August 30, 2011
A supporting voice to the story of Team Binny.
When you look at Binny, what do you see?
I see an amazingly popular, engaging and smart boy. I see a child who is surrounded by friends and educators and family members who believe in him and support him. And I see a person who brings his own value and perspective and contribution to any environment that he is in.
As a professional who has overseen Binny’s education here from the beginning, can you give a sense of how the Gateways approach is benefitting him at SHAS?
He benefits from professionals dedicated to his development and inclusion within the Jewish day school environment. This is a supported inclusion program, in which he receives specialized instruction in basic skills, such as reading, writing, math and Hebrew, so that he can learn with his class. A learning specialist adapts and modifies curricula to meet his needs, but preserves the overall objective and goal of the lessons and their progression.
The team approach is very important here, right?
It is critical. I regularly convene professionals who work with Binny to ensure that his program is integrated and so we can share observations and chart his progress. This includes his teacher, his learning specialist, his instructional aide, an occupational therapist and a speech-language pathologist. This network within SHAS, combined with his friends and family, creates an environment of support and success.
Give a sense of his progress.
When we started working with Binny, his mode of communication was signing. But he was able to break through that and begin using his voice to express himself. This has progressed rapidly.
In the first grade, he learned how to be a student and he is an exceptionally hard worker in school.
Binny always surprises us with his ability to move forward. There are so many things that he wants to do and can do. And we feel we need to support his growth, not limit it. We want him to be a full part of the community.
What do you think Binny’s presence brings to the school?
Binny has an impact on many levels. Children understand that learning can be difficult, and asking questions and working hard are all part of the process.
Teachers are more thoughtful about the learning process, presentation of materials, strategies and problem-solving skills for all students.
Binny offers everyone he comes in contact with an appreciation of the differences among all of us, and how we all learn and interact differently. He gives us an understanding of the real world.
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