From Day One: Me and My Mommy, in memory of Maurice Lowinger

Me and My Mommy is a one-on-one therapy training program for infants from birth to eighteen months and their parents. Parents and infants travel from across Israel to experience the unique environment of warmth and acceptance.

  • Providing infants with immediate intervention during a period of critical growth
  • Enabling parents to become co-therapists in their child’s rehabilitative process
  • Supporting families who are experiencing the initial jolt of raising a child with disabilities
  • Infants receive four hours of personal therapy sessions on a weekly basis; including: occupational, speech, physio, hydro, computer, and sensory awareness therapies as well as massage treatments.

The smiles and optimism of the Shalva staff are contagious and their care is genuine… It was at Shalva that my son began to walk, and all the staff cheered at his first steps. A Shalva Mother

Encouraging the Child’s Growth:  Rehabilitative Day Care Center

The Rehabilitative Day Care Center is a specialized, therapy-focused program for children ages 1-3 years old. Certified for children with intellectual impairments, physical disabilities, and communication disorders, the center incorporates an inclusion program for children with typical developmental patterns as well.

The program follows an early intervention educational model that is designed to establish a foundation for future development. Our staff of educators and therapists operates an intensive regimen comprised of activities and eleven weekly personal and group therapy sessions. Parent involvement is a primary focus of the Rehabilitative Day Care Center program, which includes family support groups and educational seminars throughout the year.

Our Didactic Toy Lending Library allows each child to bring home a therapeutic or cognitive learning toy, jointly selected by the therapists and parents at the culmination of bimonthly parent-child therapy sessions. The library serves a dual purpose: encouraging the children’s mastering of various developmental skills, and family participation. When played at home with parents and siblings, the library toys present an enriching bonding opportunity; offering a break-through channel of communication and family dynamic that allows the children to share school experiences with their families.

For a Better Future: Inclusion Early Childhood Center

The Inclusion Early Childhood Center is an extension of the Rehabilitative Day Care Center, offering advanced programming for children ages 4-6. The program presents a unique educational environment where children with and without disabilities learn together and interact as equals. Designed to escort our participants through kindergarten, the curriculum prepares participants for inclusion in the mainstream educational system.

 

Research shows that inclusive play and learning time is beneficial for both sets of children. Children with disabilities learn to model appropriate interactions while their peers without disabilities foster understanding, patience and more.

Living to the Fullest: After School Activity Center, in memory of Sima & Rubin Wagner

The After School Activity Center is a life-skills oriented, recreational program for children ages 6-21 with a variety of disabilities.

Children and teens enjoy an array of recreational activities on a daily basis enveloped by an empowering and inclusive social network of peers. Participants arrive by bus from their respective schools for an enriching afternoon of personal and group therapy sessions as well as a host of creative social activities; like sports, drama, dance, and art. Each afternoon concludes with dinner prepared and served with the assistance of the participants.

The program partners with local schools and youth groups in an enhanced effort to promote inclusion. The attending children often take part in various community events and advocacy initiatives. As members of the Shalva Band, basketball team, Bnei Mitzvah Project, and Team Shalva in the Jerusalem Marathon; the After School Activity Center participants develop a broader sense of communal belonging.

The combination of therapy and recreation encourages the participants’ personal development as well as their potential for social inclusion as they transition into adulthood.

In Good Hands: Overnight and Weekend Respite, dedicated by Susan & Leonard Feinstein

The Overnight and Weekend Respite program offers participants of the After School Activity Center the opportunity to attend weekly sleepovers and bimonthly weekend retreats. The Respite program provides participants with a forum to master independence and life skills in a realistic setting, while their families experience a valued and consistent respite period. Parents can feel secure knowing that their child is receiving love and care in a supervised environment while they focus on the needs of their other family members.

In this structured environment, the children practice hygiene and grooming skills as well as the ability to share responsibilities and function within a routine. The weekend Shabbat programs offer a warm and inclusive environment where children with disabilities and peers can connect through festive meals, interactive prayer services, and learning activities; an enriching experience for all.

Empowering our children to be independent and contributing members of society.

Unimagined Opportunities: Summer Camps

During the summer vacation, 250 children with various disabilities, ages 6-21, attend Shalva’s summer day and sleep away camps. The camps provide an enjoyable summer experience and also ensure continued progress of developmental achievements during a period void of a formal educational framework. Summer camps offer Shalva families an exceptional and vital respite period for strengthening the family unit.

The day camp takes place at the Shalva headquarters throughout July and August; and the sleep away camp, at an off-site resort for one week. Both camps focus on developing social and communication skills; like friendship building, teamwork, and frustration management. In a relaxed yet stimulating setting, children engage in awesome activities: jeep and airplane rides, water activities, horseback riding, organized sports, dance, arts and crafts, and performances by guest entertainers.

The program supports inclusion in a twofold manner: by enhancing the social and independence skills of children with disabilities, and by exposing those who meet the Shalva camp at various vacation attractions to the capabilities of individuals with disabilities.

Forward to the Future: Graduate Social Club

The Graduate Social Club is an evening program specifically fashioned to address increased vulnerability rates common to adult women with disabilities and to prevent related behavioral regressions in this new stage of life. Young women with a variety of disabilities, ages 21 and above, attend weekly recreational activities and group therapy sessions. The program is conducted in an empowering environment that encourages exposure to complex, real-life situations and teaches participants appropriate methods for coping with unexpected circumstances and unfamiliar behavioral norms.

Under the guidance of a staff social worker and psychologist, the women discuss pertinent issues like normative behavior, safety, sexuality, self-image and over-sensitivity.

Assisted by an intimate staff, participants map out personal development goals with each participant; like building confidence, forming appropriate social connections, mastering home sharing skills, cultivating talents, and expanding personal boundaries.

The Graduate Social Club supports the inclusion of adult women with disabilities as empowered and independent members of society.

Building Stronger, Happier Families: Family Support

Supporting the families of children with disabilities is a focal point of Shalva’s multifaceted mission.

All of Shalva’s services are free of charge, thereby significantly easing the financial responsibilities of families who are struggling to raise a child with disabilities.

Moreover, the organization’s therapists and special educators conduct bi-weekly support groups and educational seminars on relevant topics for parents, grandparents, caretakers, and siblings. Through Shalva’s programs and advocacy initiatives, parents watch their children blossom into capable, talented, and contributing personalities; full of life and joy.

Shalva’s caring staff and empowering environment give parents the hope and strength to cope with the challenges of raising a child with disabilities within the family framework.

Therapeutic Curriculum
Shalva offers a broad spectrum of therapies free of charge totaling 224,000 annual therapy hours.

Occupational Therapy

We help our children thrive in their daily living through occupational therapy (OT). Therapists build fine-motor skills like eating and playing with small toys, improving focus and hand-eye coordination. This creates a greater potential independence. Occupational therapists also introduce adaptive equipment and train the children of Shalva how to maximize these tools.

Physiotherapy

Shalva’s physiotherapists work as part of a multi-disciplinary team that effectively meets the needs of a broad range of challenges faced by Shalva participants. Children with disabilities are at risk for joint instability and weak muscle tone more than any other population. Physiotherapy fosters better mobility and quality of life through regimented routines that focus on the strength, stamina and balance.

Speech Therapy

Our participants need to make their voices heard. Shalva’s therapists provide the tools needed to attain sharper enunciation, fluency, pitch and volume control as well as syntax. Speech therapy also helps solve issues with drooling and swallowing.

We encourage parent involvement in the rehabilitative process as studies have shown that children who complete the program quickest and with the longest-lasting results are those whose parents have been involved.

Music Therapy

Shalva provides a holistic, all-encompassing therapeutic program is that ensures multi-faceted development. Our music department is provides all participants with framework of self-discovery and expression and cognitive development.
• The Shalva Band, directed by former IDF elite commander Shai Ben-Shoshan, is the second tier of that program. These superstars travel the world spreading the message that everyone deserves the spotlight.

Snoezelen

Snoezelen therapy takes place in an environment where all of the senses are engaged. Multi-Sensory Environments are unique in that therapy is participant driven and exploratory and the intensity of each feature is totally in control of the child. The Snoezelen room creates personal breakthroughs in communication, awareness and self-expression. Multi-Sensory Environments contain:

  • Staggered floor padding to promote balance and awareness
  • Specialty therapeutic rugs and spray lamps that provide tactile and visual stimulation
  • Calming background tones and aromatherapy elements that create a serene atmosphere.

Hydrotherapy

“My time in the pool with Raphael brought our relationship to a whole new level.” Sarah S.
Hydrotherapy is a crucial facet of Shalva’s therapeutic curriculum and creates a unique environment where parents and children can bond in new and fun ways. Our therapy pool helps hundreds of participants improve flexibility, strength and self-confidence.

Animal Therapy

Shalva’s critters (turtles, bunnies, hamsters, dogs and the occasional horse!) buddy-up with trained therapists in order to provide Shalva’s participants with exciting animal therapy sessions. At these get-togethers the kids of Shalva learn responsibility, bravery and mature methods of communication.

Art Therapy

Shalva’s art therapy program achieves two main objectives: opening up non-verbal pathways of self-expression and providing an imaginative forum to improve fine motor skills. This therapy is successfully utilized with the entire spectrum of Shalva’s beneficiaries to create personal breakthroughs in the areas of communication, awareness and dexterity. The program is directed by Sarah Yousef who ensures that art activities mesh with each child’s individualized learning plan.

Our parents say…

Through SHALVA, I learned to love and connect with my son. They saw Raphael and accepted him as a person.
Sara, mother of Raphael
At SHALVA, I began to build new dreams for a son that’s different
Grace, mother of Shalev
I prayed to G-d for a lifeline and then Adi got accepted into SHALVA and we arrived to a place that is fantastic and unique. And our Adi sings, she is happy.
Yossi, Adi's father
As soon as Ortal entered SHALVA, where everyone believed in her, she started to flourish. SHALVA tapped into her unique abilities, her ability to sing, to dance, to communicate.
Shlomo, Ortal's father
I couldn’t cope with him but when he joined SHALVA, I suddenly had this strong wall of support surrounding me.
Mira, Tal's mother