School just started and as a parent you want your child to be the best they can be. Sometimes you worry. Why does my child have difficulty in the classroom? Why can’t he follow along with the rest of the group? Why is it hard for him to make friends? Why can’t the other children understand him?
A good teacher will bring their observations to your attention as they get to know your child. That teacher wants your child to be successful and will help to provide answers to your concerns. The earlier issues are addressed, the better the outcome. Sometimes it is hard to hear, but if you listen with an open ear you can begin to understand that there are resources that can help your child.
Sometimes there is a language issue or articulation issues. A speech therapist can conduct an observation in the classroom and help you to understand what is going on and be able to help your child.
Sometimes a child has sensory issues and it is hard for him/her to participate in messy activities such as finger painting or shaving cream. Sometimes in a classroom full of toys a child wanders aimlessly. Why? Believe it or not he/she may not know what to do with some of those toys. We need to remember that play is the occupation of children and sometimes they need to be taught.
There are other children who are fearful of the playground. Why? you may ask. Those children may have motor planning issues and don’t know how to negotiate all the apparatus in the playground. Other children may not like the playground because they don’t like it when their feet are off the ground. An occupational therapist can help with all of these concerns.
So the teacher gives me all this information. Great! But I really want to help my child, so where do I go next? Who can I talk to? What kinds of resources are available to me? The good news is that all these resources are now right here at the JCC!
The Kaplen JCC on the Palisades is launching a new program called the Child Success Center–that offers onsite support services for children who can benefit from Speech & Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy and individual consultations. Social skills groups and parent counseling are also offered. And one of the most unique and helpful things is the close collaboration that takes place between the parents and teachers, which is an integral part of creating the path to success and is the cornerstone of the Center’s philosophy. Early identification and timely intervention are essential for promoting optimal growth in children and the goal of this special program is to achieve this.
The staff is comprised of highly trained and experienced professionals in the fields of education, speech and language, occupational therapy, child development and parenting. And since the Center exists within the JCC, it is in the unique position to be available to children who attend the JCC early childhood nursery school, camp and the Kids Club after school program. Children attending other programs can be brought directly to the Center for the services they need during their time here at the JCC. And to provide continuity, the staff will also support teachers and counselors in the classroom as well as during camp activities. We are very proud to be launching this program and believe it will be an invaluable resource to families looking for the “secrets of success.” We are so excited to be able to bring these services to you! If you have any questions give us a call at 201-408-1439.
Written by Anita Miller, M.S., OTR, Assistant Director of the Therapeutic Nursery at the JCC. She has a BS in Education from Illinois State University, a BS in Health Science and MS in Occupational Therapy from Mercy College