by Madeline Berman,

TAP Teen/Or Ami

Every Sunday I volunteer at my Hebrew school. In the 6th grade class I work with, there is a girl with a disability. Through working with her I have learned so much. I learned to be patient when I need to and creative in the ways we help her succeed in learning. This is what I enjoy about working with a child who has a learning difference.

When I watch Sammie work in class, I see how smart she truly is. She is capable of so much and I’m striving to help her express what she learns in class, because it is harder for her then most of the other kids. There are times when Sammie is just having a bad day and starts to break down, that is when I have to use my patience. I have to help her calm down and also understand that the situation was just a miscommunication. She has gotten so much better when dealing with the other kids in the class and it is a great feeling knowing I helped in that. Not only do I work with her, I work with the other kids in the class as well so they understand how to treat her with respect, but also teach them she is just as capable as they are.

When Sammie is having a hard time in class or is struggling to keep it together it used to be very hard for us to keep her calm. This is where I had to become creative in the way I think about each situation. The lead teacher and I had a talk with Sammie, and she told us about things she enjoys doing. She said that she enjoyed drawing. I thought of the idea where every time she’s just having trouble she can pull me aside and I’ll give her some paper that she can draw on and calm herself down for a little. So far this has worked very well for the classroom and for Sammie. She is definitely started coming out of her shell more and expressing herself in class. It’s a rewarding experience to know that I helped in that child’s life even the slightest bit!