Kulanu brings hi-tech to special education


Cedarhurst-based Kulanu Academy, the special education school and social service agency for special needs children and adults, now gives its parents the ability to link with geographically-disbursed services without traveling from their children’s school.

“It’s momentous for us,” said Amy Eisenberg, director of Kulanu’s Keren Eliana Parent Advocacy and Resource Center. “We will be the first agency on Long Island to provide this service — it’s most thrilling.”

The video conferencing will be used for New York State seminars and hearings, eliminating the need for parents to travel to Hauppauge or Albany, according to Woodmere resident Arthur Carp, vice president of operations of Quantalytic, who set up the equipment. The video conferencing equipment was donated by Shalom Maidenbaum, a local attorney.

“Kulanu is also investigating becoming a provider of seminars to help other schools and institutions navigate the various bureaucracies associated with the developmentally disabled,” said Carp. “As you can imagine, there is a labyrinth of bureaucrats and paperwork to navigate for these parents to obtain services, not just from New York State, but also the Federal Government. There is a tremendous pool of expertise in these areas at Kulanu. Video conferencing is one way they will be able to develop audiences for their expertise and help other people.”

At an event last week in Kulanu’s building at 620 Central Ave., Amy Eisenberg introduced the video conferencing to 12 parents seated at tables facing a screen. They participated in a concurrent conference in Hauppauge where 50 other people attended. Both groups watched a live speaker deliver a PowerPoint presentation at the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) in Hauppauge.

“OPWDD is responsible for coordinating services for more than 126,000 New Yorkers with developmental disabilities, including intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, and other disabilities,” through approximately 700 non-profit service-providing agencies, explained Eisenberg.

She said that Kulanu families were “positive” about the development, “having it in Kulanu, a place they know, and close by instead of Hauppauge.”

“They don’t want to go out of the Five Towns,” noting that Hauppauge is three hours round trip. “It will be used for distance learning from colleges, parent training. We will be able to get to our people. It encompasses everybody.”

For further information Eisenberg at 516-569-3083 ext. 138.