Posts by SINAI Staff

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...
By Dr. Karen Wasserman on Jul 7, 2014
Summertime! Par­ents around the world breathe a sigh of relief as the everyday stress­es of long school days, hectic schedules, and tense nights of homework ease up. Yet, at the same time, many parents hesitate to complete­ly relax during the prolonged summer school break, especially if their children have learning difficulties or disabilities.We are all familiar with the studies that show that children experience a natural re­gression of academic skills during the sum­mer months due to being out of school. But how can parents minimize this regression and keep their...
By Rabbi Dr. Yisrael Rothwachs on Mar 13, 2014
At this time each year, while I anticipate the joy and celebration of Purim, I also commemorate the yahrtzeits of two of my students – Ari Seidenfeld, A”H (11 Adar 5765/2005) and Aharon Halley, A”H (12 Adar 5768/2008).  The pain I feel over losing them will never go away, but over time I have achieved a sense of nechama – comfort.  Our rabbis teach us that the shoresh, root, of the word “nechama” comes from the word nachem, which refers to a change in perspective.  Through this etymological insight, the Torah teaches us that true consolation results from a change of perspective...
By Esther Klavan on Dec 2, 2013
As both a parent and educator, I find myself using the phrase, “What’s your plan?” countless times throughout the week. Whether in response to my own child remarking that he left his math textbook at school and cannot do his homework, or a student coming to let me know that he has two Shabbatonim on the same weekend, my response is typically, “What’s your plan?”These simple words are empowering. They inherently validate the individual’s concern or dilemma by virtue of merely being heard, and simultaneously shift the responsibility back on him to become a problem solver. Quite often the...
By Judith Karp, Associate Dean on Nov 3, 2013
I got in the car after school and with a sense of dread, turned on the news station. It was just a few days after the Nevada Middle School shooting and I needed my daily dose of traffic reports to make it home.I soon heard that there was another violent incident in a Middle School in Massachusetts and my heart sank. A Middle School student stabbed a 24 year old beloved teacher and dragged her body into the woods behind the school.Lately the tragic stories of senseless acts of violence seem to occur on a daily basis.What is going on? Is it the ubiquitous exposure to violence that has caused...

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