Nitzan Horim

Israel’s educational and social centers for learning-disabled families.

By
July 13, 2016 16:20
Nitzan Horim

Helping children of special-needs parents flourish: Working with plants at Nitzan Horim’s original center in Herzliya. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Imagine a first-grader who always arrives late to school. Day after day, his schoolbag may have five pairs of clean underwear in it but no food. The teacher calls the mother up to straighten the situation out, but the mother sounds confused. She doesn’t come to parent-teacher meetings, or if she does, she sits in the back and doesn’t talk. Her child misses out on school trips because he never returns the medical form. The mother seems okay, not disturbed or disabled. So what’s wrong?

The mother, and perhaps the father, may have cognitive or functional disabilities. These challenges involve hidden difficulties in memory, reading, problem- solving, understanding math, visual comprehension and attention. Possibly the parent has difficulty communicating verbally. For the person with functional disabilities, filling out forms, sticking to a schedule and absorbing new information are bewildering, impossible tasks. This becomes an obstacle to getting and keeping a job. Social and emotional problems arise. At home, ordinary family conflicts don’t get resolved. Boundaries like regular mealtimes and bedtimes don’t exist.

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