“When there is a need, there is a way.” That is the model that Ohr V’Dass runs its entire premise on. Hence, since there was a great demand to open a new class for a few selected severely disabled and multiple handicap students, we made sure to make that happen. But this is not just another class. For these students, this grand opening meant the beginning of a new life! Literally.
This new class is a true celebration of the long awaited doors leading to new opportunities for these special needs children… and their families. The class caters to children between the ages of 5 to 8 with myriad communication challenges. The class includes standard therapies, group sessions, ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) therapy, and the amazing, one-of-a-kind, Ohr V’Daas education. The teachers work very closely with all the therapists to incorporate into the classroom setting exactly what the children are working on in their therapy sessions. For example, the speech, physical and occupational therapists guide the classroom staff on individual goals that are specific for each and every student. For some children, this means the staff need to learn the exact method that is being taught to the student. Many of these children have trouble communicating and the teachers, along with the therapist’s, figure out ways for the kids to be able to share their feelings, needs, and answer questions they are asked. Some of the severely challenged children received assistive technology to enable them to have “a voice”. Tablets with software such as the “Intellectual Communication System” or PECS are some of the ways the teachers work with the students. The staff, together with the children, received training on how to best use the devices and the teachers are continuously making progress in how to use the software most effectively for their individualized promas that are tailored made for each student.
However, the most incredible feature of this classroom is that each student has their own personal teacher to ensure they gain the most from the classroom experience. This is necessary because each student has their own individual program that is implemented by their 1:1 teacher, which is closely monitored by the main classroom supervisor. Adaptations are often made to the student’s individual programs and this 1:1 setup is what allows the students to move mountains. Which they are!