What does it feel like to try and communicate when you have an expressive language disorder? Maybe something like talking through a mouthful of marshmallows. How about trying to follow verbal instructions when you’re a visual processor? A lot like focusing on a story while wearing blackout glasses and having the ABCs whispered in your ear. We often hear the names of different disabilities, but do we really understand the challenge they imply?
At the Yaldei Shluchei HaRebbe East Coast Parent Respite Program this past week, 30 Shluchim raising children with special needs had the opportunity to come together for an educational and relaxing getaway.
In her enlightening and interactive workshop, Mrs. Chana Shagalow, Shlucha to Minneapolis MN and Special Ed Program Director, helped give parents and caregivers a meaningful way to describe a day in the life of a child with special needs.
The workshop used interactive and hands on activities to allow participants to experience the challenges associated with certain “invisible” disabilities. These are the disabilities and diagnosis that parents and teachers often hear about, but are not visibly noticeable and often not fully understood. Helping people understand the gravity and reality of these challenges allows them to be better advocates for those who need them.
Along with fun and relaxing recreational activities, the Respite Program also featured a seminar by Rabbi Dr. Yosef Shagalow, Shliach to MN and Clinical Psychologist. The seminar focused on methods and practices in building a healthy family unit while living on Shlichus and raising a child with special needs. The program offered parents helpful guidance and practical instruction in how to deal with challenges associated with raising a child with special needs while living on Shlichus.
Participants were treated to an entertaining lesson in graphology by Rabbi Yaakov Rosenthal. They learned about the interesting art of handwriting analysis and how our pens may truly be a window into the soul.
The respite program was held at the Bushkill Inn and Conference Center in the scenic Pocono mountains. Couples participated in informative seminars and enjoyed the beautiful outdoors including a visit to the Bushkill Falls. For many parents raising children with special needs the opportunity to take a break does not come often enough, if ever. The Parent Respite program offers Shluchim a chance to recharge their batteries and return home with new strength and direction in their Shlichus.
The Yaldei Parent Respite Program is one of the initiatives offered by Yaldei Shluchei HaRebbe throughout the year supporting Shluchim raising children with special needs. For more information about our programs or to donate contact Yaldei at 646-558-5800 or visit us @ www.yaldei.com Yaldei is a division of Merkos 302.