OU has digital platform for people with special needs
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OU has digital platform for people with special needs

The Orthodox Union’s Yachad, a group for people with disabilities, has launched “Yachad On Demand,” a new digital platform for people with special needs.

Yachad On Demand offers virtual programming, including online support groups, Partners in Torah, educational materials, and events including cooking demonstrations, shiurim, pre-Shabbat schmoozes, and games. The Yachad IVDU school system and its dayhab programs have continued online with all-day virtual classes and programming, and an online buddy system has launched on the site as well.

Yachad is hosting weekly live programs through Zoom and Facebook Live, including shiurim, cooking shows, exercise classes, and support groups. Other offerings will include small group and personal chats as well as a video library on YouTube. These programs are available to everyone.

For more information, go to yachad.org/yachadondemand.

Yachad also has partnered with Moxtra and Sruly.org to create a safe and secure platform where people with developmental disabilities can connect and foster meaningful personal relationships with pre-assigned buddies. This instant messaging platform was created specifically for people with developmental disabilities to provide a safe place for them to connect socially with others, who all have been vetted beforehand. The application is accessible from computers, phones, and tablets, and so far has more than 350 users.

“While we all feel the impact of social distancing, it is particularly challenging for those with special needs who heavily rely upon in-person interconnection,” the Orthodox Union’s executive vice president, Allen Fagin, said. “Yachad On Demand offers them face-to-face interaction while following social distancing protocols. The technology allows us the opportunity to create programming tailored for their benefit.”

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