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Hi! My name is Ilana K. and I'm a sophomore at Barnard College! I started working with kids with special needs when I was five. I was best friends with a girl in my kindergarten class who has Down's Syndrome, and didn't understand why she was treated differently. That was when I made the decision to spend the rest of my life working with these incredible people who have so much more to offer the world than most people realize. For the past three years I worked at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington in their inclusion program both over the summer and after school. In this program I was paired one-on-one with a child with special needs and helped them integrate into a group. It was such a rewarding experience. I also worked with The Friendship Circle Maryland, another organization in which I was paired with a kid with special needs. Through this program there were many group events at which we focused on Jewish themed activities and just helping the kids have fun. I was also a member of Best Buddies Maryland from 6-12 grades. This program pairs a student with special needs with a typically developing student to facilitate a friendship. After a couple times hanging out, my buddy and I became best friends. We did all sorts of fun things together, and still talk on the phone at least once a week. I want to continue my involvement in the special needs community as I pursue a career in it. I either want to teach special ed or be a behavioral therapist. No matter what though, this is a community that means everything to me, and I want to stay involved in college!
As someone that has ADD/ADHD, I have a lot of experience dealing with the diagnosis personally. I've worked with kids who have ADD/ADHD for years, in programs such as Best Buddies, where I am matched one to one with a student with intellectual or developmental disabilities, Friendship Circle, where I help teach Jewish values to children with special needs, and working as an inclusion counselor with kids that have special needs anywhere from severe autism to ADD/ADHD. It's something I have a lot of experience with, and would love to get some more!
I started out working with kids with special needs by babysitting a kid with Aspergers, and I absolutely fell in love with it. It was amazing to get inside his mind and really learn how he worked. Because of this, I starting working at the local Jewish Community Center with kids with special needs. I worked one-on-one with them, helping them to integrate into a group setting. I love helping kids with Aspergers learn social skills, as well as helping them in school settings. It is an incredible experience, and so rewarding.
I absolutely adore working with kids with special needs! When I was in kindergarten there was a girl in my class with autism, and I was so fascinated. I went home, asked my mom some questions, and spent every day for the rest of elementary school in the special ed classroom. I got to work with kids all over the spectrum, and learned so much. I started working as soon as I was old enough. I started working at a music therapy camp for kids with autism, and then started working at my local Jewish Community Center where I was a one-on-one counselor with kids with special needs, helping them to integrate into the group. I've volunteered for several other programs with kids with autism as well, and really hope to someday be a behavioral therapist or a special educator.
I have been working with kids of this age since I was thirteen. I have tutored, and worked in classrooms, as well as summer camp and after-school programs. I have experience working with both girls and boys, and tons of experience with kids with special needs. I have worked with kids with severe disabilities and learning disabilities. I plan to be a teacher for kids with special needs in grades 4-6. My senior year of by school I interned at Carl Sandburg Learning Center, which is a school for special needs in Rockville, MD. I helped to teach a class of fourth and fifth grade boys who are mostly on the autism spectrum. I helped to plan lessons and worked with the kids in small groups. That same year I worked in the after-school inclusion program at my local Jewish community center, working with a nine year old on the autism spectrum. Every day I would help him complete his homework, keeping him concentrated and on task. In high school I worked for Peer2Peer tutors, a program located in Rockville, MD. I tutored high schoolers in the classes in which they were having trouble.
Last year, my first year of college, I worked with a boy with severe ADHD, helping him complete his homework. It was an incredible experience that we both grew from. Unfortunately he and his family moved to Florida, but it was an excellent opportunity for me to work with higher functioning teenagers with different diagnoses.
I love working with kids, I love teaching, and I hope to someday become a teacher and put these passions to work!
I've been playing the flute since I was seven, and would love to teach others the joy that this instrument provides. It's a really fun instrument if someone fun teaches it to you, and since I was lucky enough to have that experience I want to help someone else with it! I would love to teach how to read music, how to play music, and go through scales.
The first time I got asked to speak in public I was absolutely terrified. Scared out of my mind. The first time that I actually did it, I realized how much power I had. I realized that I could influence the thoughts of other people, and change lives of people I've never met. I've spoken in front of all two hundred staff members at my high school about what it is like to be an out gay kid in high school. I've spoken on my county's news station about how being bullied as an LGBT person can be really detrimental. I've spoken out at many other events against bullying, and about LGBT people and the rights they deserve.
I've been playing soccer since I was four, and would love to share the joy of this sport with someone else. I have played for recreational teams, travel teams, as well as my school team. I spent several years training as a goalie with the goalie of the women's soccer team in DC, Freedom. I've played goalie for many years, but also have a lot of experience playing other positions, as well as just teaching ball handling skills, dribbling skills, shooting, etc. Soccer is the best, and I hope to coach as soon as I graduate from college. I've worked at camps before with younger kids, teaching them how to play, and have spent my fair share of summers at soccer camps learning how to better my own play.
I have been taking Spanish since the sixth grade, and would definitely say that it is my favorite subject. I plan to minor in Spanish in college, and hopefully teach in a Spanish speaking country after I graduate. I would love to share the beauty of this language with someone else.
I've been working with kids on the spectrum since I was ten. I started out as a mother's helper for my neighbor who has Aspergers and have since worked and volunteered many hours in many different places with kids with special needs. I worked as an inclusion counselor at my local Jewish Community Center, where I was one-on-one with a kid with special needs to help integrate him/her socially and physically into the group. I've also participated and been on the leadership board of Friendship Circle, where I worked to teach Jewish values to kids with severe disabilities. I've also held an internship at Carl Sandburg Learning Center, which is a school for kids with special needs that caters specifically to them. I have participated in Best Buddies, an organization that helps to form friendships between kids with and without Intellectual and Developmental disabilities. I have been tutoring typically developing kids for several years as well through a program called Peer2Peer Tutors. I want to be a special educator when I am finished with college and graduate school.
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