Nurit is a striking little three year -old girl, a dead ringer for Shirley Temple with her green eyes, dimples and blonde curls. But although she is physically developed – she sits and stands and walks on her own in an age-appropriate manner, the little girl’s beautiful eyes are expressionless, and her socialization and communications skills are severely undeveloped. Nurit suffers from autism/PDD (pervasive developmental disorders) – a neurological disorder that affects a child’s ability to communicate, understand language, play, and relate to others.
Nurit’s symptoms were known to the dedicated staff at Ezer Mizion’s Ma’on Shaked, the Rehabilitative Day Care Center for Autistic Children that Nurit attends. But the little girl had another severe problem: she refused to eat. As a result, she was physically frail with limited motor abilities. All movements were strenuous for her. “A hungry child cannot listen, cooperate or develop,” noted one of the dedicated therapists at Maon Shaked. The first priority was to get Nurit to eat.
Working in conjunction with the child’s parents, the staff developed all sorts of techniques and tricks to get her to accept food. After months of laborious work, Nurit has finally begun to agree to eat! As a result, her overall health has improved: she has gained weight and is more attentive, responsive and energetic. Efforts are now being focused on developing her communication and social skills.