Posts by SINAI Staff

By Esther Klavan, Director of Shalem High School for Boys at TABC on Apr 27, 2016
This article is modified from a speech introducing the SINAI Shalem boys’ performance of The Wizard of Oz on April 12, 2016. The students began preparation for the show in September, and spent months leading up to the single performance for their friends and family.   One of our famous mantras here at SINAI Shalem High School is the phrase, “It’s not about cutting bread.” These are 5 simple, comprehensible words that mean so much more. To us, they represent the philosophy by which we design every learning experience. It is about process, not product. So where does this phrase...
By Debra Kammerman, LCSW on Sep 24, 2015
With the start of the new school year and the approaching chagim, September is an exciting time. However, for parents—and particularly for parents of a child with special needs—it can also be uniquely challenging and daunting. Your children, whether they are starting at a new school or are returning students, have a lot to balance during this time of year. They are acclimating to their school routine—a different schedule, more structure and increased expectations. Additionally, you are dealing with the extra demands of preparing for the chagim. It may seem that just as you have begun to...
By Dena Mayerfeld, LDTC on Aug 28, 2015
The monarch butterfly is one example of a species that practices return migration. This process of revisiting a place that one has lived in before is also called homing, according to a Scholastic Science Exploration article. These animals use navigation strategies and prepare for their journey months in advance. Scientists are awed by the skill that these animals display in order to return to exactly the same location year after year.As a parent and educator, I am similarly fascinated by the return of our children to school each year. For some, it is an easy seasonal trip. However, many...
By Rabbi Dr. Yisrael Rothwachs on Aug 27, 2015
Let’s start with the fundamental belief that children with disabilities and special needs should be full members of a larger “mainstream” community.  Although the term “inclusion” means different things to different people, in its purest sense, this is what inclusion is all about.Equality and kindness certainly are prominent values of both American and Jewish cultures.  Yet the truth is that an educational model promoting pure equality, rather than unity, is one that can sometimes force a “square peg into a round hole.”  Viewing inclusion through the lens of equality, educators...
By Rachael Weisenfeld on Jun 18, 2015
Teaching at SINAI, a school well known for its “Uniquely Special Education,” is an incredible privilege. Those of us lucky enough to work here are blessed with the opportunity to witness the small miracles that take place at SINAI on a daily basis. Every teacher takes pride in the success of his or her students, but those of us who teach children with learning disabilities or special needs feel a deep admiration not only of our students’ accomplishments, but of the efforts they undertake in getting there.During the final days of the school year, I take the time to reflect with each of my...
By Diane Robertson on Nov 18, 2014
“Preparation is the key to success.”  We hear this phrase over and over, but it is particularly true for the student with disabilities who is planning to go to college.  In “Planning for College: Eligibility and Access to Disability Services,” published in The Jewish Link on November 6, I discussed the importance of researching the services available at different colleges, and eligibility for and access to these services.  In this article, I will discuss the accommodations that may or may not be available to students with Learning Disabilities (LD) and ADHD.  Colleges...
By Diane Robertson on Nov 10, 2014
Every high schooler finds the adjustment to post-secondary institutions anxiety provoking and full of challenges. But for the student with disabilities, preparation for this next stage in life requires additional consideration and planning. The student who was entitled to certain accommodations and modifications in high school needs to know what rights he or she will have in college and how to access those rights; knowledge and preparation are the keys to success in this transition. Students with disabilities can receive accommodations at college, but students’ IEPs have no legal bearing...
By Abigail Klein Leichman on Oct 5, 2014
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.“This has become very important to me,” said Mr. Freedland, the company’s vice president for production. “We started by hiring a few people with challenges to do unskilled labor...
By Shira Greenland Wiesenberg on Sep 1, 2014
With her flowing blond hair, saddle boots, and tattoo, Brooke – a consulting Occupational Therapist – was probably not expecting the challenge I posed to her the day she arrived at our school. “Avi needs your help learning to put on his tefillin,” I said, handing her a mess of boxes and straps that Brooke might have wished came with arrows indicating “This Side Up.” Addressing her unspoken concerns, I continued. “The teacher will show you how they are supposed to go. What we need from you is to figure out why Avi cannot seem to make them work.” For Brooke, this was likely a first. For...
By Rabbi Dr. Yisrael Rothwachs on Jul 24, 2014
Yaakov* started Pre-K at his local yeshiva day school when he was 4 years old, following in his older siblings’ footsteps.  His parents were thrilled with the school, where the opportunities for spiritual, academic and social growth were plentiful and their older children had made lots of friends.  But by the time Yaakov reached Kindergarten, his teachers were concerned.  It was not unusual for some children to mature more slowly than others, but Yaakov was also becoming increasingly introverted and rigid.  With each year that passed, the social, emotional and academic...

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