Our Way Sponsors Program Addressing Challenges for Deaf Families with Teens

22 Feb 2008


Communication between family members is hard enough when everyone is blessed with hearing, but for families with deaf or hard of hearing members, it is even more difficult, especially when those families include pre-teens or teens. Recognizing this, Our Way, a program of the Orthodox Union’s The National Jewish Council for Disabilities, is co-sponsoring a free program addressing the challenges facing families with deaf and hard of hearing members during the pre-teen and teen years. It will be held on Sunday, March 9, 9:00 a.m to 1:00 p.m., at the Yatzkin Center, 17 Duryea Place, in Brooklyn.

Our Way for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is dedicated to providing resources, services, and social programming for members of the Jewish population who are deaf and hard of hearing.

The F.E.G.S. Health and Human Services System will also be a co-sponsor.

The program will feature two keynote speakers, Dr. Rona Novick and Steven Lependorf. Dr. Novick is a psychologist and assistant professor at the Azrieli School of Education of Yeshiva University, where she teaches courses in counseling and guidance techniques. She will be speaking about the general social and psychological issues affecting families with pre-teens and teenagers.

Mr. Lependorf, principal of Brooklyn’s Shaare Torah yeshiva, is a certified family therapist who specializes in working with deaf and hard of hearing families. He will be speaking about how certain social and psychological issues manifest themselves specifically in families with deaf or hard of hearing members. Both speeches will be fully interpreted in American Sign Language.

Our Way Program Director Batya Jacob declared, “Our goal is to begin to address needs facing our deaf families that are not being met by typical programs dealing with pre-teen and teen issues. We believe that there are specific challenges with communication between family members when some are hearing-impaired and some are not.”

Mrs. Jacob added that she hopes that the upcoming program, which is the first of its kind, will become an annual event. “We hope to combat some of the at-risk behavior children often exhibit when communication between family members is strained,” she said.

A follow-up program for children in deaf and hard of hearing families, which will include pizza, bowling, and a teen chat moderated by Lea Koplowitz, a social worker who specializes in deaf and hard of hearing families, is being planned. The date of this program will be announced shortly.

Reservations are encouraged but not necessary. For further information and to RSVP to this event, contact Batya Jacobs at jacobb@ou.org or 212-613-8127.