Monday, June 22, 2009

Ask Sara! Answer 1...

Molly C (Hi Molly!) asked:

Maybe this has been answered but as far as educational accomodations what is done for Dovi?

I work at a special needs summer camp with a really large jewish population. So I always wonder how their religious education is modified. Most of my boys keep kosher, observe shabbos, and have a really good grasp of their faith. (minus the fact that a yarmullke can totally be used as something to toss as hard as you can towards the window when you are having a meltdown. almost lost a few that way!)

how do you observe shabbos in a hospital? assuming Dovi has been there on Friday nights before.

He is such a cutie pie, and I loved the video! It was nice to hear him talk

Firstly, Molly, I agree 100%...he is such a cutie pie. He's a MANIPULATIVE little cutie pie though, and as Benjie and I say, "Yes, Dovi, you may do whatever you want. You have FD" And no, he's not a brat at all. For some reason, Dovi completely lacks the brattiness gene at all...I guess that all went to my other kids :)

And now on to your questions about educational accommodations for the D Man.

Dovi attends a special education school (Keshet) here in Chicago. He is tuitioned out to Keshet by Chicago Public School. This means that because there was no appropriate placement for Dovi within the Chicago Public School system, CPS pays for Dovi to attend Keshet, as well as provides him transportation to and from school, and because he qualifies, he also receives extended school year services, so they pay for his Keshet summer programming at the JCC near our home.

All of Dovi's educational goals are outlined in minute detail on his IEP (individualized educational plan) which is updated yearly in a meeting between the CPS representative, Keshet educational team (including teachers, administrators, and therapists), and myself and Benjie. It is an exhaustive process but ensures that Dovi is educated up to his utmost potential.

Due to his impairments, Dovi does not take the standardized Illinois test to advance in grade level.

Dovi does receive some Jewish education at school. He learns a VERY modified curriculum from what a "typical" boy his age would be learning. My nephew is the same age as Dovi, and he began learning Gemarah (advanced Talmud) last year. Dovi still learns stories of the portion of the week. The fact that he cannot read Hebrew severely impairs his ability to progress in Jewish studies.

However, Dovi's Bar Mitzvah is coming up in 1 1/2 years, and we have great plans for that. This summer, Aharon, his counselor for the past 5 years at the JCC, will begin learning some Bible portions with him in the actual text, by reading and translating to Dovi. We hope that he will make a siyum (celebration for finishing a section of the Bible) at his upcoming Bar Mitzvah. Benjie is also planning on starting a similar project with Dovi at the end of the summer. So maybe Dovi will make two siyums at his Bar Mitzvah!

Additionally, since we are Orthodox, our entire life schedule is dictated by Jewish practices. He knows about Shabbos, Kosher, Holidays, etc simply from living them. Dovi loves to go to shul (temple) on Saturdays and is really the "mayor of the shul". He greets everyone and walks around shaking everyone's hands like a little politician! He also "helps" them when they read from the Torah (Bible) - he stands at the front of the Bimah (table where they put the Torah) and helps them open and close the scroll at appropriate times throughout the reading. Since he's had his surgery, he hasn't been at shul-and the Rabbi called us one day to tell us how much they are missing Dovi!

Now, on to Shabbos in the hospital. We are lucky that living in Chicago, most of the staff at the hospital we go to knows something about Shabbos and the rules that come along with it. The staff always offers to turn on lights, adjust the bed, etc etc etc to help us out. Also, when Dovi is in the hospital on Shabbos, we DO allow him to watch movies. The staff turns them on and off for us, but he does watch. I know that some Orthodox people do not do that, but Dovi is really miserable in the hospital and if watching The Incredibles helps him to rest and improve his health, we will do it. Benjie and I will take the stairs if we have to go anywhere in the hospital. Shabbos in the hospital is often verrrrry long. But we're used to it.

Coming soon... question "cheap" grocery shopping!

Ooh this is fun..ask MORE!


Molly C said...

What a quick response, thank you!!

I find observing shabbos hard enough when I live in a dorm (we have IDs that we use to swipe in and open doors. so we have to leave our doors unlocked and then just tell the guard on duty that we are 'sabbath observers'" so I cannot imagine Shabbos in a hospital! One of my campers parents sent us a beautiful email about their experience of shabbos in the children's hospital.

Also, the majority of the blogs I find that even remotely mention religion are Christian blogs, and I'm Jewish. Got any good Jewish blogs for me? Faith in Blogland fascinates me but I am not really comfortable with the Christian blogs.

One of my campers mothers used the exact same phrase "mayor of the shul" about her son! I'm blessed to work with my campers with special needs, and it sounds like everyone is blessed to know Dovi too!

Anonymous said...

you once said there was a story behind Dovi's name, care to share?

Anonymous said...

Hey- I am curious about what life was like when you brought the triplets home from the hospital. What was it like having a special needs child and three newborns in the house? You may have spoken about this, so sorry if you will be repeating yourself. Also, what was it like when you found out you were having 3? How did Dovi relate to his little brothers and sister when they were little? What about now?
There's a few question for you now!

WriterGrrl said...

I think it's a wise decision, letting Dovi watch videos in the hospital. And I think I love you even more for saying it out loud. I so often feel like I have to justify every accommodation we make for D., and then I remember that, hey, NO I DON'T. :-)