In the early 1980’s, there were no Jewish or mainstream programs available catering to children with special needs. This void sparked the creation of Keshet. What began as a small support group for disabled children inthe Jewish community, in turn expanded to the nationally recognized organization it has become today, assisting over 250 families and individuals coping with autism.
Abbie Weisberg, M.S., the CEO and Executive Director of Keshet, will be speaking about the organization at ICare4Autism’s upcoming International Autism Conference in August. She is to discuss the services of the program, andhow it has expanded over the last 30 years.
She will be sharing the practical approaches for the program, and will highlight its success in helping both children and adults with ASD thrive as individuals, as well as in the community. A major addition to Keshet has been its Peer Mentoring Program, a unique component of the organization that has helped to achieve its national recognition and wide spectrum of community success. This program allows for constant social interaction with typical peers, and allows individuals to learn more about themselves while forming strong friendship bonds. They are included in an age-appropriate social environment, and can therefore expand on social behavior and acceptance.
Keshet offers integrated day school services through the high school age, community-based adult programming, and a transitional program among its many services. These programs work together to improve the life skills ofthose diagnosed with autism, and provide the vocational, educational, and social skills that contribute to overall well-being.
Another main approach utilized at Keshet is the “best practice” TEACHH program,a structured teaching model that caters directly to individual students. This program stimulates its students intellectually and visually, and allows for cognitive and physical needs to be met.
Abbie Weisberg has worked with Keshet for over 20 years, and was recently named One of Ten Women to Watch in 2011, by Jewish Women International. She helped to implement TEACHH at Keshet, and has been crucial in the expansion of Keshet as an international resource for effective training.