Metro Briefs March 7

Metro Briefs March 7

Jewish Family & Children’s Service will host a conference for those with special needs and their family members, Wednesday, March 20, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Rodef Shalom Congregation.

The conference, titled “Achieving Meaningful Participation Through Inclusion,” is open to all and is co-sponsored by the Parent Education & Advocacy Leadership (PEAL) Center, an organization of parents of children with special needs reaching out to assist other parents and professionals, as well as several area Jewish service agencies — JF&CS, the Agency for Jewish Learning, Friendship Circle, Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and Jewish Residential Services.

The conference will feature speaker Jed Baker, director of the Social Skills Training Project, a private organization that serves individuals with autism and social communication problems. Baker writes, lectures and provides international training on the topic of social skills and managing challenging behavior.

His keynote address, titled “All Kids Can Succeed,” will share how individuals on the autism spectrum and those with behavioral challenges often struggle with regulating their feelings and interacting socially.  He will give an overview of how to handle meltdowns, design effective behavior plans to prevent meltdowns and reduce frustration and anxiety. He will also share strategies for teaching social skills and motivating students to learn.

“We want to educate and engage those with special needs and their families,” Linda Marino, resource coordinator at JF&CS, said in a prepared statement. “One of our goals is to help family members to understand that there are services in the community that can support their efforts to care, provide and advocate for their child at all ages, and to connect them to those resources in a supportive, collaborative and educational environment.”

Attendees can register for two of nine different sessions. Workshop topics range from issues related to inclusion, education and social skills to how adults with special needs and disabilities can achieve independent living. One workshop, “APPlying What We Have” will provide an overview of the iOS platform (iPads, iPods) and apps that may be helpful to meet academic and communicative needs in the K-12 setting, and will explore the benefits and challenges to utilizing a tablet device as assistive technology.

Additionally, organizations that serve people with special needs will be on hand to provide information about their services.

There is a charge to attend, which includes a continental breakfast and lunch. Registration is required and must be completed by Monday, March 11. To register, visit or contact Linda Marino at 412-422-7200 or  

Temple Emanuel Early Childhood Development Center is accepting registration forms for the 2013-2014 school year.  

Programs include First Experience for babies 15 months to 2 years and their care giver, classes for 3- and 4-year-old toddlers, transition and kindergarten enrichment.

The Center also offers an imagination station program five mornings or afternoons, a lunch program and early drop off and late pick-up.  Librarians visit the children for story time, as well as specialists in movement, music and science.  Between morning and afternoon sessions, art, cooking, drama and Jewish enrichment classes are offered.

Call Nan Simon at 412-279-7687 for information, to set up a tour or to receive a registration form.

“More Than Just Learning” hosts Shirley and Morris Shratter will rerun a 2011 interview with Dr. Bruce Dixon, former director of the Allegheny County Health Department, on health issues, who died last month at age 74.  The program airs Tuesdays in March at 8 p.m. on PCTV-Comast-channel 21 or Verizon 47.

The Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee will sponsor the next South Hills Christian-Jewish Dialogue.  The group will meet Thursday, March 21, noon, at Temple Beth El, at 1900 Cochran Road, Scott Township.

The topic will be “Losing Our Faith,” presented by Rabbi Mark Mahler and Rev. Jim Gilchrist. Jewish and Christian texts will be studied.  The regular monthly conveners are Father Brian Noel, Mahler, Rabbi Alex Greenbaum, Rabbi Howard Stein and Gilchrist.  The program is free and open to the public.  

Contact the PAJC office at 412-605-0816 or at for more information.