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By Erika Svolos, Music Therapist on May 12, 2017
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. Music Therapy enhances and supports students’ ability to effectively communicate with others.  Music has been a form of communication from the beginning of time.  In music therapy, we use experiences like music making, music creation, and singing to provide our students with new ways to express their thoughts...
By Rina Hirsch, Therapeutic Drama Teacher on May 2, 2017
As part of our Therapeutic Drama class at SINAI’s Shalem High School at Heichal HaTorah, the students created a short play about Babe Ruth.  Not only did they learn about the history of Babe Ruth, but they also focused on reading and speaking clearly, social skills, drama, and they were introduced to video editing.  A lot of work was involved in this project and we are very proud of their efforts.  We look forward to additional performances by our SINAI students!
By Rabbi Dr. Yisrael Rothwachs, Dean on May 1, 2017
Parenting is complicated. I remember how naive I was as a younger parent and less-experienced educator, thinking that it was simple—wondering how parents could do this or their children behave like that. Over time, though, I’ve grown to appreciate how nuanced parenting is and how many variables are at play. The typical complexity of parenting is only compounded further when there is disability at play. In general, it is acutely difficult to generalize good parenting advice, all the more so to share meaningful suggestions for parents of children with special needs. With very rare exceptions,...
By Debby Mann Adler on Apr 25, 2017
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. We all know Facebook posts are not reflective of reality. While it may look like Jacob’s life is one big party, the truth is that the majority of his time he is bored and...
By Dr. Karen N. Wasserman, School Psychologist on Apr 3, 2017
            The feelings leading up to Pesach---or any family and holiday meal---can bring either excitement or trepidation and fear, all depending on the lens you have and your particular cast of characters. Add an individual who has special needs into the mix, and everything is magnified.  In these circumstances, the key to a successful holiday is planning.  Whether you are hosting the entire family for all eight days of Pesach or spending the holiday away from home, the more you plan and the more you talk it through with your...
By Frada Stone, LCSW, Assistant Director, SINAI Maor High School at RKYHS on Mar 15, 2017
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. In addition, we work with our staff as a...
By Penina Simon, Director of Educational Technology on Mar 9, 2017
As an educator, I strive to think about the actions I have taken in the past and how they have affected my students, fellow teachers and myself. I previously thought that my talents and abilities were simply fixed traits. If I am talented in a certain area, why do I need to work to improve it? Further, if I do try and fail, then what? For instance, I have a passion in using educational technology to engage, enhance and extend student learning. I have had the pleasure of working as the director of educational technology at SINAI Schools since August. Many of my colleagues will often ask me, “...
By Ilana Chill on Mar 7, 2017
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. I have three other children who often get a combined twenty five percent of my attention--but who are rarely resentful of that,...
By Joanne Palmer on Feb 14, 2017
You have a baby who’s born prematurely. You worry and you worry and then you worry some more; you know that outcomes vary widely, and you don’t know what to expect. By six months, you know that whatever the percentages are, you haven’t beaten them. Your child — say your son, let’s say his name is Jacob — has cerebral palsy. You already know that you love this child as deeply, as thoroughly, as fiercely, as you love your older son, who does not face Jacob’s challenges, and as much as you later love your two younger sons. You know that you have to do everything possible to protect him,...
By Elizabeth Kratz on Feb 14, 2017
The word is out, all over the tri-state area. There is an inestimable impact on families when their child with special needs gets the right help. Often, parents can’t resist telling others about their experience, while others merely want to shout it from the rooftops. Families who seek a Jewish day-school education for their child with special needs are hearing more and more often from other parents about SINAI Schools. Starting 35 years ago as a single elementary-school program in the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy in Livingston, SINAI Schools now operates in partnership with six schools:...

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