It was a hard start to the year. After a summer of unstructured fun and relaxation, our son was having difficulty adjusting back to the rigors of school. Honestly, “difficulty” is a bit of an understatement. Frequent outbursts, total disorganization and unwillingness to comply with directions made his presence in the classroom impossible. And yet, with tremendous hard work and dedication, Torah Academy (TA) makes it possible. How do they do it?
All classes at TA are inclusive, which means students with special needs, like my son, are taught alongside their neurotypical peers. For this to work, strong support needs to be in place behind the scenes.
As early as pre-K, his experienced teachers picked up on behaviors that might be red flags. At such a young age, it was possible that his aversion to noise, social difficulty and processing delays were things he would simply outgrow. However, they encouraged me to get the evaluation process started.
Mrs. Dina Feldman and Mrs. Chana Wallach, the directors of student support, were integral in helping us navigate the individualized education program (IEP) process. Sure enough, after being evaluated, our son received a formal IEP that qualified him for support services from the public school system.
Through TA’s partnership with Gateways: Access to Jewish Education, our son receives excellent occupational therapy and academic support funded by the state. This means his therapy happens at TA, eliminating the disruption of traveling to an assigned public school, all at no cost to us.
Even with this support, our son is still a puzzle. However, it’s a puzzle we know we don’t have to solve on our own. There is a team of talented educators and special educators standing beside us. With regular meetings, creative solutions and enormous patience and positivity, our son gets to experience successes each day and gets the uncompromising Jewish education we want for him.
I will forever be grateful for the support we receive at Torah Academy.
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