Graduation is one of life’s great milestones, marking an individual’s academic achievements andthe end of childhood. But after the celebrations are over, what comes next? What does a child with special needs do come graduation day? This is where a Day Habilitation program comes into play. It provides a place for an individual to go where he can enhance the skills that he has already learned, learn new skills, and develop new interests, as well as maintain a sense of community with his peers.
At Ahivim our goal is to focus on looking ahead toward the future and finding new and exciting ways to bring our services to the community. For years schools for special Ed have tried to by serving these children with love and devotion in a secular setting with Talmud torah and yeshiva ideas. We understand that now when special Ed students graduate out of the public school systems they are looking to the future what it holds with regard to not being limited with skills and yiddishkeit. Very often graduation means a time to say goodbye to lifelong educators, staff, and friends, and to go home. We understand that Yeshivas and Schools have become a second home to these families and students. Ahivim’s goal will be to try to the gap between childhood and adult services.
Day Habilitation is geared toward individuals who have aged out of the education system, but still require a structured day program. Much like Comm Hab, it focuses on developing skills and interests, including religious studies, secular studies, vocational training, socialization and etc.
Again, as religion is such an important aspect of our lives, it will be incorporated into the day hab schedule in addition to the secular activities. Contrary to Comm Hab, however, this day program takes place, strictly during day hours, and is geared for individuals aged out of the school system over the age of 18.
Each program participant has a plan of service developed for them as a result of reviewing strengths and needs. The plan includes a number of outcomes which the person has expressed a desire in achieving, derived from the ISP. Staff provides direction and assistance in helping each person reach noted outcomes. In addition, each program participant works on goals and objectives during programming time. Each goal must be related to increasing independence, inclusion in the community, individualization and/or productivity.
A large portion of day habilitation is devoted to community inclusion. We recognize the importance of providing an outlet for individuals to build social relationships and demonstrate their value as a contributing member of society. In the past families tended to “hide” their family members with developmental disabilities, but that was a vastly different time.
Today, we strongly encourage our individuals to be active within their community and to be seen as “regulars”. Just as so many of us have become “regulars” at our shuls, delis and coffee shops; we want to promote the same interaction between our individuals and the community.
Community inclusion for a frum graduate means a strong emphasis on all things related to the Yiddish religion. Attending shul, learning the torah, and participating in other religious holidays and events will not be interrupted as a result of participating in a day habitation program. To the contrary, our religion makes us who we are and we want to incorporate these treasured traditions into their daily schedule.
The activities the clients choose to participate in are boundless; limited only by his own interests and imaginations. We encourage exploring a wide range of leisure activities and experiences. In the past members of our Day hab have explored horseback riding, whitewater rafting, volunteering and attended musical concert events to name a few. We are always open to new adventures and take pride in assisting our day hab participants to fulfill their dreams.
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