Posts Tagged ‘special’

She Opened My Heart

August 23, 2017

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The gentle, loving glance of a freshly-minted chasan to his kallah as they sit on their new couch together, sharing their innermost thoughts. A special moment made even more special by the newlyweds themselves – two young people born with Downs Syndrome.

 

Marriage? Impossible, the naysayers had said. How will she…? How can he…?

But with the right kind of assistance, it became possible and many have found the ultimate in fulfillment with several organizations in Israel holding their hand.

 

How many times did she cry to her mother, I want to marry and have a home like my sisters and brothers. How many times did he look longingly at couples who had a closeness found only in marriage. They both ached to achieve what seemed so out of reach until a phone call was made. And the impossible became not as impossible as their families had assumed.

 

Lets visit a bit and watch them on their first shopping trip together. Such joy. Such togetherness as they choose the appropriate items from the shelves. Home again. To their own home. Delight as they turn the key and unlock their front door.  They’re hungry and prepare supper. He slices the cucumbers. She slices the egg. The pot is washed clean. The counter sponged to perfection.

 

But marriage is not about clean counters, you question. Can they relate?

 

Watch. Watch as she pours the Kiddush wine for her new husband. Their joy is palpable. Watch as they laugh together over the wedding pictures, sharing their own private jokes.  “She worries about my health. She cares about me,” their devoted glance at each other says so much more than his words. He becomes sensitive to her needs and brings her the perfect present to make her happy. She speaks about her marriage and he cannot resist planting a tender kiss on her forehead. He captures the essence of their marriage with the fond words: She opened up my heart.

 

 

All parents dream of the day they will accompany their child to the chuppah and see him found a family of his own. But for many parents, bringing that dream to fruition can be a nightmare! When the young man or woman has a condition that casts a shadow on his or her matrimonial future, the path to the chuppah may be strewn, not with rose petals and confetti, but with tears and frustration.

A few years ago Ezer Mizion decided to take up the challenge of advancing matches between people with medical issues. Its tremendous success has led the division to undertake the next step: Special Marriages.

 

Many such marriages have already been made. The sensitive caring provided by several organizations in Eretz Yisroel have made them a remarkable success. These organizations care for the couple after marriage. They operate and supervise apartments for special needs and provide mentoring for the couples. While these organizations assist after the wedding, none of them deal with the matchmaking, from beginning to end of the process. Ezer Mizion’s Strike A Match Division has recently partnered with them in creating shidduchim between special people.

 

Penina Raziel directed a Special Ed school for many years and has recently retired. But full retirement was not for a capable, energetic person like Penina and she began looking for a volunteer opportunity that would dovetail with her experience.  She discovered the perfect ‘match’ in heading the Special Department of Ezer Mizion’s Strike A Match Division.

 

Under Mrs. Raziel’s direction, Ezer Mizion recently held two introductory events, in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak. The response was overwhelming.  Although the events were minimally advertised due to the high advertising cost, over 200  attended in Jerusalem and more than 250 in Bnei Brak, participants coming from all parts of the country.

 

We look forward to sharing many ‘mazel tov’s ‘ with you , our good friends, as the special kol sasson, kol simcha reverberates among the streets of Eretz Yisroel.

 

To share their joy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2MP76Nax40

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_QaL2MJ16I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaOscSirXtc&spfreload=10

 

 

For further info: www.ezermizion.org    5225 New Utrecht Ave Bk NY 11219         718 853 8400

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What Would You Have Done?

July 17, 2017

pr special sunWhat would you do? What would you do if a fellow Jew stood there in tears begging you for help? If her situation was so difficult that you knew you yourself couldn’t handle it? If your heart ached to offer at least some relief? What would you do? Wouldn’t you say yes? Of course, you would! We’re Jews. Known for our compassion. And so that’s what we did. We said yes. We said yes to the mother of a special needs child who had already used up her allotted respite hours and called the office about Ezer Mizion’s Summer Camp for Children with Special Needs. The father had passed away a few months ago. The mother was left alone to care for the family including a difficult special child. She knew she had no more respite hours left and would have to pay for the service.  She began giving over her credit card info but before she reached the last digit, her voice choked up into sobs and she could not continue.  The camp was essential for this most difficult child. And no less essential was the break it afforded the whole family who would be able to enjoy the healing time of togetherness without the continual, relentless turmoil created by a child who was incapable of joining the family

unit.

The Real Thing
CP young man experiencing the ocean for the first time in his life

Camp was crucial but so was food for her family. Basic food. Credit cards have to be paid at the end of the month and there was hardly any money. The heart-rending tears flowed and so we said yes. Yes, we will accept her child at no cost. Wouldn’t you have done the same?

 

And we said yes to the family that has not one but two special needs children. As if that is not enough, another family member suffers from severe emotional disturbances. She, too, had no allotted hours remaining but could we say no?

 

We said yes because we were confident that you, our friends and supporters, would do the same and your generous donations would cover the cost.

 

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Jeeping trip for cancer patients and their families

Every year, Ezer Mizion’s Summer Camps include camps for Special Needs Children, camps for Cancer Patients and their Families enabling the whole family to enjoy a rejuvenating vacation from cancer in a fun atmosphere geared for their needs and, beginning this year, camps for the Mentally Challenged and their Families.

 

Some excerpts from one of the many thank you letters received:

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High functioning special kids visiting the kosel

Survival mode. That’s the only way to describe it. When my daughter was out of the house, we lived normally. When she was home, it was all about getting from one minute to the next with the house, her siblings and my sanity usually less than more intact. Pandemonium reigned. Every day. My children hardly knew what it was like to live in a normal home. Invite friends over to study for a test? Absurd. Have a quiet talk with a child? There was no quiet. We had no end to look forward to in the foreseeable future. My eight year old dreamed of getting married and living in a calm house. Ezer Mizion came through over and over again with a variety of support, then with the biggest surprise of all – a summer camp geared just for kids like her. My children couldn’t believe it when I suggested a trip to the zoo during vacation.  Such a simple pastime but so out of reach with a special child at home. Ezer Mizion, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. May you all be blessed.

 

Ezer Mizion provides services to over 660,000 of Israel’s population annually in addition to its Bone Marrow Registry which saves the lives of Jewish cancer patients the world over.

 

For further info:   http://www.ezermizion.org            5225 New Utrecht Ave Bk NY 11219             718 853 8400

Special Needs: Accepting Those Who Are Different

June 8, 2017

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Summer for the Special Child

The summer break is a magical world of fascinating experiences for children, who enjoy the long days of vacation and fun, of frolic and adventure. At the same time, it can be quite a headache for parents, who are kept busy figuring out how to keep the children occupied and who will supervise them when the adults go to work and take care of other occupations.

This “headache” is twice as daunting when we are speaking of children with special needs and impairments, who need extra attention and even closer supervision. Their world is cramped into the limited scope of their families and they get lost in the lack of  routine, as dependent children who constantly need a loving look, a caress, and help in mobility. Their inability to adapt to to an unstructured day leads to chaos and misery both on the part of other family members and the child himself. the house is continually upside-down. Siblings cannot invite a friend over for a game or even read more than a page of a book without a sudden avalanche of the contents of dresser drawers coming tumbling down on them. The logistics of a simple trip to the local park make it an impossibility for the family to enjoy. Mommy cannot even dream of a more complex trip to the zoo. As frustrated as the family becomes, the frustrations are two-fold for the special child who does not have a clue as to how to productively occupy himself.  For special-needs children, the world of experiences is piled with challenges that may seem banal and self-understood. But for these children, one on one guidance is vitally needed for the success of even the simplest activity. An organized professional day camp is not a luxury. It is a necessity.

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Special Needs Fun at Amusement Park

Anyone who did not see the 130 children who came every day from the entire Southern region (Netivot, Ofakim, Sderot, Beesheva, and all the surrounding towns) to Ezer Mizion’s day camp for special-needs children – never saw what real happiness looks like. The day camp provided concentrated days of happiness and high spirits, fun and adventure for the children, and hours of substantial relief for the parents and siblings. In addition to the mobility accessories, playground equipment, fun workshops, entertainment, arts and crafts, chocolate-making, drumming, baking, musical activities, animal performances, dog training, trips, and attractions, the day camp was unique in the tremendous power of giving demonstrated by its more than 250 volunteers. Each child was assigned a personal volunteer who looked after him and saw to all his personal needs. The day camp had twice as many volunteers as campers, enabling half the volunteers to alternately rest and recharge their batteries, to be ready for the challenge of boundless giving that characterizes the day camp.

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Special Needs Summer Fun

“I am very happy and excited,” said one mother whom we met on the site, glowing with pleasure at the sight of her son in his wheelchair, grinning from ear to ear. “But my happiness is tempered by a bit of sadness.”  “Why are you sad?” we asked, surprised at the tears that seemed about to burst from her blinking eyes.” “I’m sad because tomorrow, the day camp will be over and my son will be back home, without a framework to keep him busy,” she said, looking longingly in the direction of the chairman of Ezer Mizion’s Netivot branch, Rabbbi Naftali Kuber. Rabbi Kuber is the engine moving the wheels of the day camp. He is in charge of the tremendously complex project of getting the day camp going and running smoothly, among other things – rallying the funds to provide the children with a rich breakfast and a hot, attractive lunch. You couldn’t miss the sense of anguish expressed by the mother. Naftali, who is used to emotional moments such as these, promised that “He who places his trust in Hashem will be surrounded by chessed, loving-kindness.” The father of a boy from Beersheva joins the circle: “There is nothing like this. This is a tremendous chessed enterprise with power that cannot be captured in words. My little boy comes home every day happy and cheerful, alert and full of joie de vivre, a stark contrast to routine days, when he returns exhausted and miserable.”

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Special Needs Children

The day camp took place on the Chemdat Hadarom College campus in the Sedot Negev regional council. A number of entities and companies sponsored the various activities, including: the Netivot Community Center, the Netivot Social Services Department, Sedot Negev Educational department, the various municipalities in the area, Klalit Health Services, which rallied with a warm heart for the cause, and the Dan Badarom bus company, which donated a bus to transport the volunteers every day. Every visitor who stopped into the day camp was struck by the love and special joy that prevailed in the day camp, and by the volunteers who devoted their personal vacation on behalf of the special children.

Rabbi Naftali Kuber, chairman of Ezer Mizion’s Netivot branch, warmly thanked Netivot Maor Yechiel Zohar for his outstanding assistance in organizing the day camp, and Tamir Idan, head of the edot Negev Council, who also rallied on behalf of the children and graciously provided all necessary assistance.

Help those on the waiting list for 2017!

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When Members of the Israeli Police Meet Up with Yeshiva Students

November 9, 2016

All barriers fall to the wayside when the human heart encounters respect. Secular , Chareidi, Druze…it makes no difference. When the Israeli policeman watches an Ezer Mizion counselor, tzitzis flying in the air, gently placing a disabled child into a wheelchair with an encouraging pat on the cheek… When he sees the pride in the set of the shoulders as the counselor wheels his young charge down the plaza towards the kosel, the one place on this earth where all IQ’s are equal…When he recalls that these very special children are being cared for 24/7 by these very special counselors who are spending their vacation at Ezer Mizion’s camp and receiving no pay…respect wells up in his heart and he desperately wants to be part of this event. And so he, too, grabs hold of the handles of a wheelchair, and, for several minutes, he, too, proudly joins the parade of chessed.

To quote one policeman at the scene: “They are true angels, warming our hearts every time anew. Amidst our gamut of assignments, ongoing security activity, and involvement with traffic accidents in the capital, we always make a special effort to be available to respond to Ezer Mizion’s request, and consider it our greatest privilege. We will do whatever we can to help them out on their special children’s visit to Jerusalem and to the Kotel.”police-statement-re-special-kosel-visit-2016-ok-to-use

Due to the participants’ disabilities, the police force accompanies them throughout their stay in the city, assisting them with all the means at their disposal. Children and youth from the Ezer Mizion retreat came on their traditional trip to Yerushalayim. The transport vans, buses, and ambulances were escorted by a Traffic Division motorcycle unit from the time they entered the city limits, for the length of their travel route, until their arrival at the Kotel plaza. There, they were met by police from the Kotel unit, who guided the buses to parking spots alongside the plaza, helped the staff and volunteers take the children and youths off the buses and ambulances, and remained with them for the duration of their visit. At the end, the Traffic Division motorcycle unit police escorted the buses on their way back amid a shower of thanks from both staff and children alike.

The respect of the policemen would increase a thousand-fold if they were to follow the counselors back to the camp. Each counselor is assigned his own ‘child’ with whom he spends a complete twenty—four hours each day of the camp.   Some children need bathroom assistance, others need to be painstakingly fed   and still others need to be watched every moment lest they disappear in the woods. Nocturnal visits to the bathroom, handling a tantruming twelve-year-old are just part of the package that these counselors have fought for the privilege of taking on. Together with the Israeli police, we salute the young men who have discovered the joys of giving before they even officially enter adulthood.

When a Little Guidance Made all the Difference…

October 26, 2016

pr-phoneShalom!

I just wanted to express in writing my deep admiration of the amazing woman on your Ezer Mizion Advocacy Unit staff named Tovi.

Today was the day of my appeal for eligibility for a stipend for my disabled son. I was so nervous. Everything depended on the outcome of this appeal.

Like an angel from Heaven, Tovi’s number appeared on my cell phone screen. She called to prepare me and to give me the emotional support that I needed to present my case well. The instructions she gave me proved to be extremely effective!!!

First of all, just the knowledge that someone is thinking of you precisely on this critical day gave me such a good feeling. Her patience with me was absolutely remarkable. A few minutes into the conversation, my battery ran out and we were disconnected. Before I could even look up her number, she had called me back. Then it happened again. She had already given me the facts that she needed to give over but she called me back again (!) because she saw I wasn’t emotionally secure yet. Whenever I would go to the Ezer Mizion office I would see how busy everyone was. I marveled at her calling me back again and again just to make me feel good. That’s when I realized that she and the other members of the staff were very busy. They were busy helping people like me! Me- just an ordinary housewife- I was the focus of her attention. Even though our conversation was cut off several times because my battery ran out, she called again and again until I emerged calm, tranquil, and confident.

I simply cannot find the words to sufficiently express the magnitude of her contribution towards the success of the appeal committee session and the shortening of the time we’d have to spend there – it was all over in a matter of minutes… too bad I didn’t set a timer!

She explained to us clearly what documents to present first and what is most important for the doctor to see. She guided us on how to stress the most important details in each document, and it really helped. The doctor reviewed the documents in seconds and was duly impressed, and that was it! He said that we are eligible for the maximum sum and did not even give us a chance to take out the rest of the documents or to say anything further (or, more accurately… to begin saying anything!!)

In short, all I can do is bless her and wish her that she should enjoy all good things in this world. And to you, I say – you are very lucky to have a staff member with such a big heart and such boundless patience as to stay with me on the line for a full 30 minutes (including a few disconnections that were not her fault, but rather the fault of my battery…) and not to hang up until she confirmed that I was fully prepared for the committee meeting!

May there be many like her among our people!

And may there be many like you – Ezer Mizion!

How fortunate are we that this is our nation and these are our Jewish brethren!!!!

With a prayer for your continued success,

And with profound admiration and appreciation,

Dudi’s Mom

Ezer Mizion provides services to over 660,000 of Israel’s population annually in addition to its Bone Marrow Registry which saves the lives of Jewish cancer patients the world over.

 

 

 

For further info: www.ezermizion.org             718 853 8400  5225 New Utrecht Ave Bk NY 11219

 

 

Fraidy’s Best Friend: the Monkey

September 28, 2016

monkey-standerOn the screen they form a row of numbers. Impersonal numbers marching down an excel sheet. But behind every number is a family. Perhaps a Mommy living under unbelievable tension, a grandma watching from the sidelines- worried, helpless or a small child expressing his frustrations at his inability to do what every other child can do in tantrum after tantrum. People living through life’s crises. Falling. Trying again.

Fraidy and her parents were one such family. Fraidy was born a preemie. Her development was slow, as expected. At twenty seven months, she still was not walking. Due to her high muscle tone, she had trouble straightening her legs. The only way she could get around was by walking on her knees. But walking on knees is not walking. It’s difficult and does not allow her to make her way around the house with ease. Walking outdoors is completely impossible. No visit to the grocery with Mommy. No thrilling trip down the playground slide. And constantly seeing the neighbor’s children exploring the outdoors while she feels herself to be second rate. How long can a mother look at her child’s sad face without breaking down herself!

She was receiving physical therapy three times a week and progress was being made. The family was looking forward to normalcy, perhaps by age three. But then something happened to thwart all that.

Her younger sister was born. With a defect. A life-threatening defect. A liver transplant was needed. Abroad.

“There was no question that we would give our younger daughter what she needed,” says Mrs. S. “But what about Fraidy? Would our long stay abroad curtail, for the time being, her therapy? Would all her progress be halted? Would she perhaps even regress?”

Throughout their ordeal with Fraidy, Ezer Mizion had been at their side with advice, with advocacy, with meals when the going got rough, with rides to the clinic and, most important, with that supportive smile that envelops the receiver with strength.   It was only natural that they turned to Ezer Mizion now with their dilemma. A dilemma so hard for parents when the needs of one child conflict with the needs of another. There were meetings with the physiotherapist. Phone calls. And then came an answer. ‘How about trying the monkey?”

“She was referring to a monkey stander. The physiotherapist recommended it highly and Ezer Mizion’s Medical Equipment Loan Center had one available for the family. It would do much to advance Fraidy’s motor function in the areas of standing and walking and would extend her leg muscles significantly. Would it work? Our answer came in the form of an effusive thank you letter from Mrs. S. enabling us to share her joy.

“I cannot capture on paper the light and joy that came into our house after just one week of using the monkey stander. The stander’s engaging design stimulated Fraidy to form an attachment to it and to want to use it. It has become her best friend. She eats in the stander, plays in the stander, and her friends gather around her to play along. This was beneficial for her socially and emotionally, too, since she no longer felt like the disabled girl on the sidelines. The monkey stander has indescribably jumpstarted our little girl’s progress, with unbelievable effectiveness. With Hashem’s help, she has already taken her first steps, to the family’s enthusiastic applause!”

“Dear Ezer Mizion,” she continues. “Thank you from the depths of our hearts! We hope that, with continued use of the stander, Fraidy will walk on her own two feet, like everyone else, even before we have to fly abroad. A major part of this success is to your merit.

“May Hashem help you continue your wonderful work and bring light and joy to many more homes.”

To “meet” other special children assisted by Ezer Mizion:

https://www.pinterest.com/ezermizion/it-s-a-mazel-tov-a-special-mazel-tov/

 

Ezer Mizion provides services to over 660,000 of Israel’s population annually in addition to its Bone Marrow Registry which saves the lives of Jewish cancer patients the world over.

It’s Only a Game…Or Is It?

August 24, 2016

 

pr golden 2 14 yom tzilulim DSCF1639  Esty had absorbed the message that pervades every nook and cranny at Ezer Mizion: “What else can we do to help those in need?” Esty was hired as a Developmental Aide who met with special needs children several times a week, working to attain the goals set by the therapists. Being well trained in the field and blessed with a lot of initiative and great ideas, she developed a program using games to help meet those goals. A classic Candyland game could work wonders if utilized in the right way, she discovered. It was not long before she was heading Ezer Mizion’s newly founded Game Lending Library. Therapists would use the games to supplement their own supplies and families with special children would meet with her and borrow games based on her recommendation.

A busy mother, at her wits end, is told that her child will grow so much more if Mommy does ‘homework’ with him each day. It’s not that she doesn’t want to obey the therapists’ instructions. It’s not that she doesn’t care about her child reaching his potential. It’s just that after she’s done with the usual work in running a large family in addition to dealing with the clothes dumped out of every drawer for the third time that day by her special child, in addition spending an hour searching the neighborhood when he , once again, maneuvered the complicated lock and escaped through the front door, in addition to dealing with her teenage daughter who is so upset that she can never invite friends over her house, in addition to…, she has no energy – physical or emotional- left to do homework. But a game? That’s different. His siblings can be trained to use it properly. It can be a means of bringing the family closer together in a fun way. A game? A game can be magic.

pr golden -f-IMG_4766-maleWith the Game Lending Library providing so much for the special children and their families, Ezer Mizion staff began to think of more ways it can be of benefit. It was not long before the Library made its way to Ezer Mizion’s Golden Age Division. Esty with her vast knowledge in utilizing games for cognitive, motor and social stimulation, now adapted it to a project that serves the elderly. A training program for volunteers was instituted which taught the art of playing games and how to use games for promoting social skills, generating social interaction, etc. what games are good for what purposes, how to work the way up in skill acquisition, what to watch out for, etc. The focus is on generating interest and social involvement which is especially important for elderly homebound people who suffer from isolation, depression and lose interest in life. These volunteers go to homes to play games with the elderly.  They choose a game that is ability and level appropriate, geared to specific goals. The elderly homebound love it as do their family members and caregivers.

 

 

pr golden 2 14 Yom Tzilumim. DSCF1457Café Britania (named as such because it was primarily funded by the British ambassador) is a social club for Holocaust survivors. So many of these survivors live alone with little or no extended family. Often, they lose interest in living and withdraw into a ‘living death’. Café Britania becomes their surrogate family, providing an embracing arm filled with reasons to wake up in the morning. It’s a place where they can gather together and be understood both by their fellow club members and by the caring staff. Exercise, brunch, lectures on health maintenance and other topic of interest, creative craft work, gardening, so many projects all serve to renew their interest in daily living. Their bodies are kept active. Interesting ideas fill their minds and they are surrounded by those with whom they can share their thoughts.

pr golden 2 14 yom tzilulim DSCF1200The initial group was small but enthusiastic and the game was underway.  Sounds of excitement from the group attracted others and it soon doubled in size. The air was alive with electricity as players vied with each other to win. The women were overflowing with happiness and each one strove to be first to shake Esty’s hand and thank her. Battling loneliness of the elderly on a second front, the Game Library has now become an integral part of Ezer Mizion’s program for goldenagers.

Ezer Mizion provides services to over 660,000 of Israel’s population annually in addition to its Bone Marrow Registry which saves the lives of Jewish cancer patients the world over.

For further info:               www.ezermizion.org     718 853 8400       5225 New Utrecht Ave Bk NY 11219

A Plant Named Chanochi

July 13, 2016

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When there is no sunshine, the plant grows awry. It may have sprouted from a healthy seed but the dusky gloom impedes its development. Chanochi was such a plant. He was born perfectly healthy but the sunshine of a loving mommy was missing in his life. It was during his infancy that a sibling passed away and together with the sibling was buried his mommy’s laughter, her joy in her newborn, her desire to nurture. Chanochi was fed. He was diapered. His clothes were kept clean but nothing more. And so Chanochi grew. His body matured. His motor skills developed. But nothing more. He was quite developmentally delayed and did not communicate with others. Ever. He moved from home to school on a daily basis but had no relationships. A childish giggle never escaped his lips. He did not participate in pre-school activities and simply sat there, waiting for the day to end so that another one can begin…so that it also can end…

 

The situation had been further exacerbated by Chanochi having developed a fever at three months which never went away. He was seen by numerous doctors and has had endless tests of various types, even genetic testing. Until today, the problem persists, and the doctors have no answer other than a faulty internal barometer. The constant needle-poking by strangers without the comfort of Mommy’s loving arms had taken a further toll on his battered spirit. The results: a very sad, withdrawn little boy.

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He was eligible for therapy but derived little benefit from the flow of therapists through his home due to his fear of strangers. Leah was different. She was determined. And she was creative. Leah was an Ezer Mizion Developmental Aide.

 

A developmental aide is not quite a therapist. An occupational therapist does his work. A speech therapist does his and a physiotherapist works in his specific field. A developmental aide is in touch with all the above and develops a holistic treatment approach that takes into account all that the child is receiving from other places. Developmental aides are trained staff members who have extensively studied topics on early childhood development (cognitive, physical, emotional and social). They work under the guidance of the attending PT, OT or ST, who meet with the child for a minimal number of sessions. The developmental aide meets with the child up to 4 times each week and works with the child to reach the therapists goals.pr preschool DD ok to use f-boy

 

Leah saw that this was not simply a matter of waiting till the child warmed up. Nothing was going to be achieved by one-on-one sessions when the child refused to leave the lap of a family member. No therapeutic play would have any effect if Chanochi simply sat there, imprisoned in his own world, terrified of reaching out to another. There had to be another way. That is when she realized that he needed to have the focus removed from him so that the therapy sessions can take place with him as a bystander. The obvious solution (to an out-of-box thinker like Leah) was to move the sessions to his pre-school. She became a ganenet at Ezer Mizion’s Pre-school for the Developmentally Delayed for a short period of his day involving all the children in activities that were beneficial for them all but actually geared for little Chanochi. With the focus off him, Chanochi felt free to watch the activities. Out of the corner of her eye, Leah monitored his every movement, his every facial change and adjusted the activities accordingly.   And s-l-o-w-l-y, Chanochi began to mimic the body movements of his classmates during these activities. It’s been a long haul and there is still a long road to go but Chanochi now makes sounds to communicate his needs. Leah is confident that words will soon follow. What warms her heart the most is the little throaty laugh that often emerges during a fun activity. It’s a shy laugh. A restrained laugh. Like a cautious butterfly peeking out from the dim, gloomy cocoon that had been its world. But a laugh it is!

pr spec preschool DD ok to use  f-boy

 

Developmental Aides are just one of the ways that Ezer Mizion helps families like this. Medical referrals and advocacy, advice in dealing with bureaucracy, medical equipment loan and varied, practical assistance in the home are some of the other services offered by Ezer Mizion at no cost.

 

Sometimes, as with Chanochi, an extra set of ‘parents’ are needed. Like any parent, Leah and all those involved at Ezer Mizion look forward to watching Chanochi develop into the happy and confident child he was meant to be.

 

For further info: www.ezermizion.org    718 853 8400       5225 New Utrecht Ave Bk NY 11219

 

 

what’s it like when a mazel tov is accompanied by a question mark?

March 16, 2016

A Letter Meant for You, Our Dear Friends and Supporters

Hello everyone,

What’s it like when a mazel tov is accompanied by a question mark?

My name is Sara. I have four enchanting, brilliant, beautiful sons, bursting with energy. I had thought that the first three were challenging enough, keeping me on my toes 24/7. Little B.’s’s challenges were different. I’d like to share my journey with all of you at Ezer Mizion, you who are so much a part of that journey.

When we brought him home, we had to regroup and decide how we would approach our presentation of their new brother to his older siblings. It took a lot of thought until we were finally satisfied with a plan of action. We taught his brothers to be happy and see his successes even though his failures were so glaring when compared to other babies in the neighborhood. . We told them that they’re allowed to ask and allowed to ache, and that there is much to be thankful for. The truth, brought down to their age level, was put on the table: No! We don’t know why. Yes, in the end, he will be able to walk. Yes, sometime or other he will talk. Yes, it hurts me, too.

We have learned to enjoy a different graph, a developmental graph that does not even attempt to catch up with the norms. Our own graph. And on our graph, there is a steady rise in all areas of development.

But which school would be the right fit for him? Maybe he would manage in a group younger than he? The starting point would look similar, but how long would it take until they would pass him, leaving him lagging behind, physically large, saturated with failures, labeled, with caregivers who don’t know how to help him and are frustrated by “this child who doesn’t belong here.” How long would it take him to stop trying? How long would it take until he’d lose that part of his personality that promises us and him that “the sky’s the limit”?

Documents and runarounds and tests and evaluations and another committee meeting. But wait!! Stop!! Ezer Mizion? They provide so many services. Do they also have a preschool for the developmentally delayed?

Now, six months later, here we are… Our Baby comes to Gan every morning very happily. He loves the driver who takes him there, is received with open, loving arms into the embrace of the marvelous staff who wait for him there in Ezer Mizion’s pre-school gan. He has an orderly daily schedule, with working groups and get-togethers and meals where he learns to use eating utensils by himself. He has teachers and caregivers who set goals and advance him through physiotherapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. They asked us many questions, observed him, and worked with him hands-on, so as to build him the most suitable tailored program.

The overall feeling is that everyone cares about him a lot. He is important, and they are happy with him and excited by him. They see his successes, that he has a place and a time and a right to explore and discover the world like everyone else.

We have a child with a multidisciplinary developmental delay. He is smiley, curious, and mischievous. He makes unabated progress in his own personal graph. He loves and is loved. Our little boy dashes about creating mischief wherever he goes!!! And we are deeply grateful.

Mommy

For further info: 718 853 8400         www.ezermizion.org            5225 New Utrecht Ave Bk NY 11219

 

 

Summing it All Up

September 16, 2015

pr spec - camp 2015 11817085_525607327592208_8172798921861778918_nSummer is winding down and with it, Ezer Mizion’s summer camp program. “It’s very fulfilling,” says Aharon Levy, senior Ezer Mizion administrator upon the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Camp Program. This year about 4,000 participated in the day camps and retreats, 4,000 special needs children, special needs young adults, families dealing with cancer, mentally disabled and physically disabled. The common denominator of all the summer camp programs was the tremendous challenge posed every day and each hour of camp, which demanded comprehensive and uncompromising logistics, single-minded commitment, devoted staff and a cadre of enthusiastic volunteers.
pr canc sup jeep intro picture 2015“Here where I stand,” says Aharon Levy, “about 400 girls with special needs are enjoying a safe and professional retreat here, which accommodates all their unique requirements. The volunteers –one, sometimes two, for each child– underwent special training that taught them exactly what they would have to do. Before the retreat, they met the child and her parents and got to know her and her unique disabilities – what she is sensitive to and what they must be careful about, so that the days of the retreat would go by with maximum pleasure and safety. Hours upon hours of work went into arranging the exciting program, and the daily schedule was meticulously planned out to give campers a fun experiences to gird them with the strength they need for another year of tough challenges.
pr canc sup camp 2015“The day begins at six-thirty in the morning, when the dedicated volunteers report to the children’s rooms to help them get organized. At seven-thirty, the dining room opens, and right after breakfast is the morning activity, trips, special programs, water activity, and anything you can imagine to make a child’s dream come true. The day winds down with a calm and pleasant nighttime routine, when each child is put to sleep with a full helping of love and attention.
“The highlight of the retreat is the concluding banquet, when the children see themselves in video presentations and recall all the experiences they had during camp. Then there is the final moment – the tear-filled goodbyes, both heartrending and elevating. Many children refuse to leave; it is hard for them to part from their devoted volunteers and this exceptional experience.”
pr canc sup camp 2015 11730962_533479650138309_1938180863_nWhen you walk around on the site, you understand that organizing such a retreat is no simple matter at all – from decorating the place to bringing in the full range of equipment and supplies. Ezer Mizion takes good care of the volunteers as well. After putting the children to sleep, volunteers sit down to an elaborate supper, accompanied by fascinating, exciting programs, rich with content. But of course, this nightly recompense is just a drop in the bucket as compared to the tremendous dedication and effort they invest in the children.”
As Rabbi Levy points out: “Every year anew, I am awestruck by the sight of these hundreds of volunteers, who dedicate their long-awaited summer vacation to the retreat. I am absolutely amazed at how they can spend days in the company of a severely disabled child. Do you realize how many hours there are in each day, how many minutes? It is hard work! The next day, they do it all over again. And all this on a volunteer basis, with no remuneration! There are very difficult children at camp who are on the go, non-stop, 12 hours a day and need constant supervision! There is only one explanation: supreme dedication!”
pr canc sup camp 2015  11796201_526093560876918_62661206831841520_nEven our extremely busy leaders desire to express their admiration. The Sanzer Rebbetzin and Rebbetzin Koledetzky both visited the camp and spoke of their amazement at witnessing the dedicated volunteers. The Rebbetzins went on to pour their accolades on Ezer Mizion, which does its work purely for the mitzvah , bringing much merit to the Jewish nation.

For more info: http://www.ezermizion.org

One of the many letters in our mailbox:
What a great camp and what a phenomenal group of young women working there!

Mira was a bit overwhelmed to see us and started to cry hysterically but she is settling back in to being with us. Rachel said Mira did not cry at all at camp so I know this was just the transition and those are often challenging for Mira.

Rachel, her counselor, was beyond fabulous!. She has incredible energy with a beautiful sense of calm and confidence. Mira had one seizure while at camp and it sounds like it was handled as well as it could have been.

We also had a great week with our boys, which would have been impossible with a special child at home, and our youngest even got to experience one day and night where he was the only child which never happens.

So many thanks!