The special children of the SULAM organization went last week to pay their condolences to Prime Minister Netanyahu on the death of his father.
Professor Benzion Netanyahu, who passed away at the beginning of the week at the age of 102, was known for his right-wing views and for his Zionism.
The prime minister “sat shiva” (the traditional mourning period of the Jewish faith is marked by seven days of sitting on low chairs), receiving guests who came to pay their respects and offer their consolation to Israel's leader.
Among them were a number of autistic children from the SULAM organization, an Israeli national nonprofit group for special education established in 1981. The organization helps children who suffer with developmental delays, autism spectrum disorders and other related issues.
Teaching appropriate social skills and behaviors -- including making a "shiva call" to pay one's respects and offer condolences to a person who has lost a loved one -- is among the most important educational and behavioral goals in any therapeutic curriculum for such children.
SULAM runs a network of 39 classes in nine branches in the greater Jerusalem area that provide therapy to children ranging in age from 3 months to 16 years old. Guidance is also provided to the families of the children.
According to a statement on the organization's website, approximately 25 percent of the children helped by SULAM are ultimately mainstreamed into regular classrooms.