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Tzvi Schectman
BY Tzvi Schectman

A Child With Special Needs And Exploding Pumpkins

Jeffrey Wright is a much beloved physics teacher living in Louisville Kentuckey. He is famous for his crazy science experiments such as exploding pumpkins, holding fire and more crazy stuff. But the class that all of his students remember most is the class where he talks about his son.

Jeffrey’s son Adam has Joubert Syndrome, a rare brain malformation that causes lack of control and balance. Only 470 people in the world have been diagnosed with Joubert Syndrome. Jeffrey talks about his son’s challenges and his purpose in life and imparts a meaningful and emotional message to his students.

A former student of Jeffrey’s wanted to explain his previous teacher to others so he created a mini-documentary which subsequently won him a gold medal in the College Photographer of the Year competition. Watch the documentary below and check out the full article in the New York Times.

Image Credit: Zack Conkle

Tzvi Schectman

Written on December 28, 2012 by:

Tzvi Schectman is the Family Coordinator for the Friendship Circle of Michigan and the Editor of the the Friendship Circle Blog. You can connect with Tzvi on LinkedIn and Google+
  • Malinda

    such a great story, amazing teacher/father, and beautiful job on the video as well!

  • Ruth

    Very touching, down to my soul. A truly great man.

  • Mz K

    as a special education teacher myself, this is such an inspirational story and re-affirms my love of working with special needs children….

  • Wow, wish I’d had a teacher like that. There’s a moment when we’re faced with tragedy like this and it can make us bitter or better. I can see that he’s become better. Our daughter was born with trisomy 13. She made us better. So grateful for her life.

  • Amazing….I’m so touched. I am a special needs mother and it is truly a blessing with an unbelievable message. Mr. Wright could not have explained it better. Its all about love.

  • I am a special needs practitioner, and I write educational resources for children like Adam. Sometimes I get asked, by people who know me well, whether I think there is any reason for these children to live. It is a huge question, and I’m not asked by people who are out to attack what I do, but by people who truly want to know what I think. I have seen devastated families, I think of one dad who’d been signed off work for 4 yrs with depression, because his little girl wasn’t going to be the little girl he’d imagined, I’ve seen divorces, where one parent dedicates their life to the child, and the other loses their partner, I’ve seen so much stress and fear and of course I’ve seen the children in pain, sometimes extraordinary pain, and they don’t have the ability to tell us where it hurts, and then someone asks me, what is the point of them being alive? Wouldn’t it be kinder not to keep them alive? My answer has always been to say that these children bring gifts to the world. We tend to think of evolution as survival of the fittest, and yes if you are looking to out run something that’s trying to kill you, then being like Adam isn’t going to help. But it is not just about developing the body, nor even the mind. As I grow, I want to become healthier (I eat my fruit and veg and exercise), I want to know more (I’m sat at my desk studying now) but most of all I want to be wise, and I believe that comes from a combination of knowledge and love. I want my heart to be expanded, I want to love better. Children like these challenge us, to see Adam’s dad respond to that challenge, to see him learn, through Adam and is sister, that the most important thing is love.
    What could be more important?
    Children like those I write for, teach us about love.

  • Augene Child Counsellor

    Inspirational. Moving. I wish more teachers would be like Jeffrey Wright and share their humanity with their students.


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