Friday, March 31, 2023

 (Courtesy of OU) IVDU, a network of Orthodox Union (OU) Yachad schools for those with mild-to-moderate learning, social and developmental delays, is the first special education school in New York state to offer eligible students a DMV-approved driver’s education course.

As of Nov. 2, IVDU offers driver’s ed as part of the career training program at the Marylin and Sheldon David IVDU boys upper school in Brooklyn. IVDU operates under the aegis of Yachad, an international organization run through the Orthodox Union. Yachad is dedicated to enriching the lives of Jewish individuals with disabilities and their families. The pilot program currently enrolls 12 boys.

Students 16 and older deemed eligible by their parents and a clinical team of psychologists are learning the standardized Empire State driver’s curriculum, slightly modified to accommodate participants’ unique learning styles. The course is taught by the same instructor who oversees the program in mainstream Brooklyn schools.

“At the end of the day, our boys will take the same test as their peers in mainstream schools, and emerge with the same skills needed to be responsible drivers,” said Faigy Augenstein, director of IVDU’s career training program.

IVDU Head of School Rabbi Michoel Druin said he was proud the Marylin and Sheldon David IVDU Boys Upper School can offer students such a critical life skill as they prepare to launch into adulthood—something that would not have been possible without Yachad’s unwavering support.

“Any student who can, should be able to get a driver’s license,” Rabbi Druin said. “IVDU believes that all our students deserve the same and more than mainstream students. Here we have but one example of how we live up to this belief.”

With four campuses in Brooklyn and the Five Towns, IVDU includes one girls elementary school, one coed elementary and middle school, and two boys and girls upper schools, which offer special career training programs to equip students with the skills needed to hold meaningful jobs post-graduation.

For more information, visit www.ivdu.org.

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