NYC Schools Chancellor Fariña Visits Model School and Center for Autism BROOKLYN, NY - October 12, 2015 - Shema Kolainu - Hear Our Voices, School and Center for Children with Autism, welcomed New York Department of Education Chancellor Carmen Fariña Thursday, October 8, 2015.
Guided by Founder and CEO Dr. Joshua Weinstein, Educational Director Gili Rechany and Program Director Suri Gruen, Chancellor Fariña toured the Brooklyn - based model school which features a Snoezelen room and a Daily Living Skills Center. Speaking with the administrators, Fariña acknowledged the importance of integrating children with autism in regular classroom settings in NY public schools and how New York is ahead of the rest of the country in programming.
"Maximizing independence for students with autism and improving the quality of life is the key focus for integrated quality education," Fariña says. Walking through the halls and classrooms of the model school, the significant amount of space and staff to student ratio was not lost on the 50-year veteran in Education. She was able to see firsthand how Shema Kolainu differs from other local Early Intervention agencies and schools and why educators come from around the world to receive specialized training.
"Currently we serve children ages 11 and younger - providing treatment, education, professional training and mentoring, as well as tools that will serve them in adulthood." said Dr. Weinstein, "Socialization is extremely important and a main focus here at Shema Kolainu." added Rechany.
Chancellor Fariña applauded the Snoezelen room which is specially designed to deliver stimuli to various senses, using lighting effects, color, sounds, music and scents. The School also hosts the Daily Living Skills Center which helps students master basic living skills and everyday activities by mimicking events in a controlled setting. Through these unique rooms and programming, Shema Kolainu strives to help students reach their full potential for independence, productivity and inclusion in the community.
"It is amazing to see the work that continues to be done here at Shema Kolainu even before the rest of the city was doing it." Fariña says of the school founded in 1998 in response to the growing need in the New York metropolitan area's education system for programs that effectively fill the learning and emotional requirements of children with autism.
"It was a pleasure to meet with Chancellor Fariña and showcase the special work we are doing here at Shema Kolainu - Hear Our Voices. We always welcome the opportunity to discuss improving programming for children with autism and developmental disabilities," Dr. Weinstein remarked on Chancellor's visit.