Food for Thought

Jobs for People with Special Needs

For at least 25 years now, Joseph Freedland of Fair Lawn has been hiring people with special needs to help in the production and packaging of shower curtains and hospital curtains at Hospi-Tel in East Orange.

The family business, founded by his father and uncle and now owned by his brother David, has eight to 10 such people working in the factory at any given time. Two of them have been with the company 20-plus years.

"Prayers from my Heart" Really Came from Three Hearts

When I was a younger man, and the father of a small child with special needs, I found that there were certain prayers that I said with more “kavanah” – deeper intention and feeling.   

One of those prayers was “Birkat Hachodesh,” the prayer said on the Sabbath before the beginning of each new month, in which we ask God that the upcoming month should bring blessings -- and all good things.    

Reflections on Graduation

What a bittersweet time!

It feels like we just started at SINAI, and now M is graduating. Where did the time go?

It is truly exciting to see M grow from a 9th grader, afraid to go to a baseball game, to a more confident and engaging young man who is self assured and cannot speak enough good about his high school experience. His growth in this period of time is in no small part to each of you. Thank you seems too insignificant to really express our gratitude.

Five Amazing Ways Music Therapy Can Help Children with Special Needs

Music therapy is a highly effective evidenced-based tool in the treatment of children and adolescents with special needs.  SINAI’s own board certified music therapist, Erika Svolos, shares five ways she sees Music Therapy support and help our SINAI students each day.

Just Be a Friend

Although by nature I am a private person, I share highlights of Jacob's life on social media for various reasons. I want people to realize how easy certain obstacles are for him to overcome, or how difficult seemingly simple tasks can be for him to accomplish. I want him to be able to look back at how fearless and amazing he is, and most importantly, I want people to see how easy it is for them to deeply impact others.

Social Thinking

At SINAI’s Maor High School at the Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School, an important part of our students’ growth is in the social/emotional domain. While our Maor students focus most of their day on academics covering a college preparatory high school curriculum, they benefit significantly from our social skills program that addresses their challenges in navigating social interactions appropriately and effectively. Both Mrs. Pesha New and I use our training as social workers to implement Maor’s social skills curriculum in group and individual settings.

A Silver Linings Life - Speech Delivered by Ilana Chill at the 2017 SINAI Dinner

I have a silver linings kind of life.

We, as a family, grapple with some enormous challenges, sometimes on a daily basis. We constantly have to make allowances and adjustments and modifications that other families don't ever have to consider. But, because of all that, I think we're probably closer than most families.

I have a son who struggles in so many ways, but who approaches life with joy and wit and humor, and is capable of so much more than he lets on.

Bat Mitzvah Story

I was honored to be invited to the Bat Mitzvah of one of our students a few weeks ago, a girl who has the most beautiful face and angelic smile. She has tremendous difficulty making eye contact—I wonder how the photos will come out, because she usually can’t even look at a camera to take a picture. And she has a lot of difficulty putting her words together. She speaks very softly—at just over a whisper, and often struggles to find the words she is looking for.

Testimonial From A SINAI Parent

Another beautiful note from a happy mother, as her son settles into high school at SINAI:

Just want to let you all know that L is doing absolutely amazing, he exceeded all my expectations! We are already talking about the possibility of mainstreaming him to his first academic class, way ahead of schedule. I have NEVER seen him so ecstatically happy! He told me yesterday "I think things are finally looking up for me."