by Dylan Smith, BTBJ

As a TAP fellow, I have learned a lot about the students I work with. I have been working at Beth Tikvah B’nai Jeshurun in the Aleph class. I can relate to the kids, because just like them I was a student there which gives me skills that I can apply in the classroom. Not only did I go to Hebrew school at BT-BJ, I also went to their camp and I have basically grown up there. What makes me happy about working there is, even though I am helping like a teacher, I am also relatable as a student and friend.

Something I have learned about children with disabilities is that even though they have challenges, it doesn’t mean they’re not capable. All children with disabilities are unique in their own way. Every child has a different way of responding, and children with disabilities might take a little more time to totally understand or process information. I try to help these kids when they are struggling or when they are getting frustrated. Also, I try to let them know I am always there for them.

I have a unique situation that helps me relate to children with disabilities. My uncle lives with me and he has some challenges. He lives with us so we can help him. I am patient and realize that it may take more time for him to do a task that may be easier for me. We all love him so much and it gives me a better view on disabilities and their impact.

I am happy to be a TAP teen because I have learned so many new skills about disabilities. Children that I work with that have disabilities may be slow in following directions, or have trouble making friends, or even have trouble listening to the teachers and directions. I use this knowledge about them and apply it in the classroom. I have seen an improvement in my teaching skills and hope to further improve them with TAP. I have learned so much with TAP and I can’t wait to learn even more and advance my skills.

Dylan with students at BTBJ