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ERIC Number: ED563135
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 175
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-3034-9705-6
Alike and Different: Parenting a Child with Special Needs in the Jewish Community
Uhrman, Abigail L.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, New York University
To date, there is limited research examining the parenting experiences of parents with a child with special needs, and there is virtually no research on the experience of these parents in the Jewish community. In addressing this gap in the scholarship, this study describes the experiences of parents with a child with special needs and explores the interplay between parents' experiences and their identities as Jewish adults, parents, and parents of a child with special needs. The study involved interviews with 20 parents in the greater New York area who have or had a child in a Jewish day school within the last three years. The study focused on three areas: parents' day-to-day experiences raising a child with special needs, experiences with their child's Jewish day school, and interactions with and perceptions of the larger Jewish community. The day school context provided a unique opportunity to explore the ways in which schooling choices reflect and shape parents' experiences. The findings suggest that parents with a child with special needs struggle to find community and connection. While their parenting experiences were similar to parents with typically developing children in many ways, their unique experiences with their child and his/her disability contributed to feelings of difference and otherness. The findings also suggest marked differences in the experiences of parents whose child was able to remain in the day school and those who left as a result of their child's special needs. In the latter group, the themes of loneliness and marginalization were common. Although parents hoped to feel included in the Jewish community--with Jewish day school an important expression of this desire and commitment--many experienced a dearth of appropriate programs and services and a lack of awareness of and sensitivity to special needs issues in the Jewish community. The study concludes by sharing recommendations that day schools and other Jewish institutions should consider in order to better serve the needs of individuals with special needs and their families. Although recommendations are grounded in a Jewish context, they also have implications for other settings. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York