There He Was

There he was, unsure where to go but with a determined look on his face.   He appeared at the office, said one of the Ezer Mizion directors, an eleven year old boy with Downs Syndrome, looking like he was on a mission. No one brought him to the Ezer Mizion building. He found it on his own, our single-minded hero, and all that remained was to accomplish his goal.

“Are you looking for someone?” I asked him.

“I want to say a giant ‘Thank you’ to Ezer Mizion for the Simchas Beis Hasho’eivah (holiday celebration) that you made on Succos (Feast of Tabernacles) . It was nice! I had so much fun.”

Touched to the core by his sincere words, I called in the rest of the staff and instinctively asked him to bless us. There he stood – a boy? an angel? – with his eyes closed, connecting to Hashem (G-d) in a way that we cannot conceive.

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Autism? Help Is Out There…

Ezer Mizion’s Children’s Division is a national resource that provides a vast array of services for handicapped, high-risk and developmentally delayed children and their caregivers. The range of issues addressed is broad. The professional services and care offered enable the children to advance and reach their full potential.

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. Ezer Mizion had undertaken a support group for these mothers. The group served as a place where they could finally feel that people understood their unique challenge. They received practical tools and a lot of emotional energy to deal with the day-to-day challenges facing them. Some of them commuted two hours in each direction to attend the meetings because they gained such a huge benefit from their participation.

Many modes of assistance exist within the framework of Ezer Mzion’s programs. In 1988, Ezer Mizion opened Israel’s first summer camp for children with special needs. Since then, the network of Ezer Mizion special needs summer camps has grown to include 7 camps, over 1,500 staff members and volunteers and over 1,200 children with physical handicaps, brain damage, cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, autism, blindness, deafness and emotional disorders. For these youngsters and their families, Ezer Mizion’s summer camps are the highlight of the entire year.

During the year, Support Programs, Awareness Evenings provide direction for parents. Early Intervention Programs and Day Care enable the autistic child to move forward.

When 2 year-old Gilad was first enrolled in Ezer Mizion’s Ma’on Shaked” Rehabilitative Day Care Center for Autistic Children, he couldn’t tolerate anyone sitting next to him. When anyone came near him, he would lash out in all directions, screaming and hitting. Today, the blue-eyed blond-haired child is very much part of the group. “Whenever he sees me, he motions me to caress him,” says Wolfgur. This seemingly miraculous transformation of a child who once would have been relegated to the “hopeless” category is a striking testament to the success of the experimental program, which was initiated just one year ago, in response to an urgent request by the Ministries of Social Services and Health. “These children are a riddle to their parents,” notes Wolfgur. “Most of them don’t speak, don’t communicate through gestures. Often the parents feel responsible for their condition. But today we know that autism is a developmental, neurological problem, and not psychological. The Center’s staff maps each child’s needs and builds an individual treatment program for him . The Center’s major goal is to encourage each child to interact with other people and to develop communication skills, which will significantly improve quality of life for the child and his family. Some of the children can eventually be mainstreamed into a regular educational framework with the help of a mentor.

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. But the little girl had another severe problem: she refused to eat. As a result, she was physically frail with limited motor abilities. 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.

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. Then it came. The dreaded phone call.  The school was requesting a meeting. The parents were certain of what they would be hearing.  Probably a cold, professional assessment in clipped tones, “We’re sorry. Your daughter is not adjusting. We suggest that you look for another school…” But they were wrong. Oh, how wrong they were! In the course of the year, she received paramedical therapy, with an emphasis on the communication aspect and the DIR method. Slowly but surely, Sara began making eye contact with the staff and even showing affection during the therapy sessions. In addition, she learned to play functionally with educational games and began producing her first words.

The inability to communicate often greatly affects both the child’s ability to perform and his relationship with his family. Ezer Mizion’s AAC Division Loan Center is the only one of its kind in the Middle East for speech generating devices and one of the few existing in the entire world. It’s mission is not only to support and empower people and families confronted by the distressing reality of communication impairment but also to upgrade communication and therapy options by partnering in the development of communication technology and devices and to educating and influencing those in the professional communication field and end-users to tap in to the most updated AAC solutions.

The need is great. The options are vast. Your generosity will enable Ezer Mizion to continue its mission in providing resources for families whose lives have been turned upside down with the birth of an autistic child.

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Rescue Rope in a Stormy Sea

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.

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Special Children/Special Parents

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Jeeping at Ezer Mizion’s summer Camp for Special Children

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!

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Ahdod Recycling Fair to Benefit Ezer Mizion’s summer Camp for Special Children

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.

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Special Needs Kids Visiting the Kosel and Pouring Out their Heart in a Very Special Way

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.

Fifteen thousand hostings by respite programs and twenty day care centers for children are more of  the many ways Ezer Mizion attempts to increase the child’s chances of reaching his full potential and to alleviate the plight of families dealing with special needs.Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

 Autism: What It Is and What It Isn’t

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Taking the Mystery out of Autism

Autism is frightening. It brings to mind a child that not only has physical or cognitive disabilities but also cannot relate to and join normal society. There is a tremendous lack of understanding about the ASD spectrum which leads to compounding the fears of the average parent.   Continue reading  Autism: What It Is and What It Isn’tFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Battling Autism

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From the files of Ezer Mizion’s Rehabilitative Day Care Center for Autistic Children

Nurit was a striking little, three year -old girl, with  green eyes, dimples and blonde curls. But, although she was physically developed – she sat and stood and walked on her own in an age-appropriate manner, the little girl’s beautiful eyes were expressionless, and her socialization and communications skills were 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. Continue reading Battling AutismFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Impossible Dilemma? Solved.

pr general bldg DG857322A few days ago, my younger sister got married. From the moment she got engaged, I could not get out of my mind the bitter taste of the Shabbat Sheva Berachot we celebrated a year earlier for the sister before her. I felt that I simply did not have the strength to go through another Shabbat like that.
Another Shabbat in which my autistic son Shlomo knocks tables over, stains the clothing of the kallah and the guests when he spills a bottle of cola or oily matbouha tomato salad, knocks down the mechitzah with a boom, fortunately only slightly wounding the mechutan’s foot, and screams at the top of his lungs precisely when the chatan begins to speak… Continue reading Impossible Dilemma? Solved.Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

A Letter Meant for You, Our Dear Friends and Supporters

Dearpr mental illness flowers 1542_ne_photo_stories1_98b2a Ezer Mizion administration,
I wanted to tell you, from the depths of my heart –
THANK YOU!
For the mothers’ support group, which gave us a tremendous amount of strength to cope with our challenge, professional tools and techniques, and deeper awareness of our emotions. All of this found immediate expression both in our understanding and our conduct. Our home literally changed for the better!
Thank you so much,
A. C.Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

A Letter Meant for You, Our Dear Friends and Supporters

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To all those involved, the wonderful people of chessed and deeds,
I wanted to thank you so much for your initiative in organizing a support group for mothers coping with tough challenges, who don’t know where to turn or to whom they can pour out their heart and talk out their concerns.
The support group contributed a great deal to me.
May Hashem pay you your just reward and shower you with an abundance of good. May you have a wonderful new year, a year of health, redemption, and a full measure of joy.
R. G.
A mother who participated in the groupFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail