Educational Challenges With Special Needs Children 

Educational Challenges With Special Needs Children

Today, I had a conversation with a very dear friend, catching her up to all our news. I told her that Raizel is no longer in yeshiva. In fact, there was no local yeshiva that was even willing to accept her as a student for next year.

Often, I get criticism for this decision. Some members of my family, and good friends will tell me that I should have lied so that she could have been accepted SOMEWHERE.

This friend told me that better she should be in a class with lower functioning children than in public school. She said, “she will lose her connection to our faith.”

But, what will she think about herself if she is placed in a class with children who are not her peers and lower functioning? What would that do to her self-esteem and identity?

To my friend, and many others, it is better to be practicing our faith and integrated into the community, rather than to learn how to function at one’s maximum level of potential.


Other people I know, put themselves into huge debt, in order to finance a religious program. A religious program that in our case would not even meet our daughters’ needs and would require additional supplementation and expense.

I have learned though experience that everyone needs to decide for themselves what is best for their family. We all make choices in our life. Some of them will be good, and others will have consequences that we could not foresee. There is no one size fits all.


My husband and I made the difficult decision to place Raizel in a program that will hopefully maximize her ability to function in life, rather than feel socially comfortable.


Wrapping children in a cocoon will work in the short run. Eventually , however, all children grow up. At some point, every person needs to decide who they are and what they believe in.

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As parents, I believe that our greatest challenge is to teach our children how to function in life, be discerning and to think critically and independently. I prefer for Raizel to face these challenges while we are still able to have some influence over her, than in some unknown future date.

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When we spoke to many Rabbis about our dilemma, the advice we were given over and over again was, “you have to build a vessel (k’lee) for the Torah. Without a proper vessel, it will not matter how much Torah you pour in. It will be like a sieve, and just poured down the drain.”

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There are no easy answers. Every day, I pray and ask God to guide me and show me the correct path to travel. I hope and pray that I do what is right and pleasing in His eyes.

Reference:

I found this online and I thought others might enjoy it too:

prayer for one’s children

Here are the 2 links that I found this prayer on:

https://artscroll.com/images/siteimages/prayer.pdf

https://artscroll.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/prayer.pdf

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12 thoughts on “Educational Challenges With Special Needs Children 

  1. The story of your struggle to find an appropriate placement for Raizel pains me because the ideal placement would have been my school, a yeshiva for children with special needs. The pasuk on our logo was .אֶבֶן, מָאֲסוּ הַבּוֹנִים– הָיְתָה, לְרֹאשׁ פִּנָּה. (The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone). Unfortunately, I know that there is no institution like that where you live now because the cost is huge and most parents can’t even come close to it! Our price tag was prohibitive because we maintained a ratio of 3 students to 1 teacher, all teachers were certified, and the heaviest part of the program was therapy, or, rather, a conglomerate of various types of therapy most effective for each child. I will not waste your time extolling something that was, but barring that opportunity, you made the only decision you could’ve made, and it’s the right decision!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know it was the right decision because we exhausted every resource possible. It is just sad for her. But, I am grateful that she is in a more appropriate place. Every day when she was in yeshiva, I got a phone call complaining about her. In public school, I get emails and phone calls extolling her virtues. I prefer her to be in a place that appreciates her. How did parents pay for your school?

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      1. That’s a long and sad story. Suffice it to say that those who had the means, would most often choose to spend their money to create a “school for one” within a mainstream yeshiva, euphemistically called “resource room.” Unfortunately, most parents still see special need programs as a stigma not only on the child who has the needs, but also on siblings who don’t. Shidduchim is the main issue: who will marry my “normal” children when they have a sibling in a special program! I don’t want to even start on that!

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      2. We tried to start a program in the community we were living in. We spoke to the Rabonim, drafted a proposal, went for a bracha, and basically, we were told the same thing, from the other parents, who had children with similar issues.

        Invisible disabilities are like the pink elephant in the living room. Everyone knows it’s there, but no one wants to talk about it.

        It is such a disservice to the children too. I believe that eventually, their self esteem suffers, and that many kids who are off the derech are kids with undiagnosed LD who felt rejected, misunderstood and are now angry.

        The issue around shidduchim, is another whole area. If Hashem wanted us to be the all same, He would have made us all the same. It is very disturbing, and so sad.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I have a former student who has just graduated a Valedictorian from a very prestigious yeshiva and went to Israel to study for a Semicha. This is the boy whom they advanced to 5th grade out of pity, when his skills never went beyond 1st grade. Then they said that he was not ready for Middle school – duh! – and there was nothing else anyone could do. We did, but it was the father of the boy who went to the community to raise funds for tuition. And, of course, we gave him a significant scholarship. On the other hand, the movie War Dogs that has just come out is based on a real story of a young man who had LD, was thrown out of a school which will remain unnamed and referred to us, but the parents demurred because of “the stigma.” I guess serving time in federal prison is less of a stigma! You can read it yourself http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/the-real-story-behind-the-movie-war-dogs-8674916

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Did you catch who his uncle is? It’s very sad, but the whole family is sort of in the fringe. And I don’t want to even say who the father of the other young man is! Such a shame – young lives wasted and a black mark on the entire community!

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