Yachad to Present Annual “What Now? Conference” for Adults with Special Needs, 2/24

12 Feb 2009

Navigating the maze of the numerous issues involved with caring for a person with special needs can be overwhelming. To help rectify that, Yachad/The National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD) will present its second annual “What Now? Conference: Everything you Need to Know about Programs and Services for Adults with Special Needs,” to inform parents and professionals of adults with special needs about the various resources available to them.

The conference will take place on Tuesday, February 24, from 9:30 am-3:00 pm, at OU Headquarters in New York. It is being coordinated by Dr. Michelle Orgel, Family and Clinical Services Coordinator of Yachad.

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.

Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, National Director of NJCD, declared, “Parenting is the single most difficult job that any adult can have. To be the parent of a child with special needs is that much more difficult. Transitioning a child into the Adult Disabilities system can be fraught with anxiety, frustration, and new challenges for parents. The Yachad/NJCD annual ‘What Now Conference” was designed to meet those challenges, and to bring parents and agencies together to help parents learn how to navigate this new system. This is just one more example of the unique and cutting edge programs and services that Yachad/NJCD provides to families and their children who have special needs.”

At the conference and resource fair, representatives from many leading agencies that serve adults with learning and developmental disabilities will be present. Although the agencies won’t be exclusively Jewish, there will be many that cater to the Jewish population with disabilities.

Additionally, The New York State Department of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities, The New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, and the New York City Transit Authority will have tables open throughout the daylong conference to provide information about the services they offer.

There will be three workshops throughout the day, addressing:
• Benefits and Entitlements for Adults with Special Needs;
• Day Programs and Vocational Opportunities for Young Adults With Special Needs, and
• Panel Discussion on Residences: How to Choose a Residence in a Changing World?

Other issues that will be addressed are deciding which day program is right for each young adult; what vocational opportunities exist; information on food stamps and transportation; and available services to help families.

The workshop is free for parents; there is a $50 fee for agencies which wish to participate in the resource fair. Light refreshments will be served, and lunch will be available for purchase.

To reserve a spot or for more information, contact Dr. Orgel at 212-613-8127 or orgelm@ou.org.