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At the Stein Early Intervention Center: Fun for the Entire Family


L-r: Snoezelen therapy; mat time; children making a sign.

Finding down-time with the kids is challenging for any parent – getting time off from work, budgeting the cost, finding amenities to fit everyone’s individual needs are some of the factors every parent faces.  The challenge increases for families who have a child with a disability.  In 2009, Israel Elwyn's (IE) Louis and Bessie Stein Early Intervention Center in Haifa opened The Family Center for the families of children with disabilities.  At the Center, individual treatments for a child with a disability can be integrated with experiences for the entire family.  The goal of the Center, located on the Legacy Heritage Campus, is to provide each family an opportunity to maintain a more active role in their child's treatment together with multiple options for social engagement and structured activities for the all the members of the family.  

Children with disabilities who visit The Family Center come to play together in an accepting environment, with toys and in facilities adapted to their needs.  Individual and group activities for the children with disabilities include a variety of therapies – occupational, speech and communication, physical, and drama – as well as a Snoezelen multisensory stimulation room and Feldenkrais treatments.  After therapy sessions, they can join their siblings to enjoy a range of games, arts and crafts, movies, story time and more.  Parents may participate in an informal support group or join their children’s activities.  The Center also offers organized day trips and outings.

Below are the experiences of some Center visitors:

Eight-year old Anat accompanies her three-year old brother Udi, who has autism, and their mother to the Center.  While Udi receives therapies, Anat plays with other children who have come with their siblings, knowing that here she will not be questioned about her brother.  At the same time, their mother can speak with other parents about how they handle the challenges of a child with a disability, and receive instruction from therapists on follow-up in the home.

Some of the children who accompany their brothers and sisters to the Center give generously of their time to the other children.  Sixteen-year old Ido has been coming to the Center for three years with his sisters.  Eight-year old Talia participates in sensory and animal therapies, and six-year old Dana received communication therapy at the Center for two years, but today she comes solely for the games.  While Talia is in treatment sessions, Ido – who has Asperger Syndrome and attends a communication class in his high school to overcome communication barriers – leads other children in recreational activities.  This is the second year in which the Center has awarded Ido a certificate of recognition for his volunteer activities. 

Thirty families currently participate in the Center, which is open two afternoons each week to any family in the Haifa region having a child with a disability up to the age of twelve.

Lets Connect

We'd love to hear from you! Also, please let us know in advance of your next trip to Israel and we will give you a tour of the Israel Elwyn programs.

You can also contact one of our North American offices: United States: (267) 225-5132 or Canada: (416) 649-1655.

If you would like to make a contribution either online or by check, please see the details below.

David B. Marcu, Chief Executive Officer

IE's mission is to develop and provide a wide array of supports and tools for people with disabilities, while constantly striving for excellence of service and the creation of a just society. Together with people with disabilities and society at large, we shall continue working as an innovative and cutting-edge organization.

Please support the work of Israel Elwyn to provide state-of-the-art services in the areas of childhood early intervention, rehabilitation, assisted living, vocational training and employment services for persons with disabilities by making a gift:

At PayPal:
American Friends of Israel Elwyn
Canadian Friends of Israel Elwyn

By check payable to:
American Friends of Israel Elwyn, PO Box 828284, Philadelphia, PA 19182-8284
Canadian Friends of Israel Elwyn, 74 Tycos Drive, Toronto, Ontario M6B 1V9

To donate in Israel:
Please click this link:
Mail checks: payable to "Israel Elwyn", at 20 Henrietta Szold St., Jerusalem 9650200

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