Helping Hebrew Schools Serve Special-needs Kids

February 3, 2009

Source: New Jersey Jewish News


The Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County has launched a program that aims to make special education consultancy services available to every area synagogue religious school. The project opened on Jan. 18, 2009 with a professional development conference for school administrators and teachers. At the conference, held at the East Brunswick Jewish Center, 50 attending educators were given tips for adapting their curricula and other approaches for integrating special-needs children in their programs.


In her keynote address, Wendy Dratler, a special education consultant, highlighted the need for sensitivity when dealing with special-needs children. She spoke of a “team cooperation” approach encompassing parents, principals, and teachers.


The issue of approaches to learning-disabled children has become more prominent as reported rates of autism have risen sharply in recent years, especially in New Jersey, said Dratler. Others problems, such as attention deficit disorder/hyperactivity, have also become more prominent, forcing schools to come to grips with how best to help students learn.


The conference was an outgrowth of a Federation meeting convened last year to determine what needed to be focused on in Jewish education. It was decided to focus on how best to educate special-needs children.


The next phase of the program will be implemented in the months to come, with special education consultants working with individual teachers at the direction of the principals.

Updated: Feb. 11, 2009