Caring and Giving

Shimmy continues sharing his experiences with twin Downs babies.

A pair of tiny twins is a complex project in any case; all the more so when you are speaking of angelic babies with slanted eyes, with whom the challenge is more complicated.

“The moment we came home, we understood that we’d have to organize a special setup. Ezer Mizion explained to us that these babies need a rehab center; without it, it will be very hard for them and also for us.

“We had unusual siyata d’Shemaya, (Heavenly assistance) and there were two slots remaining in the Ezer Mizion day care center very close to our home, as if they were being saved especially for our twins. The moment they entered the day care center, everyone was content: The babies found a place where they received everything they needed, in the best possible way, and we could start getting back on track: the children in school, Ima at work, hours of quiet and hours of activity at home; in short – routine.”

We noticed the special emphasis Shimmy Cohen places on the rehab day care center and we ask how it differs from a regular day care center. “You need to understand that a special child is not like other children,” he replies. “Their developmental process is different. They need support and a professional hand in order to progress. Children with Down syndrome have low muscle tone, so it’s hard for them to crawl, walk, sit, grasp items, and, in many cases, it’s also hard for them to talk and eat. They need help in every area. That’s why they need special therapies —physiotherapy, speech therapy, and more and more. At first we needed to run with them from here to there and from there to here, to get one therapy here and another therapy there. Now that they are in a rehab day care center, they get everything on site.”

He explains further: “For children with Down syndrome, nothing is self-understood: not eating, or grasping, or crawling.”

 “I try to imagine what would have happened without the rehab day care center. The babies would have had to stay home — which means that we wouldn’t have been able to go to work. Alternatively, they would have gone to a regular day care center. When they would have come home in the afternoon, we would have had to begin the day again: go to one place to get this therapy, to another place to get a different therapy, enduring an unending runaround. In our case, of course, you’d have to multiply this whole description by two!

“Ezer Mizion understood the great difficulty involved in such a situation which led to bringing everything these children need to one place. Until I experienced it personally, I didn’t understand how critical it was. At the rehab day care center, there is a highly professional paramedical staff: physiotherapist, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and more. The babies receive good, adapted nutrition. And, above all — they have special teachers who come with understanding and professional background, as well as large, sensitive hearts, who give the children hours of pleasure, experience, and advancement. The children come home from the day care center happy and content, after getting so much love and enjoyment in the social framework suited to them. I have no words to describe how much Ezer Mizion saves the sanity of the parents who are struggling with the challenges that Down syndrome presents and I have no words to thank them for this.”