I Felt Uncomfortable Around Kids With Special Needs Until I Had My Own


Moishy-And-Daddy I’ll be honest: I used to generally try to avoid kids with special needs if I could.

Aside from the awkwardness of not knowing how to react or interact, I also failed to understand how families of kids with severe disabilities stayed sane. Feeding, dressing, washing and changing older kids’ diapers was not my idea of a good time, and I didn’t know how they did it.

Then I had a kid of my own. We didn’t realize it when Moishy was born, but during routine testing when he was 3 months old, they told us that his head was not growing, among other issues, and further testing was necessary. This news sent us on a crazy whirlwind of doctors, hospitals, cat scans, x-rays and more. Eventually the diagnosis was clear: Our beautiful boy had cerebral palsy andmicrocephaly.

I looked myself in the mirror and realized that I had to change. Now I had my very own child with special needs. Avoidance was no longer an option.

Having a special needs child was a real shock to us, and we had no idea what to expect. It was painful to send him to an early intervention school in Jerusalem each day when he was only a year old. Who does that? Who sends their baby on a bus an hour each way at 1 year old? I thought my faith was solid and that I had to be strong for my wife. I remember talking to a good friend of mine about a year after Moishy was diagnosed, telling him how strong I was and how I didn’t let it affect me. He looked at me and said, “Are you kidding me? You gained 100 pounds this year!” He was right, and I didn’t even realize it.

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