web analytics
November 24, 2014 / 2 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Aliyah and Keeping Young with Yisrael

After they made Aliyah, Randi discovered she was pregnant with Yisrael, who has Down syndrome.

Yisrael Simcha, age 6

Yisrael Simcha, age 6
Photo Credit: Michael Lipkin

Randi: He is now 6. He has a minor cardiac issue that just needs monitoring—it will never affect his daily life. There was a cardiologist on the case. He had an echo and a second echo before being released. They were very on top of things. We were lucky. There was no NICU stay and his bris [circumcision] was on time. He was assigned a regular pediatrician.

From a therapeutic perspective, here in Israel, things were just amazing, very fast-paced. A lot of special needs programs close in August so they were in a hurry to get him started. At 6 weeks old he had already started at Shalva, actually on the late side, some of the other kids were just 2 weeks old. I never spent a shekel there. The support system Yisrael received as an infant there was unbelievable.

He had physical therapy, massage therapy, speech therapy, sensory integration therapy. He spent time in the Snoezelen room. Each week it was three out of four of those therapies, the staff rotates it so everyone gets what they need. The therapists make a connection to each kid.

Shalva is for kids 0-2 years old. They have the Me & My Mommy early intervention program which supports the children and the mothers, and they don’t exclude dads. They offer support groups for the parents and there’s a social worker on staff. They do their best to let you know what services are available in this country so you can get additional support.

Shalva is only once a week so they want you to be able to get all the support you need. They want to know where to refer you when your child turns two. It’s a lifeline. As brand new parents of a Down syndrome child, you don’t know what services are available and it’s not something you can Google. Being at Shalva means you have the support of the other mothers who are at different places in their experiences and the staff is always there mingling and helping. It’s an amazing place for the time when the child is newborn: when everything is new.

israel in a performance mood (photo credit: courtesy Michael Lipkin)

Yisrael in a performance mood (photo credit: courtesy Michael Lipkin)

V: What therapies does he have? What help do you receive?

Randi: At 8 weeks Yisrael started receiving therapy from the Kupa (HMO). The whole rights thing: I don’t know if it’s only the Meuchedet plan, but I do not pay any co-pay for Yisrael’s therapies. Therapy throughout the first eight years is free. It’s got to be at least 26 shekels [around $7] for treatment but we don’t pay a thing.

Yisrael has had amazing therapists throughout the years. As a therapist and as a mom I have learned so much from them. He received from the Kupa all his therapies at Mercaz Rakefet  in Beit Shemesh and they provide all kinds of therapies: speech, physiotherapy, occupational . . . all sorts of therapies. He even attends a therapeutic sports chug (afterschool program) that he’ll attend for the entire year.

The teacher for the sports chug has a degree from Wingate and specializes in the field. The sports chug is considered emotional therapy and therefore it’s all covered. Mercaz Rakefet has been my go-to place because they run a great program. They teach the kids how to lose, how to win, how to play with other children. When he completes the sports chug, he’ll be able to participate in the regular mainstream sports programs at the local matnas [community center]!

V: How do you see Yisrael’s future in Israel as he develops and grows into adulthood?

Randi: I don’t know where he’s going for Kita Alef [first grade]. I haven’t explored it going that far forward. But he goes into first grade next year. Educationally and academically I don’t know where he’ll be but I stand behind the idea that he is just getting the best possible education available here or in America. It’s Torani [National Religious].

The Irya Gan [city-sponsored nursery school] here in Beit Shemesh comes under the umbrella of Chinuch Meuchad [special education]. The class is small, just 8 kids with 3 staff members. The kids are not mainstreamed per say, but Yisrael does get some mainstreaming at the Gan [nursery] next door.

About the Author: Blogger and mother of 12 Varda Meyers Epstein is a third-generation Pittsburgher who made aliyah at age 18 and never looked back. A proud settler who lives in the biblical Judean heartland, Varda serves as the communications writer for the nonprofit car donation program, Kars for Kids.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

8 Responses to “Aliyah and Keeping Young with Yisrael”

  1. Great article about a great family. Yisrael is one lucky dude.

  2. Wow. What a touching, wonderful story. You are such a sympathetic interviewer. Little Yisrael looks like my nephew when he was little. I'm sending this to my cousin, who has a child with Downs Syndrome.

  3. Malky Storch says:

    Yisroel is famous! I love that kid!

  4. What a kick it is for me to read about Michael, Randi, and have Varda writing the article, having known you in previous lives. it is a tremendous inspiration , and a Kiddush Hashem to see how you have dealt with with everything, I agree with you that it is not proper to say that G-d always puts special children in the place where they need to be. But , he did in Yisrael's case.

  5. Cherie Lewis says:

    Mazal Tov on your beautiful child!

  6. Thanks, Robert. I kind of just let people talk. It's fun.

  7. That's COOL. Lenny. It seems like the Lipkins and I have lots of mutual friends.

  8. Just look at that gorgeous, delicious, yummy face! What a blessing this little boy is. Thank you for a great article. This made my day.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
View from a section of the Old City of Jerusalem.
2 Jews Stabbed by Arab Terrorists in Old City of Jerusalem
Latest Blogs Stories
Prayer vigil at Ma'arat HaMachpelah (Cave of the Patriarchs) in Hebron.

We are the continuing generations from our Father Avraham who was given this Land by our L-rd.

Worshipers were cut down as they prayed

When a country supports ($) the PA or Gaza or “recognizes,” “Palestine,” they promoting terrorism.

Rasmieh Yousef Odeh leaving federal court last October.

There is no question whatsoever that Odeh was behind the fatal bombing of a SuperSol market in 1969

rachel's tomb

As we Jews returned to the Holy Land and prayed at our holy sites, forces fighting holiness came too

Channel 10 TV published on Sunday a poll they commissioned asking Israeli Arabs a rather straightforward but important question:

Today”s discussion: “The effects of current geopolitical situation around the world on investing.”

According to PM Netanyahu, the bill would enshrine full equality under law to all Israeli citizens.

Master Sergeant Zidan Saif (Zt”L) a Druze from the Galilee, was shot and killed saving Jewish lives.

President Rivlin’s recent statements are only half right, and that’s why he’s completely wrong.

This is our song “Learn to Love;” May joy and light be restored to Jerusalem speedily in our days.

I have a dream…President Obama will go to that prison, Pardon Jonathan Pollard and set him free

The burden of proof that a person is against Israel but not anti-Semitic rests on that person.

Bibi’s promising a good battle, not a victory in the war; We need to WIN the war against terrorism!

For 1000s of years it was perfectly OK for Jews to pray on Herod’s Extension of the Temple Mount.

The focus on the “Occupation” since 1967 is yet another invention to justify hatred and murder.

It should be clear Israel’s existence is not the real issue; the issue is Islamic fundamentalism.

More Articles from Varda Meyers Epstein
The triplets (left to right): Esther, Aliza, Judi.

“I don’t think my kids have any difficulties that are specific to the Israeli school system.”

Michael Behar is fighting the good fight for Israel from Seattle.

The universities and the local progressive culture make Pacific Northwest a hotbed of Israel hatred.

Finding Tekhelet is about fulfilling an ancient mitzvah that was there the whole time.

While tekhelet is a biblical commandment, it’s one full of “buts” that bring me up short.

“We very strongly identify with the Aseh Chayil National Religious and Modern Orthodox ideology.”

“Everything we have done and learned regarding the gifted students has also come from speaking to more experienced Olim, not through the system.”

She had a heart problem but no one imagined she would pass away the next day.

After they made Aliyah, Randi discovered she was pregnant with Yisrael, who has Down syndrome.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/ear-to-the-ground/aliyah-and-keeping-young-with-yisrael/2013/11/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: