While awareness of physical health challenges is popular and encouraged, the area of mental health often remains shrouded in a fog. Ezer Mizion has been working in recent years to create a turnaround in this attitude. Continue reading Lifting the Fog on Mental Health
He is only twelve but he knew his way around the large building with its many offices. He came every day and was known by the staff. He approached the entrance today. Tense. Anxious. His fists clenched in anticipation of what he would hear. His shoulders sagging in discouragement. Continue reading Not Yet
I have a good imagination. Sometimes I read about something and I can actually imagine that I am there, like the time I read about some kids spending the day at the beach. I could almost feel the waves and smell the air even though I haven’t been to the beach since I was a tiny child. Continue reading The Real Thing
Sometimes it’s the inability of a child to emotionally cope with the nightmare of cancer. Sometimes it’s an elderly patient in need of dialysis who has no means of ‘getting there’. Or it may be a new mother who is not able to handle her large family due to post-partum depression or perhaps a six year old child whose development is hampered by his inability to speak. Continue reading Alon Meets Uri Zohar
Two young men joined the IDF. Two young men rose through the ranks. For one, the road was smooth. The other encountered a bump. A big bump. He was diagnosed with leukemia. Itai Chanan’s condition worsened and he was told that only a bone marrow transplant would save his life. Leukemia had not been part of his plans and now he may never make any plans again. A young man, just at the threshold of adulthood, may die if a genetic match is not found in time. Continue reading Two Soldiers
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. Continue reading Nurit Learns to Eat
Four were waiting. Waiting for the genetic match to save their lives. One could wait no longer. And now there are three.
On May 31, Ezer Mizion, the world’s largest Jewish bone marrow registry, held a drive in Israel. Hopefully, the new registrants will genetically match the dozens of Jewish cancer patients whose sole chance of survival is a bone marrow transplant. Continue reading And Now There Are Three…
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with Rabbi Chananya Chollak, International Chairman of Ezer Mizion, and thanked him for the Ezer Mizion’s important life-saving work.
He added: “I call upon Israeli residents of all ethnic groups to join Ezer Mizion’s Registry, and in this way, to help save lives. Continue reading Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu: Come Save Worlds!
On Thursday, May 31, a nationwide stem cell donor recruitment drive will take place throughout Israel. The drive is focused specifically on donors from the Iraqi, Yemenite, Georgian, Bukharan, Caucasian, Kurdish and Ethiopian ethnic groups. Continue reading Ethnic Under-representation
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. “In the best case-scenario, he would ignore other people,” says Smadar Wolfgur, the Center’s staff psychologist. “In the worst case, he would be annoyed by them.”
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.
Ezer Mizion’s Rehabilitative Day Dare Center, located in the Yaakov Fried Building in Bnei Brak, serves one-and-a-half to three year-old children with autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD). It operates five days a week from 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM, as well as Friday mornings.
The tots in the program enjoy a warm, personal, and loving relationship with the dedicated professional staff that also includes a kindergarten teacher, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and developmental aides – with a ratio of 2 staff members for every child.
“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. Yet it is possible to help such children. However, massive treatment by the age of six, when the brain is still flexible, is critical.”
The Center’s staff maps each child’s needs and builds an individual treatment program for him or her. 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. Thus the therapist may hold a favorite toy next to her eye to force the child to make eye contact with her. Or, if he’s playing with a car, she will sit down on the floor and start playing with him. “The child would prefer to be with himself,” explains Wolfgur. “The therapist ‘interprets’ the child’s play as an invitation to connect. Thus she invites herself into his game and his world, all the while expressing pleasure and enthusiasm, in an attempt to compete with the objects for his attention.”
The Center, which began in 2006 with four children, currently has nine children and plans to expand. The group framework encourages social interaction and promotes communication and social skills in the children. Eight of the youngsters have registered major improvement.