish (Bi-Y) D75 (718) 531-3339 • biy75@chesedcentral.org Your child can thrive in a D75 school that is focused on their development with a common goal to help the reach their full potential. Warm devoted staff work with special needs with Autism, Down S, Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and developmental delays ages 5-21 SINAI Schools www.sinaischools.org • 855.328.9389 Multiple Elementary, Middle, and High Schools for children with a wide range of developmental, intellectual, and complex learning disabilities. Integrated within mainstream Jewish Partner schools throughout New York and New Jersey. Inclusive, yet individualized to meet each student's social, emotional, and academic needs. Recognized for educational excellence; Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation. Elementary Schools: SINAI at Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy SINAI at Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey SINAI at SAR AcademySINAI at Yeshiva of Central Queens High Schools: SINAI Maor at Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School SINAI at Heichal HaTorah

School Re-Opening Continued from Page 24

where in-person schooling is expected to resume in the fall, additional services will be offered to special education students and their families. According to reopening guidance issued by the Washington State Office of Superintendent for Public Instruction (OSPI), these will include behavioral skills training for families, as well as speech coaching and one-on-one tutoring services to students. The guidelines allow for exceptions to

SINAI Shalem at Ma'ayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls SINAI Shalem at Torah Academy of Bergen County


Yad HaChazakah –The Jewish Disability Empowerment Center (646) 723-3955 • info@yadempowers.org In-person meetings arranged throughout New York City Vicinity by appointment; Services also delivered nationally by phone, video conferencing, and email. Yad HaChazakah provides guidance, resource information, advocacy, and support networks for people with obvious or hidden disabilities and our families while we promote disability access and participation in Jewish community life. Together, we work to develop your capacities and form a network of resources to manage your home and daily living activities; date, marry, and raise children; work or volunteer; and participate fully in and contribute to your community

THERAPY & EVALUATION CENTER Dr. Imber 61-43 186th Street, Fresh Meadows, NY 516-273-1961 • scimber1@aol.com Child Advocate, Consultant and independent Educational Evaluator Education Evaluations since 1976

be made in precautions to prevent infection to accommodate a child’s individual needs. If students can’t wear a face mask because of difficulty controlling saliva, for example, a face shield could be used instead. Physical distancing could also be flexible for young or highneed students. There has been a lot of talk about the educational benefits to be derived from the experience with remote learning technology while schools were closed. Unfortunately, remote learning proved to be inad-

The 13th Child (718) 316 - 8057 rebeccabusiness13@gmail.com Autism & Behavioral Coaching. ABA, Behavioral & Social Support, Family Guidance, Academic Interventions.Tele/ Video Therapy available


Menucha’s Weekend Respite (718) 702-1529 respite@menuchaservices.org We are here to give your child a warm and loving environment for a beautiful shabbos of menucha Includes seudas shabbos, kumzitz, bnos program, special activities & toys games and fun Friday afternoon –Sunday morning, food and linen supplied and much more.

FOR MORE RESOURCES Follow us on : Building Blocks Magazine equate as a substitute for in-person learning in Special Education classrooms. Making up for what our children lost due to the failure of remote learning is the next challenge that will face the Special Needs community when schools do reopen. Yaakov Kornreich has been an Anglo-Jewish journalist for more than 40 years. He is the Senior Editor of Building Blocks and the Health & Living supplement of the Jewish Press. Yaakov Kornreich has been an Anglo-Jewish journalist for more than 40 years. He is the Senior Editor of Building Blocks and the Health & Living supplement of the Jewish Press. Summer 2020


RECRUITMENT Mishkon is looking for passionate men and women to work our residential programs.

Looking for a fun job in a great atmosphere? Hamaspik Day Hab program is looking for F/T young energetic girls to work with developmentally delayed women. Great benefits with monthly bonuses! License a must! Car provided! Call 718-302-3333 ext. 5218 or email Hlang@hamaspikkings.org

Available positions include: RN Case Manager P/T Residence Manager F/T QIDP P/T Flatbush, Boro Park, Crown Heights and Mill Basin locations Competitive salary and excellent benefits packages

Mishkon is looking for passionate men and women to work in our community habilitation program. Positions available in throughout Brooklyn and Staten Island. Flexible hours, competitive salary and excellent benefits packages. Please send your resume to mishkonrecruit@jbfcs.org

To Advertise in this Section Contact


718.330.1100 x372 or davidh@jewishpress.com

Jumpstart Early Intervention is Seeking: Assistant Teacher for Centerbased Program

Special Education Therapist for Homebased Program to work with children ages 0-3 in their homes. ABA experience a plus. NYS certified required Email resume: Mdavis@jumpstarteip.com Phone: 347-390-1224


I'm Loving the Crafts JUNIOR


HCS is seeking a full time junior accountant to join our financeI'm department. Loving Communicationthe skills, computer Crafts HCS PARTNERS WITH knowledge, and strong KIDDIE COVE TO organizational skills required.S ENS O RY ACTI VI TI BRING YOU R CHILD A ‫בס"ד‬





URED AND FU N-FILLED Office experience a must. BRING YOUR C H ILD A













HASC Center, an agency that has been on the leading edge of providing care for the Jewish special needs population, is looking for staff to partner with us in making a difference. HASC provides full training, a fulfilling work experience, a warm and friendly work environment and excellent benefits.





Please email resume GEARED TO THE SPECIFICto: AGES 2-9











Summer 2020 AGES 2-9




Available Staff Positions (Elementary & High Schools)


(Must have Masters in Special Education)

• Art Therapist • Teacher Assistant/Aide

We pride ourselves in creating a supportive, happy work environment. Ask any member of our team and you’ll see why! SCHOOL LOCATIONS Queens and Riverdale in New York Livingston, River Edge, and Teaneck in New Jersey




We are actively investing in building our stellar special education staff for the 2020-21 academic year!





RECRUITMENT We are hiring! Entry-level and managerial positions available Must have excellent communication and computer skills, ability to multi task and strong attention to detail Full time position only

is looking for a

Send resume to resumes@hihfs.org

Please email resumes to: work@sinaischools.org

Qualified minorities and/or women are encouraged to apply, EEO.

SINAI Elementary at YCQ opening this Fall!

Follow us on

during the day

Building Blocks Magazine

motivated woman or girl to assist a young lady

: www.sinaischools.org

Are you interested in making a difference?

(in the Monsey area). Please call 845-782-7700 ext. 402 for more info.

Join Us for

Our Fall Issue of • Work from Home Challenges for Parents • Self Care for Parents Amidst Covid-19 • Too much Togetherness: Navigating Family Conflicts During Covid 19 • Keeping Kids with Disabilities Safe • Sensory challenges of Using PPE • Coping with Disrupted Routines • Help Your Child Socialize Safely • Play Therapy via Telehealth • Parenting During a Pandemic

For More Information E-mail: sales@buildingblocksmagazine.com or Call 718.330.1100 x352 Summer 2020



ANNOUNCING OUR LATEST SERVICE FOR THE COMMUNITY Exceptional home and community-based care for medically or emotionally fragile children. Eligibility is based on a child’s current diagnosis, not income.

SOME ELIGIBLE CONDITIONS: Behavior Disorders SERVICES: Community Habilitation

Mood Disorders Respite

Heart Conditions

Day Habilitation

Chronic Medical Conditions

Family Supports & Services

Everyone deserves some

Call: 718.705.8291

Email: tlcintake@hihfs.org

Visit: www.hihfs.org/tlc

Profile for JewishPress.com

BB July Summer 2020  

BB July Summer 2020  

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