From the start, the experience of parenting a baby with special needs is paved with confusion, distress, loss of hope and a sense of loneliness. This new reality is unlike anything one could have imagined previously.
SHALVA’s early intervention program, Me & My Mommy was created in response to the need for a targeted framework for children with special needs and their mothers in Israel. Designed to assist parents during the initial development period, the program aims to alleviate concerns and strengthen the entire family nucleus towards an improved and more secure future for all. The program was cited by the Ministry of Health in 2005 as the ‘Model for Early Childhood Development'.
Me & My Mommy is the leading program in Israel in the field of early intervention, relying on its vast professional experience and sensitivity. The treatments come from a wide range of disciplines and ensure advanced rates of progress within the respective categories of development. Treatment areas include: physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, touch-screen computer training, “Snoezelen” sensitivity development, baby massage, hydrotherapy and more.
Based upon a world view that acknowledges parents as full partners, the program provides early intervention treatments and cognitive stimulation that are combined structurally. Once a week the parents arrive with their baby in tow where they both observe and participate in the treatment process. Alongside SHALVA’s professionals, they learn how to take care of their baby, strengthen the connection with acceptance and promote their child to the highest possible functioning level.
Our Professional Staff at Me & My Mommy
The professional team structures and accompanies the process, ensuring a secure atmosphere that enables parents to cope with the unexpected challenges of ‘special parenthood’. As a rule, the treatment process of each family is closely monitored by experienced social workers who provide critical emotional assistance needed to help the process succeed.
Recently, several studies have been conducted on the Me & My Mommy program. The work was conducted by Professor Malka Margalit of the School of Education at Tel Aviv University for the express purpose of understanding the needs of toddlers with special needs and their family members, improving existing treatment and striving to incorporate these treatments into other rehabilitation institutes in Israel.
The Me & My Mommy program is built upon the understanding that a parent should take an active role in their child's therapy and that the very act of sharing results in empowerment. It is SHALVA’s contention that, with appropriate support, parents will gain enough mastery to become the best counselors and advocates for themselves and their child.