Yachad 25th Annual Family Shabbaton, May 13-15

05 May 2011


Continuing with a tradition more than two decades in the making, Yachad | Jewish Disabilities Integration will host its 25th Annual Family Shabbaton for families with children with special needs, from Friday, May 13 through Sunday, May 15. The event will take place at the Hudson Valley Resort and Spa in Kerhonkson, in New York’s Catskill Mountains. The weekend will feature dynamic guest speakers and delicious meals, along with programs for children, teens and singles — including lively Saturday night entertainment.

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.

“The retreat will celebrate 25 years of supporting families,” declared Family Shabbaton Coordinator Chani Herrmann, Director of New Jersey Yachad. “The Yachad Family Shabbaton is an uplifting, inspiring and informative weekend for families who have children with special needs. Top professionals in the field of disabilities spend their whole weekend giving strength to these families and empowering them with information that can help all their children. Lives are literally changed at the Shabbaton and families make connections with other families from across the U.S.”

With an anticipated attendance of more than 600 from all over the country, including parents, children and staff, the Shabbaton will feature workshops with cutting edge responses to Autism, Down Syndrome and other neurological impairments. Other topics include educational interventions; vocational training; residential opportunities; promoting social skills development; and dating and marriage support groups. There will be a day camp on premise.

Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, National Director of Yachad/NJCD, remarked, “The Family Shabbaton bespeaks its name — the Yachad Family comes together, 600-plus strong. Yachad members, together with their parents and siblings, joined by Yachad staff, spending a weekend together like no other — a weekend to celebrate the successes of each individual Yachad member, to support one another, to laugh and cry B’Yachad (together). Just as important, our fabulous staff, joined by leading experts, present cutting-edge interventions and up-to-date information to support planning for the years ahead. If you have a family member with a disability, this is the one weekend you must attend!”

Down Syndrome expert Dr. Karen Summar will give two presentations, “Keeping Individuals with Down Syndrome Healthy: All the Medical Updates that Parents Need to Know about Alzheimer’s Disease” and “The Mental Health of Individuals with Down Syndrome — What is Healthy and What is Not?”

Asperger specialist Dr. Shuli Sandler will give a session on Autism, “Fostering Positive Social Opportunities for My Child,” with expertise added by Dr. Lichtman and Dr. Mark Freilich. Dr. Norman Blumenthal, Director of Chai Lifeline’s Crisis Intervention Department, will address “Maintaining a Healthy Family Life with a Special Needs Child.”

Other workshop sessions include “Demystifying What Sensory Integration is All About;” “Transitioning to Adulthood;” “The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: What Does ‘Free and Appropriate Education’ Mean and What Other Protections and Guarantees are Provided Under the IDEA?” as well as sessions for adult, teen and pre-teen siblings.

A parent who attended last year’s Shabbaton wrote to Yachad, “Thank you for allowing my family to participate in the Shabbaton and for the generous scholarship we received in order to make it a reality. We feel energized by the Shabbaton and can’t wait until the next one.”

For more information and to apply, visit www.yachad.org or contact Chani Herrmann at 917.885.7178 or {encode=”mailto:herrmann@ou.org” title=”herrmann@ou.org”}.

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