We like to assume that by Chanukah, children should be settling into school, well on their way to achieving social and academic success. But some children are still not settled. Some children have not yet stepped foot into school at all this year.
Chaim V’Chessed’s Special Education and Children’s Therapies department, directed by Mrs. D’vora Grossbaum and Mrs. Faigy Gugenheim, is the address for countless English-speaking families struggling to understand the varied special educational settings available for their children and how to access them. Parents receive expert advice and assistance through every stage of the evaluation and placement process, with individualized guidance and step-by-step followup.
This month, we present a sample of recent Special Education & Children’s Therapies activities. The stories you’ll find bear testimony to the dedication and determination of our wonderful staff, who believe that every child deserves the opportunity to thrive.
Dina* had been through various evaluations in hitpatchut hayeled, and her school was strongly recommending a special education setting. But she had missed all the deadlines for placement meetings. Without any other option, her parents applied anyway for a vaadat charigah.
It was already after Sukkos by the time Dina’s story reached its happy ending. Her parents found Chaim V’Chessed, and there were miracles. With the help of Chaim V’Chessed, Dina was finally placed in an optimal setting.
School had begun, but Baila’s* daughter, who has learning disabilities and language difficulties, was floundering. Baila barely even knew what help her daughter was entitled to in the first place! Chaim V’Chessed made contact with the supervisor in charge, then guided Baila through all her daughter’s entitlements and how to utilize them.
Malky Fine’s* teacher said she needed emotional therapy immediately. Her parents were pressed for time but clueless. Chaim V’Chessed referred them to a therapist that could both work with both Malky and her teacher. The Fines also received step-by-step instructions on the application for reimbursement from their kupat cholim for the therapy.
David* attends a special education gan that is far away from his house. Due to a technical mistake in the municipality, he was not deemed eligible for the subsidized hasa’ah. His mother could not communicate with the supervisor of transportation. She was forced to take two buses each way so that her little boy could go to gan each morning.
Chaim V’Chessed intervened. Within a few days, David had his hasa’ah and his mother could regain her peace of mind.
First grade is always a big adjustment, but Rivka Leah* was having an extremely difficult time of it. Chaim V’Chessed pointed her parents to a professional that could come into the school to work with her and guide her teachers. Her parents were also advised on how to begin the evaluation process in hitpatchut hayeled.
The Steinbergs* made Aliyah this year – with a little baby with disabilities. They turned to Chaim V’Chessed for guidance. Chaim V’Chessed ultimately arranged the necessary vaadot with the municipality, accompanied the parents to a meeting with the special education daycare program their child was enrolled in, and provided ongoing support and guidance throughout the difficult transition.