PARAMUS, N.J. — A speech-language specialist in the Paramus school system is launching a new series of programs for local students with special needs.
For the better part of the past decade, Barbara Vene-Anderson has been writing therapy grants for her students at Ridge Ranch School.
She's now localized the programs that have proven successful to create a multidisciplinary, recreational program for Paramus youth with special needs.
"Unfortunately, it's often difficult to find programs appropriate for children with special needs," Vene-Anderson said.
"This is meaningful and local."
The first of its kind in the borough, Vene-Anderson's new program allows children to experience a wide range of activities, including yoga, gymnastics, basketball, dance, art, music and pet therapies.
The 90-minute classes will be led by highly specialized instructors focusing on enhancing flexibility, strength and coordination.
Students will rotate through the various components.
Instructors also will work toward enhancing positive behaviors, increasing self-esteem, augmenting cognitive abilities and/or improving social skills.
"It really gives parents an opportunity for their kids to do something in their community," Vene-Anderson said, "and with their peers."
The program will run for eight weeks, beginning Jan. 3.