In 2004 a group of parents with special needs children came together to form Yad LaYeled HaMeyuchad. Their goal was to respond to needs that were not being addressed and create an environment that promotes the interests of the children and their families. The organization promotes understanding that a child with special needs creates challenges not just for him or herself but also for their siblings, parents, grandparents, friends, and neighbors.
The organization works to provide the children with skills necessary to cope with their disabilities so that they can aachieve growth, quality of life and happiness, and integrate into their family and community. Over the past 12 years, they have developed progressive, qualitative services for children and young people with various disabilities.
Yad LaYeled HaMeyuchad is active each and every day to fulfill the dreams of the founders. They try to prove that a special needs child, as challenging as they are, is also an opportunity for the family and community.
While most young Israelis serve in the IDF or do National Service after high school, young people with special needs do not have the opportunity to serve their country. As a result, they do not have the opportunity to participate in society in this meaningful way. Moreover, many of these young people do not have a job. For those who work in sheltered employment, it is not like working alongside others without disabilities. They do not feel a part of society and are often lonely. They usually live with their parents or somewhere where they are isolated from the outside world. Their parents often feel isolated too.
Founded by Major General (Res.) Gabi Ophir, chairman of “Lend a Hand to a Special Child”, and Professor Reuven Feuerstein z”l, Special in Uniform is a unique program that integrates young people with special needs into the Israel Defense Forces. The program prepares young people with special needs to reach their full potential in their future careers therefore, promoting a more inclusive society.
To date, Special in Uniform has integrated 200 young people with disabilities into a number of IDF bases. It has been successful at breaking down barriers for young people with special needs. We hope that the program’s success will continue after the army when participants go to work in the community. Special in Uniform is working to expand the program around the country and integrate hundreds of additional young people with special needs into the IDF.
By supporting this organization, you are recognizing the ambition of these children to be integrated into Israeli society.