Yachad Spring Conference for Professionals to be held March 12 in Brooklyn

11 Mar 2013


Yachad | Jewish Disabilities Inclusion/NJCD will present its “Spring 2013 Conference For Mental Health and Disability Professionals and Educators” from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 12. The free conference, including lunch, is open to agencies from across the Greater New York Metropolitan area and will take place at the Yachad/JUF Day Hab Without Walls, 1122 Coney Island Avenue (second floor) in Brooklyn. Attendees will receive a certificate of completion on clinical, behavioral and family-related topics.

Yachad/The National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD), an agency of the Orthodox Union, is dedicated to enhancing the opportunities of Jewish individuals with disabilities, promoting Inclusion and independence through various integrated activities and ensuring their participation in the full spectrum of Jewish life.

The Spring Conference was the vision of Yachad National Director Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman to serve as a training for service coordinators, and vocational, educational, residential, and counseling professionals to share information in the field. Licensed psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, professional advocates and service coordinators are already registered to attend.

“The Yachad/NJCD Spring Conference has been successfully held in the past, and has proven to be a great opportunity to network with different agencies in an environment conducive to exchanging our professional knowledge with our colleagues in the field,” stated Dr. Lichtman. “One client may have multiple service providers and we interact constantly, as we all want to provide the best services for our clients.”

Concurrent workshops of small groups will focus on all stages of life: special education topics and challenges; engaging families with challenges in diverse services; Inclusive summer camp options to meet the needs of the individual; effective advocacy on the micro/macro levels; individual/family/group clinical interventions across diverse disabilities; vocation and pre-vocational training; securing job placements; finding the right social programming for children and adults with disabilities.

According to Conference Coordinator and Yachad Senior Social Worker Deborah Berman, LCSW, the first session will offer practical techniques to engage and empower complicated family systems. “The key to success for clients is engaging family members as well—and doing it with respect and love and keeping in mind that they are the experts on their own families. Our role is to collaborate with and support the entire family,” she said.

Dr. Deborah Mann, director of Yachad’s IVDU Schools (kindergarten thru age 21), will give a presentation for teachers and school clinicians on setting of goals and monitoring the achievement of those goals across various disciplines.

“A school is very multi-disciplinary—with teachers, counselors, psychologists, teacher’s assistants—and we want to help them to figure out how they can work as a team to make sure that everyone is on the same page,” emphasized Deborah Berman. “The training we are providing as part of the Yachad Spring Conference focuses on educating service providers on how to formulate goals that are realistic for the client, with practical implementations of interventions to help meet those goals so students succeed. It’s also imperative that the clients’ family be included every step of the way so that together we address how to meet those goals year after year, and changing those goals as the student grows and succeeds.”

The conference will also include a lecture panel moderated by Jack Gourdji , executive director of the Jewish Union Federation (JUF),whose mission is to enhance the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities, by supporting their effort to become as independent and as productive in society as possible; and Michael Applebaum, director of Yachad’s Day Hab program, on practical, real-life skills to succeed in the work place and social settings.

Additionally, Psychologist and Yachad National Director of Summer Programs Dr. Joe Golfarb, with Nechama Braun, administrator of Yachad Summer Programs, will focus on summer camp and program options—what programs are available; and which of many summer programs would be right for any given individual with their own unique set of challenges, special needs, and abilities.

To register for the conference, contact Deborah Berman at bermand@ou.org or call 212.613.8229.

OU | Enhancing Jewish Life