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October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
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Israel Offers Superior Services to “Special Needs” Olim


Ruchie Aloof, who made aliyah from New Jersey to the town of Yad Binyamin near Rehovot, and who is the mother of a PDD youngster, didn’t know how much assistance she would receive from the “system” in Israel. “You know, this is not the easiest thing for a parent to deal with, especially in Israel, where you have to be a bit more pushy or, as the saying goes, ‘the more you squeak the more oil you will receive’. What I discovered is that my PDD son is more eligible for various types of assistance than in the USA,” she told the Jewish Press. “For instance, many special needs children are eligible for alternative therapies such as horseback riding and other animal therapies that are subsidized by your insurance. In the USA, they’ve only started to think about this type of therapy. Some youngsters who might not have great verbal skills could be put on a horse and they are actual able to control the animal. It’s amazing to watch. If your child is recognized by Bituach Leumi (National Health Insurance) as having special needs, you will receive a stipend every month towards alternative therapy. You choose the enrichment therapy that fits your child’s needs. Of course, the government also assigns you a social worker who will advise and help you navigate the system. Families with a child or young adult with special needs are even entitled to discounts on electricity etc. And in designated school districts, busing is provided as well. It’s not a perfect system and there will always be hurdles to deal with but the bottom line is that my child is thriving in school.”

 

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