Making A Place For Jewish Children With Special Needs & The “Almost Normal” Gray Zone


Not all of my posts are going to be deep. But, not all challenges of raising children with special needs are emotionally complex. Some just require opportunity, planning and execution.

The impetus for this post was a conversation that I had this morning with a mother of a boy in Raizel’s grade, Barak.

In general, the educational needs of children with special needs are variable. They require individualized instruction and each child’s individual level of capacity is unique. 

There are children like Yaffa, who have disabilities that are visible and distinct. These children are more likely to have more basic educational needs. 

My goal for Yaffa is to give her an opportunity to learn about our faith at the level she is capable. My second goal is to give her a love of our traditions and a sense of emotional connection to our community. 

Educationally, in some ways, Yaffa is less challenging, than her “higher functioning” sister. A loving and delightful child, Yaffa is not a behavioral challenge.

Barak and Raizel look neuro-typical, and “almost pass” as “normal.”  They have special needs that prevent them from learning in a regular classroom, and they require additional support. 

But, they can learn. 

In Raizel’s case, she requires behavioral support and adaptations to accommodate her different learning style.

I call this “The Challenge Of The “Almost Normal” Gray Zone.”


Making a place for Jewish children with special needs in the “almost normal” gray zone is very difficult, for a multitude of reasons.  

I am in the “pre contemplative stage.” I would love to create a Jewish Education and Socialization Network for these “almost normal” children with special needs in our community.

My idea is to run it based on the homeschooling model of education. 

Each family creates their own curriculum for their child’s religious educational needs. 

However, my goal is to have parents pool their resources and have these children learn together in small groups. 

By learning together after their school day, these children could connect and socialize with each other. Indirectly, they could create a small sub community. 

I see this post as a possible social network opportunity. Perhaps it will enable me to find other like-minded parents in similar situations? Perhaps this post will be the beginning of creating a social-learning network community for other Jewish children with special needs who go to public school by necessity? 


We are led in the direction of our intensions. I am hopeful. 



2 thoughts on “Making A Place For Jewish Children With Special Needs & The “Almost Normal” Gray Zone

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