Meet Atara Reich

There was a time when Bais Yaakov eighth grader, Atara Reich, a bright student with executive functioning disorder (EFD) needed three lockers to store all of the “trash” she had accumulated at school.

“One locker was for my art projects, one was for paper – junk I didn’t feel like sorting through -- and the other was for my school books. I couldn’t find anything!” Atara had trouble concentrating, organizing herself, completing assignments in a timely fashion and managing her anxiety. Parents, Estie and Reuven Reich feared that despite their daughter’s intellectual gifts, she wouldn’t succeed in school.

“Atara is a brilliant, absent-minded professor-type. She loves art and creative writing. She is gifted and she is very disorganized,” says her mother, Estie Reich. “I’m scatter-brained,” agrees Atara.

Atara’s father Reuven Reich recalls that from preschool on, his daughter’s teachers liked her and recognized her intelligence and talents. But sometimes, he admits, they were frustrated by the obstacles her EFD presented.

As she got older, the stakes got higher. “I realized that as gifted as she was, Atara would not be able to compensate for her disorganization as her school work became more challenging,” says Estie Reich.

Fortunately, things changed for the better when Atara met Sarah Ottensoser of SHEMESH, a community-wide program of The Associated that provides intellectual, academic, emotional and social support to Jewish students with learning differences. Since Atara was in the sixth grade, Ottensoser has provided weekly executive functioning coaching to her at Bais Yaakov.

Through SHEMESH, Ottensoser works one-on-one with Atara, teaching her organization and time management skills, as well as techniques to control school-related anxiety. “I don’t know what I would do without her,” says Atara. “I was drowning in paper and Mrs. Ottensoser threw me a life raft!”

Atara takes pride in the improvements she has made since she and Ottensoser first began their work together. “We are officially done with binder organization,” she says. “And now, I am mostly getting things done on time.”

“It’s a tremendous gift,” says Estie Reich. “Atara is in highest level reading, math and Hebrew classes, but if it were not for her work with Mrs. Ottensoser, I don’t think she would have remained in them. Mrs. Ottensoser is so positive and energetic. Atara really responds well to her,” she continues. “We are so grateful. This would not have happened without Mrs. Ottensoser and SHEMESH.”

“She is my savior,” says Atara, with a wide grin. “Mrs. Ottensoser, thanks tons!”

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service