by Sydney Zilch,

Temple Sholom in Broomall

As a girl who loves to work with children, I was very excited to participate in the TAP program. Throughout the year, we’ve learned a lot about working with children, and while I don’t typically work with disabled children at my two jobs where I work with kids, many of the lessons we’ve learned at TAP about working with disabled children apply to working with any kid. For example, patience. When you’re working with a child, sometimes it will take them a while to answer. You have to be patient and wait for them to figure out what they want to say. You also have to let children take breaks. If they’re not being cooperative, maybe they just need to take a walk. A short break from learning can improve concentration. Even a simple drink of water can help a child refocus on their task. I also learned that kids at every age act differently. For example, some ages learn better by doing hands on activities, while others learn better through stories or more formal lessons.

But the biggest thing I learned was that not everyone is the same. Sure, we all have obvious differences like race, gender, and hair color. But some people have disabilities, visible or invisible, and you can’t expect these people to react like a typical person would. It make take someone a while to laugh at your joke because they have to process it first. Someone might be very bothered by the smudge on the board that you thought was no big deal. The biggest thing I’ve learned as a TAP teen is that you have to understand that you can’t have the same expectations for everyone. You have to be willing to change your expectations so that you can help any students (and people in general) who need your help.