Nearly 20 percent of the population is diagnosed with some type of cognitive or developmental disability, which includes autism spectrum disorders, hearing or visual impairments, physical disabilities, anxiety and ADHD. Many of these children are not able to participate in Jewish early childhood education, day camp, and youth programs because these programs lack the necessary support to serve children with special needs.
The Jewish Community Center (The J) is extremely proud of its history of embracing children of all abilities. Since the 1990s, the JCC has provided services enabling children with special needs to experience growth and the joy of success during our pre-school, camp, after-school and vacation programs. A recent study by Princeton University showed that program models such as those like Sasone, can have positive academic and social impacts for students with disabilities.
In the Child Development Center (CDC), as children are achieving critical developmental milestones, teachers and parents may have concerns about specific children. The Sasone Inclusion Specialist works closely with CDC staff to make modifications of the curriculum and the program. Para-educators provide the ongoing guidance and support for successful experiences for children with special needs.
Similarly, the Sasone Inclusion Specialist works with staff to include school-age youth who have challenges in participating in camp programs. These challenges include positively interacting with other youth, following game rules, understanding Jewish rituals or concepts, and feeling a sense of belonging. Staff training and support is essential so that the staff can enable all children to succeed. Para-educators help youth make progress and participate successfully.
Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City is proud to support this program.For more information go to www.jkc.org