by Syd Silverstein, Adath Jeshurun

TAP was truly an opportunity that I am grateful to have been given. I learned so many valuable skills not only in working with children with disabilities, but skills that I can use in my day to day life. Not to mention, I made so many friends that shared the same values of learning as well. I have always enjoyed working with children, and over the past year, I was lucky to get to volunteer at my Hebrew school, and work as a CIT at my day camp.

I was offered the opportunity of TAP after I had spent my first year working hands-on with kids. I had noticed how valuable it would be to learn how I could better support and help kids of all different needs, especially children with disabilities, and I immediately jumped at the opportunity.

As I had said previously, I learned SO many skills from the program! One of the things that stood out to me was how many guest speakers we had and videos we had watched. All of these guest speakers and videos gave me a much better perspective on disabilities. I am grateful to have heard their perspectives, which also gave me many more tools to help work with children with disabilities.

One of the first skills I had learned about was how to support kids who learn in different ways. Kids all learn in very different ways. For example, some kids may learn visually or auditorily, others may need to move around, may have issues with visual or auditory processing, etc. We had started off our sessions with learning about sensory processing, and working with kids with autism. There were so many tools I was given to understand ways I can help these kids thrive in the classroom, and some things that may help them. Understanding what different strategies I can use to help these kids learn was incredibly valuable to know.

We had also learned about how all behavior is communication, and how this can tell us things about what a child may need to learn. We also learned effective strategies and things we could do to help our students who all learn differently, all have an effective way to learn. Giving students choices in an activity could be an effective way of this. We also learned how to help kids who may struggle with expressing their emotions, and how visual tools can help. Visual tools can also be used in many ways, and help kids by providing them with a visual schedule of the day.

Overall, I could go on about the skills I have learned in TAP. It was such a meaningful experience and will truly help me when working with children with disabilities in the future!