The overriding theme of the morning was that high-quality special education programs have the power to transform lives. But no longer can they simply rely on quality teaching and small class size. To truly be effective they must be enhanced with research-based therapies, multi-layered, multi-sensory pedagogies, and individualized classroom management programs, all embedded in a comprehensive IT infrastructure.
The program was moderated by Rabbi Eli Mansour who framed the discussion in the Torah mandate that we have an obligation to educate all our children, and to do so to each child’s capacity. The presenters, all on staff at Gesher Yehuda, offered their perspective on new developments in specialized education.
- Child Psychologist, Dr. Chaim Neuhoff spoke of the exploratory work being done at Gesher Yehuda using technology to track student behavior in real time. Such tracking uncovers patterns and allows teachers and administrators to reward positive achievements and make continual adjustments when needed.
- Occupational Therapist, Mrs. Rivky Teitelbaum, MS, OTR/L offered a concise, physiological explanation of challenges faced by children and discussed how new research-based therapies employ music and movement to build neural pathways that result in measurable improvements in reading, writing and cognition.
- Reading Specialist, Mrs. Sheri Harari, MSED, WOP closed the program with a multi-layered discussion of the component of literacy. She ended where Rabbi Mansour began: The key to quality education is to teach to each child’s ability and by doing so grow their capacity to learn.