For most of us, the word ‘I’ permeates our conversation. I feel, I believe, I am worried about. But what exactly is that ’I’ ? We don’t think so much about the question since our various parts work together. We think of an idea, dial a friend to discuss it, click on the mouse to research it, walk to the appropriate place to procure what we need. But then there are the people whose parts do not work together. They’re bright, intelligent, creative. They have opinions. An idea may percolate in their minds but they are not able to make the phone call, use a computer, walk to the nearest store, speak to friends. And so the idea remains. Crying to be developed. Aching to be shared with others. Eventually deteriorating and dying the death of all its predecessors. And the ‘I’? The ‘I’ becomes embittered and withers away into nothingness.
There it stands, a picturesque chalet surrounded by luxuriant foliage in a rustic village located in Nechalim. From a distance it exudes a quiet loveliness but come closer and you’ll see that it is anything but quiet. Everywhere you look, there are motorized wheelchairs and their owners are going from here to there, busy, busy, busy, very intent on achieving their goals. Their goals are many – these severely handicapped young people. Some are unable to walk, others unable to speak but all have talents, opinions, desires.
We all have our challenges in raising our children. How comforting it is to hear from another more experienced mother that your child’s behavior, as exasperating as it is, is normal. But what about when it is not normal? When your child, the tiny infant you held in your arms with such hopes, is diagnosed with autism? The devastation, the fears for the future are immeasurable. Your day-to-day, minute-to-minute life will never be the same. Your other children are tremendously affected. Family ties fall apart. You desperately need support.
“What is Ezer Mizion? Is it the Jewish Bone Marrow Registry?”
“I think it’s an organization that helps cancer patients. When my sister lived in Israel, her son was in the hospital off and on for months with leukemia. Ezer Mizion couldn’t do enough for the family. Meals at the hospital, rides, a beautiful apartment for the family to live so they wouldn’t have to travel for treatments. And let me tell you, that apartment was housed in a gan eden (garden of eden) for kids with everything a child could want including a petting zoo. You know, they even took all the kids on a chol hamoed trip
“I always thought Ezer Mizion was an organization for special children. When my cousin moved to Israel , she was so excited to see all the programs available for her autistic child.”
“A few years ago, we were visiting Israel and I noticed they were having an inauguration of a mental health building. So many g’dolim (sages) came. Isn’t it an organization for mental health?”
“Playtime is just fun-time. What’s really important is how he learns to read or add and subtract.” A common attitude but, according to the founders of Ezer Mizion’s Active Nurturing Early Learning Program, so very untrue. All activities of children are learning experiences and serve to enhance their abilities in specific areas. Furthermore, observing, understanding and analyzing their mode of play can help to identify potential disabilities. The program can then be used to implement means geared to enhance the child’s development, thereby lessening any inherent learning disabilities down the line of development. Continue reading Active Nurturing Early Learning Program
There it stands, a picturesque chalet surrounded by luxuriant foliage in a rustic village located in Nechalim. From a distance it exudes a quiet loveliness but come closer and you’ll see that it is anything but quiet. Everywhere you look there are motorized wheelchairs and their owners are going from here to there, busy, busy, busy, very intent on achieving their goals. Their goals are many – these severely handicapped young people. Some are unable to walk, others unable to speak but all have talents, opinions, desires. Continue reading Hidden Away Among the Leaves there Lies A…
It’s a tradition! The families look forward to it for weeks. It’s not like the others.
Chanukah parties take place all over the country but even the family party can be uncomfortable for parents with special children. While their siblings rejoice in the annual get-together, relaxed, enjoying each other’s company, the special needs parent cannot relax for a moment. Her sister worked hard on a fun kids’ activity. Will her child overturn the perfectly set-up table resulting in children’s tears and adults’ pitying stares? The cousins grab hands. They have plans. They want to put on a choir for the adults and are running down to the basement to practice. They don’t mean to be cruel when they don’t invite her child but her heart cries. She tries to comfort him as her tears mingle with his. Continue reading This One is for Us!
Nine months development in the womb is the ideal. Less than that is less than the ideal. Nowadays with so many technological advances, babies born much earlier than full term will live and remain healthy but they will often be missing a significant facet of their development. Instead of spending the full term of the pregnancy in a protective, enveloping womb, preemies emerge into the world when they are not yet prepared for the environment, which demands of them to be more independent and higher functioning. Continue reading Preemie Question Marks
Ezer Mizion has always worked on two fronts. The organization provides services for those undergoing crises in their lives such as families dealing with serious illness, special children, an elderly or Alzheimer parent or a member dealing with mental health challenges.
In addition, some difficulties can be prevented, surmounted or ameliorated by means of educational programs offered to families and professionals. Authoritative, up-to-date information will enlighten those involved presenting informative, insightful elucidation of the situation. The family and professionals become empowered with a greater understanding of the disorder which leads to identifying means of overcoming the difficulties or at least preventing exacerbation of the state of affairs.
Ezer Mizion’s preschool division is a prime example. The organization has developed a much-lauded early intervention program which serves to shed light during the preschool years on difficulties that would interfere with the child’s success in his later education. Means of identifying the problems and lessening or eliminating them form the crux of the program. The informational syllabus is being brought to preschools across the length and breadth of Israel. The following letter written by a grateful preschool director is one of the many received. Continue reading A Letter Meant for You, Our Dear Friends and Supporters
Some special children have very special parents indeed! Ayelet Sanens is a person of many facets. She is a pre-school teacher by profession who devotes hours to preparing the presentation of a concept to her tiny charges. She fully understands the educational benefit of breaking down ideas based on her vast experience with her special needs daughter, Tamar. Of an outgoing personality and a sense of responsibility, she is an active member of the community, initiating and supporting worthwhile communal functions. In addition, she tries to publicize, wherever she goes, the need to recycle household items to protect the environment. Often heard from Ayelet by her friends: ‘Don’t buy it unless you need it and, once you do buy it, recycle it when your family no longer has any use for it.’
It’s not often that all of these facets come together as they did in the recent Ashdod Environmental Preservation and Recycling Fair.
Aware of the many special needs children who can benefit from Ezer Mizion’s special summer program in Ashdod, she brainstormed and came up with an ‘out of the box’ idea of promoting her opinions on recycling to raise funds for these kids. Thus was born Ashdod’s amazing Environmental Preservation and Recycling Fair!
Items on display included toys, cosmetic products, costume jewelry, clothing, household items, and more, all tastefully and attractively arranged in booths.
The event brought the Ashdod residents closer together as they rallied to provide a much-needed communal program. In attendance at this charming event, in addition to the local residents, were the Education Department supervisor and other local municipal staff representatives.
The creative event was enjoyed by all, and the proceeds will be put to good use: helping to finance Ezer Mizion’s summer repertoire for Ashdod’s children with special needs. These children have been benefiting enormously from Ezer Mizion’s newly expanded program serving children with special needs in the local area and the surrounding region, under the able direction of Mrs. Estie Koenig.
Ezer Mizion has long been in the forefront of providing services for special needs children throughout the country. Ezer Mizion’s Beit Chana Activity Clubs provide supervision and constructive activity in four major cities in Israel for children with special needs after school hours, weekends and holidays.
Ezer Mizion’s training courses provide Developmental Aides with the fundamental concepts and techniques of speech, occupational and physical therapy, enabling them to provide this therapy under the direction of professionals. .Because early intervention is crucial for children with developmental difficulties, Ezer Mizion offers subsidized physical, occupational and speech therapy to children from birth through age eight. Through Ezer Mizion’s unique Developmental Aide program families are offered these therapy sessions at a minimal cost.
Ezer Mizion’s network of special needs summer camps has grown to include camps to service thousands of children with physical handicaps, brain damage, cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, autism, blindness, deafness and emotional disorders. For these youngsters, Ezer Mizion’s summer camps are the highlight of the entire year.
Sara* was not adjusting. As a special child, her parents had dealt with numerous issues but Orientation Day marked what they hoped would be a new beginning. “Ezer Mizion’s Day Care has experience with children like her. Their staff is professional. For sure, they’ll have the key to help her.” With the tremendous burden of #raising a special child now shared, they felt a weight being lifted off their own frail shoulders.
But it didn’t happen. Sara displayed extreme social anxiety and various other challenges. Her teachers tried but she was not moving forward. Each day Mommy found it harder and harder to send her off to school with a hopeful smile. It was so difficult to face but face it they must. Their precious child was not succeeding. To others she may appear to be a special needs child, doomed to failure. But to her parents, she was everything. A mighty wave of love for this child would overpower them but the daily reports threatened to topple their last hopes. Continue reading Let’s Start All Over Again