The Guttenberg Center for Special Services at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly provides social, recreational, cultural, and educational experiences in community settings, with appropriate supports, for children, teens, and adults who are differently abled. The programs, designed to meet the varying needs of the participants, are offered in a nurturing environment that encourages everyone to reach his or her potential. Programs focus on independent living skills, social and communication skills, sports, recreation, art, and music therapy, and iPad technology. To allow for greater participation, the center offers all-day year-round programming on Sundays, so participants can be with their peers in a barrier-free, handicapped-accessible environment.
Fall Sunday programs will include “Sunday Funday!” which offers 3- to 8-year-olds the chance to work on their socialization and communication skills through age-appropriate structured activities including morning meeting, story time, imaginative play, snack, and games.
“Sunday Social Skills,” which offers two groups, one for 5- to 8-year olds and the other for 8- to 12-year olds, will work to develop and enhance social skills and interactions. It is for children with high-functioning autism, including PDD/NOS, Asperger syndrome, and ADD/ADHD.
“Sports-a-Rama” enables 13- to 21-year-olds who have enough self-help skills to participate independently in fitness, yoga, basketball, and swim.
“Transitions: On Our Own” is a life-skills training program for teens and young adults, from 14- to 21-years-old. It focuses on interacting with peers, developing pro-social behaviors, and independent living skills.
“Life Group: Learning to Live Independently Forever” is for adults; it teaches life skills for independent living that include travel skills, money management, and appropriate social interactions, which will be reinforced through a range of community-based outings.
The program also offers monthly dances, featuring a DJ, snacks, and cold drinks. Dances are held on Saturday nights or Sundays.
For information, go to www.state.nj.us/humanservices/ddd. For information about the JCC programming, call Shelley Levy at (201) 408-1489 or email her at email@example.com.