New Jersey Yachad and the International Jewish Resource Center for Inclusion and Special Education will present a two-day conference for educators and parents, Sunday, February 8 and Monday, February 9 at Congregation Keter Torah in Teaneck, NJ. The synagogue is located at 600 Roemer Avenue.
The conference is composed of two parts: On Sunday, the Yachad Parents’ Conference: Ensuring that Every Child Belongs, will be held from 12:00 noon to 8:00 p.m., followed on Monday by Toward Successful Inclusive Classroom Environments from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Sunday conference is for parents and siblings as well as educators; educators will participate both days.
“Yachad,” the flagship program of the Orthodox Union’s National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD), provides unique social, educational and recreational programs for individuals with learning, developmental and physical disabilities with the goal of their Inclusion in the total life of the Jewish community.
The dual program is coordinated by Batya Jacob, director of the International Jewish Resource Center for Inclusion and Special Education, which is a division of Yachad. “I can think of no better way to foster the partnership between home and school than to invite parents and educators to meet together and learn about effective education for diverse learners,” Mrs. Jacob declared. “Beginning the conversation between these essential elements of our children’s education will ensure the creation of effective and appropriate education for all learners.”
The keynote speaker on Sunday will be Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, international director of Yachad/The National Jewish Council for Disabilities. In “How to Foster Constructive Relationships Between Educators and Families,” he will provide strategies for both educators and parents to bridge the gaps between them and to create and maintain working relationships with each other.
The Monday keynoter is Dr. Edward Hallowell, practicing child and adult psychiatrist, founder of the Hallowell Centers for Cognitive and Emotional Health, and former instructor at Harvard Medical School. He will speak on “The Childhood Faces of ADHD” and give the keynote summation, “Creating Connections in a Disconnected Culture.”
Other featured speakers over the two days include Beth Aune, owner-therapist of Desert Occupational Therapy for Kids, Inc., a pediatric outpatient clinic in Palm Desert, CA; Dr. Robin Brewer, associate professor in the Division of Special Education at the University of Northern Colorado and president of the Council for Exceptional Children; Dr. Kathy Johnson, who provides professional development on Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Dysgraphia through Premier Education Solutions and CMI Education Institute, to schools and to private clinics and institutions; Michelle Mintz, LCSW, who is Yachad’s group and intern social work supervisor.
Also, Rabbi Naphtali Hoff, who provides professional development and consulting services to day schools and yeshivot throughout the country; Deborah Gardner, an innovative educator with broad-based experience as a teach, tutor and consultant in the Boston area; Amy Eisenberg, director of Kulanu’s Keren Eliana Parent Advocacy and Resource Center in Cedarhurst, NY; Keith Burns, school building leader for Kulanu Academy; Lauren Portella, New York State-certified special education teacher for children from birth through grade 12; Beth Raskin, executive director of Kulanu; Shira Richman, consultant with the Institute for Children with Autism; Penina Rybak, expert in speech-language pathology; Gary Shulman, program director for the organization Social Services for Children with Special Needs; Dr. Jill Slansky, consultant in literacy for organizations in Oregon; and Esther Weinstein, specialist in providing innovative services for individuals with disabilities, currently practicing on Long Island.
Sunday Workshops include:
- Why Does My Child Struggle in School? with Kathy Johnson
- Promoting Social Skills with Your Children, with Michelle Mintz
- Hope and Help for the Home, with Beth Aune
- The Importance of Teaching Social Skills to Your Children with ASD, with Dr. Robin Brewer; and
- A dinner panel – Educators and Parents, Let’s Talk.
In addition, Chani Herrmann, director of New Jersey Yachad, will conduct a series of “Sibshops,” workshops for siblings of children with special needs, for siblings 7-12 years old.
Monday workshops will include sessions on:
- Apps, with Penina Ryback (three sessions)
- Success in reading, with Dr. Johnson
- Limudei Kodesh (Jewish studies), with Rabbi Hoff
- Vocabulary teaching, with Dr. Slansky
- Sensory processing, with Beth Aune
- ABA therapy, with Shira Richman
- Supportive services for parents, with Gary Shulman
- Literary strategies for students Autism Spectrum Disorders, with Dr. Brewer
- Ask the Experts
- ADHD, with Dr. Hallowell
- From dysgraphia to success, with Dr. Johnson
- Social skills, with Dr. Lichtman
- Hebrew reading skills, with Deborah Gardner
- Schedules, with Shira Richman
- Transition: student to young adult, with Amy Eisenberg and Esther Weinstein
- Social skills for students with ASD, with Dr. Brewer
- The literary classroom, with Dr. Slansky
- Learning issues in the inclusive classroom, with Dr. Lichtman
- Strategies for school setting, with Beth Aune
- Art and critical thinking skills, with Deborah Gardner
- We All Belong!, with Gary Shulman
- Positive classroom management, with Lauren Portella and Keith Burns
- Behavior intervention strategies for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders, with Dr. Brewer.
To register, contact www.yachad.org/specialedconference. The fee for parents is $36 per person or $50 per family. The fee for educators is $120 per educator for one day and $160 for both days.