Nova Grant supports The Donald Berman Yaldei Developmental Center in the creation of Beyachad Academy

Thanks to a Nova Grant from the Jewish Community Foundation (JCF), The Donald Berman Yaldei Developmental Centre (Yaldei) has successfully launched “Beyachad Academy” under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and in collaboration with the Belz School to service elementary school children within the orthodox Jewish Community. This satellite classroom located in the Belz school serves children with autism, severe language delay with intellectual challenges. These students can also have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) /Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and other behavioral issues.

“Children across Quebec and Canada including those in religious communities are being diagnosed in increasing numbers with autism and learning challenges,” explains Risa Plotnick, Director of Yaldei’s school and rehabilitation services. “Our program, which is permitted by the Ministry of Education, provides children access to the Donald Berman Yaldei Developmental Centre’s wide range of professional services and specialized education. More precisely, children with special needs are benefiting from specialized pedagogical and professional support in their local school while participating and socializing with their friends and being an active member of their community school.”

Students at Yaldei.

“We established Nova Grants to support the vulnerable, promote Jewish identity and culture and strengthen the institutional framework of Montreal’s Jewish community and to encourage agencies, synagogues and community organizations to experiment, to test new or innovative approaches to meeting critical or emerging needs,” asserts Kathy Assayag, JCF’s Executive Director. “Beyachad Academy epitomizes our raison d’etre. Through this initiative we are reaching out to the most vulnerable of our population, children with special needs, while allowing them to be proud of their cultural heritage and socially participate within the community as full members.”

An additional benefit of Beyachad Academy is the on-site training, coaching and professional development the staff receive. They are learning how best to differentiate learning based on each child’s individual needs while integrating the students within the regular classroom setting and school activities. Furthermore, there is an increasing sensitization in the orthodox communities that all children have access to specialized services if there is an identified need. The approach is child centered and family focused, and community participation and involvement is a part of the success of this program.

“When children with special needs are displaced from their religious community schools and sent to schools outside of their community, it stigmatizes the students and their families and in the end hinders the child’s learning and progress. Removed from their community and culture and uncomfortable in an unfamiliar environment, the child becomes socially isolated from their peers, which affects their personal growth long-term and impacts their families,” notes Risa Plotnick.

Founded in 1997, Yaldei, offers a diverse range of clinical, educational, and recreational programs and services to help children of all abilities reach their full potential. It serves children from 0 to 21 with emotional, intellectual and/ or physical disabilities.

Yaldei is known for quality professional and educational services with a specialization in early intervention. It provides a continuum of services from 0-21 under one roof from early intervention to high school. Yaldei is known for implementing innovative approaches and has created state of the art developmental center with traditional professional services, new therapies such as immersive therapy, Snoezelen and a comprehensive ABA centre. All programs include parent coaching. Its professional staff provides a full range of therapies, family support services, and mainstream integration programs using a family-centered approach. Its services are tailored according to the specific needs of each child and family. Aware that finding effective services creates a constant struggle for families and caregivers, Yaldei reduces the stress of that search by offering comprehensive evaluation, therapy and treatment programs for a wide range of disabilities all under one roof. It provides the most intensive program of one-to-one early intervention using a trans-disciplinary approach.

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