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.
Food for Thought
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."
As the recent school year drew to a close, for my future students joining us in the inaugural year of the SINAI Shalem High School for Boys at Heichal HaTorah, the excitement of summer was mixed with emotions as they began to actualize the meaning of their past four high school years at SINAI Shalem at TABC.
There are no words that can adequately describe our appreciation for all that SINAI has done for our daughter Mindy, this year. We marvel at how much she has grown and developed, and we know that is due in large part to your amazing administration and staff. Mindy’s team of teachers and therapists worked tirelessly with the administrators to customize a program that would meet our daughter's specific needs. All of this was accomplished with an unbelievable level of warmth, patience and acceptance, and with consistent feedback on her progress.
Tuvia, a shy and unassuming teenager at our SINAI Shalem High School at TABC, continues to exceed our expectations. Tuvia arrived in high school three years ago having made amazing strides in SINAI’s elementary and middle schools at JKHA, but he still had significant anxiety and was extremely resistant to breaking out of his routine. With years of support, encouragement, and careful introduction to new experiences, Tuvia has broken out of his shell.
"To all of Doni's teachers at SINAI---
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.
We really appreciate hearing from our parents! This mom shared the following with us, which made our day:
"A special needs education doesn't necessarily have to be an easy or slow-paced education. I can't believe the leaps and strides my 2nd grader is making at SINAI Schools. Unbelievable. The teachers are unflappable and relentless in the most loving way. My daughter is learning new concepts all the time that stun my husband and me. We're so proud of her growth. She's absolutely flourishing at SINAI. Can't say enough good things."
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.