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A Place for Every Child

Malkie Schulman

Ziva Kriger touched thousands of lives — through her astute evaluations, her modestly delivered guidance, her devotion, and her love. The growth and success of the many children she touched are living testimony to the soft-spoken woman who quietly and astutely directed their development. Her passing has left a gaping hole in the Lakewood community. Ziva achieved her mission of finding a place for every child, whatever his struggles, only because she had a place, for every single one, in her heart.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

The dawning realization that a child — your child — might be suffering from issues, that umbrella term that can mean anything from a lag in gross motor skills to language delay to ADHD and other neurological disorders, can leave parents floundering. But that’s where ZivaKrigera”h jumped into the fray. For as little as $30, Ziva evaluated hundreds, perhaps thousands of children, helping parents figure out their child’s problem and pointing them onward.“Ziva understood how daunting it is for parents when they realize the long road they have ahead of them,” says long-time colleague Sima Snyder. “She saved parents money, time, and aggravation by evaluating their child at low cost and effectively pinpointing the child’s exact issues. Ziva felt that parents often end up spending a lot of money running from therapist to therapist before they discover a child’s problem. She’d say, ‘Each specialist the parents meet will only be looking for issues within her area of expertise. I wear a more general pair of glasses. I look for the bigger picture.“ ‘Don’t worry,’ she’d say, ‘they’ll still end up spending a lot of money once they pinpoint the issue.’ She felt, though, that she could make it easier in the initial stage. But of course very often she did a lot more than assisting in just the initial stage.”For Ziva, helping children was not merely a profession; it was a passion. One mother recalls: “I brought my child in for an evaluation, and Ziva pointed out that my daughter’s learning issues were negatively affecting her self-esteem. Ziva asked her to draw a picture. Afterward, Ziva realized the little girl had forgotten her picture. She wrote a note to the child and mailed the picture back. My daughter slept with that note under her pillow every night.”Ziva made her evaluations fun. At the shivah, a mother related that one Chol Hamoed she asked her daughter what she would like to do for a trip. She answered, “Remember that yummy lady we went to who sat on the floor and played with me? That’s what I want to do!"

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