SCOTCH PLAINS NJ – The JCC of Central NJ (1391 Martine Ave.) will present Pamela Schuller, an internationally known disability advocate and stand-up comedian, along with experts on children with special needs on Sunday, Feb. 25, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

This program has been organized in honor of Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month by the JCC in partnership with Greater MetroWestABLE and Jewish Family Services of Central New Jersey. The symposium will include breakout sessions covering occupational therapy, social work, education consultancy, transition programs, special needs wills and trusts and advocacy.

"We are really excited about the keynote speaker, and the breakout sessions are all run by highly qualified specialists," said Mallory Zipkin of the JCC, who helped organize the event.

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As a teen, Pam Schuller had the worst diagnosed case of Tourette Syndrome in the country, a touch of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and a whole lot of pent-up anger. She spent years depressed, suicidal and wishing her differences away. Over time, she started looking at her life differently and turned her obstacles and challenges into the very fuel that propels her. Now an internationally known disability and mental health advocate and professional stand-up comedian, Schuller’s stories of growing up in a body she had no control over are engaging, powerful, a little bit heart-wrenching and unapologetically funny.

Breakout Session Leaders

  • Adrienne P. Robertiello, BS is the Special Health Care Educator at Children’s Specialized Hospital.
  • Robyn Krugman, LCSW is the Coordinator for Adolescent Services at Jewish Family Services of MetroWest NJ. 
  • Laura Weitzman, EC LPC is Coordinator of Special Needs at Jewish Family Service of Central New Jersey. 
  • Melanie Ritter, Esq. assists families with their legal needs in the areas of special needs planning involving trusts, protective arrangements, and estate administration. 
  • Dana Rosenbloom has a Master’s degree in Infant and Parent Development and Early Intervention. Dana’s Kids provides home and web-based parent education, play and behavior therapy, special education and case coordination services. 
  • Karen Hoover OTD, OTR is the co-owner of The Therapy Garage in Westfield, a private pediatric therapy clinic. She has taught in OTA and MOT programs for 20 years. 
  • Josh Bornstein, M. Ed has spent over 10 years working in schools as a secondary special education teacher and transition specialist. 
  • Hillary Freeman, Esq. is the sister of a man with autism and is able to combine personal experience with her legal training to help families advocate for services and support.

Free babysitting is available only with registration by Monday, Feb. 12.  Click here to register.  (Search Symposium).

The JCC of Central NJ is committed to the inclusion of people of all abilities, backgrounds, denominations, gender identity and religious affiliations and this symposium coincides with Jewish Disability Inclusion and Awareness Month, a worldwide effort to raise awareness and champion the civil rights of all Jewish people to have access and be meaningfully included in every aspect of Jewish life.

This symposium is in partnership with Greater MetroWestABLE and Jewish Family Services of Central New Jersey. Registration is recommended at www.jccnj.org. It is free and open to the community.

The JCC of Central New Jersey is located at 1391 Martine Ave. in Scotch Plains. The JCC of Central New Jersey is a constituent agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, United Way of Greater Union County and the Westfield United Fund. Financial assistance is available for membership and various programs.