A Mother Shares Her Story
I may be living here for almost 20 years, but my Hebrew is only a little better than it was when I first came – and my mentality is still worlds apart from my Israeli neighbors! So hearing from a professional that I had to “look into it myself” left me completely bewildered. I was ready to do everything for my daughter, but where was I supposed to start?
My daughter was only five months old when she was hospitalized with a medical crisis that would change our lives. The danger was resolved, but my baby was left with handicaps that would impair her learning well into childhood.
Since then, I have persistently been trying to keep my daughter in the best setting for her development. With her special needs, she needs supervision – those little pushes that I know make all the difference. It’s frustrating to communicate when the lack of Hebrew fluency makes me feel so unintelligent sometimes, but usually I manage.
At age one and a half, my baby was in a preschool program that catered to her vision. Slowly her vision issues were clearing up and it became obvious that a switch would be beneficial. She needed a place that could bring her learning to the next level, with different tracks and a whole range of therapies. The program staff said that I ‘should look into things myself.’ That meant… what? None of my friends with children in special needs settings could relate to my daughter’s specific needs. And what other connections did I have in my little chutznik world? I’m ready to do anything for my child, but this time, I was at a total loss as to where to start.
Until I heard of Chaim V’Chessed.
The Special Education department of Chaim V’Chessed was the lifeline I was looking for. Just one phone call got the ball rolling in the right direction. Mrs. Gugenheim and Mrs. Grossbaum directed me toward placement options that were appropriate for my daughter. I received clear, individualized guidance that took into account my child’s history, her needs, our goals for the future. But they didn’t just stop there. Mrs. Grossbaum got involved in contacting the schools for me to give them the heads-up that I would be calling. She also gave me the personal numbers of the directors of the schools I would be checking out to make sure they would set up appointments for me sooner than later.
At a time when I was so lost, Chaim V’Chessed provided me with direction, help and a security that I had not felt in a long time. Today, thanks to Chaim V’Chessed’s involvement, I am watching my daughter thrive in a beautiful setting that perfectly suits her needs. I am so happy with where she is headed – it is hard to believe that at first I had no idea what made sense for her. The organization’s service is phenomenal.
Perhaps almost as important, though, is that Chaim V’Chessed finally gave me a chance at being completely understood, both in language and in mentality. Being an English speaker in Eretz Yisrael means often feeling incompetent and misunderstood. That’s why speaking to the staff of the Special Education department was so refreshing and reassuring. It was a service in itself. I am so grateful for Chaim V’Chessed’s help and support.