Pesach for people with special needs

Pesach can be a very stressful time of year for families of people with learning disabilities. Unfamiliar objects and foods, dietary restrictions, changes to mealtime routines and extra people around the house can all add up to confusion and stress.

Here at jweb we would love to be able to share your tips, ideas and resources for a successful Pesach and Sedar night for a family with someone with special needs. Have you found a good Haggadah that you could share with other jwebbers? What makes a difference to your Sedar night - singing the music slower than normal speed, using illustrations, CDs, books? Please do get in touch and let us know what works for you. We have incorporated some great resources, tips and ideas to share with you. We will be updating this page as your tips come in, so do check back here for more ideas...

Look what we found online...

Browse and download free Passover resources for kids, prepared by Gateways' experienced special education teachers: versions of the Passover story (including the Passover story in boardmaker symbols), visual supports for Passover, Passover blessings with visual supports, Passover songs with visual supports, and Passover file folder activities.

Jewish Interactive has a wide range of activities, apps and resources to help bring Pesach to life.

The Friendship Circle has produced a fantastic Special Needs Friendly Passover Guide with links to some great resources.

Have a look at Kveller's article 'Four Hacks To Make Your Passover Seder More Fun' for some great ideas on personalising your sedar for your family.


Langdon's easy-to-read Haggadah

Our lovely friends at Langdon have shared this fantastic resource with us. With pictures, symbols and lots of explanation and guidance, this is a Haggadah, written by Shoshana Bloom, for children and adults alike.  Langdon's Haggadah (2.2 MB)


Book Creator for iPad...

How about making your own Haggadah, tailored to your specific needs? This app is recommended by Jewish Interactive and has good reviews...


Make your own resources...

Susan Zur-Szpiro, one of our Site Champions made these symbol sheets for her son on Boardmaker:



Tips from our Facebook page...

"Tips for a successful Seder night with all children, including those with Special Needs - we do as much singing as possible, of the childrens' songs and have lots of props to illustrate the ten plagues. For example, jumping frogs, ping pong balls for hailstones, plastic insects, plastic farm animals and wild animals, and red food colouring for the blood. eBay is a really good cheap source of these fun items, so plan ahead and even the adults will enjoy being really silly at the Seder!"

"Try listening to some Passover songs in the car or around the house beforehand. Familiarisation with the tunes help to keep our kids focused just when their attention is flagging! Here's a link:"


Looking for Gluten Free?

Find some Celiac-friendly brands and recipes for Passover 2014 here:


It's all about the kids...

This is one of the most comprehensive family-friendly resource we have found online: Check out games, activities, multimedia and stories to keep your family entertained.


Making Passover different from other nights...

Try some of the ideas and resources from Gateways.  We particularly love this extract on creating your own multi-sensory plagues:

While there are a myriad of plague kits that you can purchase, it is simple to create your own 10 Plagues bags for each child at the Seder. Here are some ideas of what to include for each plague:
Blood - drop red food coloring in water
Frogs - stretchy, squeezy, rubber, or wind-up toy frogs
Lice - shower caps, itch your heads
Beasts - stuffed or small plastic animals
Cattle Disease - little cows that moo
Boils - Band-Aids, red circle stickers to stick on arms and legs
Hail - pop bubble wrap, beat a toy drum, shake ice in a bowl then feel it, cotton balls
Locusts - bug rings or small plastic insects
Darkness - large, adult sunglasses or soft eye masks
Death of the firstborn - a tough one, suggestions welcome!


A blogger's view on how she prepares her autistic son for Passover...

Jana Banin is a freelance magazine writer and blogger. Her work has appeared in Parents, Time Out New York Kids, Ladies’ Home Journal, Parenting, Babytalk, Marie Claire, and other publications. Before writing mostly about little kids she wrote mostly about teenagers, working as an editor at both ym and Seventeen magazines. Jana lives in Brooklyn with her husband and three kids. She is currently writing a memoir about raising a child with autism. This is an extract from her blog on


Jweb is not responsible for the information provided in this resource pack or any of the activities suggested.