The Association for Mentally & Physically Challenged Children in Israel

International Scientific Committee

Since 1994, SHALVA has developed unique programs and acquired a wealth of knowledge invaluable to special educators. In the interest of promoting advanced training, SHALVA has aligned itself with top universities, medical schools and other related disciplines. These academic partnerships have brought SHALVA to the next level of service: familiarizing parents, professionals, volunteers and lay practitioners with the SHALVA model.

SHALVA undertakes to provide the most up-to-date and productive therapies available under the guidance of an International Scientific Committee, comprised of outstanding professionals who stand at the forefront of disability awareness.

After receiving her PhD from London University, Prof. Malka Margalit served as both the Head of the Constantiner School of Education in Tel Aviv University and Chairman of the Israeli council of Psychologists. She is a senior educational and rehabilitation-psychologist and educator. Prof. Margalit is the former Director of the Shnearson Psycho-Educational Center and a representative of the Israeli Psychologists' Organization for the National Health committee. At present, Prof. Margalit is the Vice President for International Development of International Academy of Research in Learning Disabilities and on the Coordinating Committee of the International Society on Early Intervention. She has written three books, published more than 100 articles in international journals and made contributions to many professional volumes.

She was the Vice Chairperson of the International Association of Special Education, Chairperson of the Committee on Disability and Rehabilitation in the International Council of Psychologists, and the Chairperson of the Research Committee of the Shalem Foundation. She was also the Chairperson of the National Committee that was nominated by the Israeli Minister of Education to examine the implementation of the Israeli Special Education Law (Margalit Committee) and was awarded the Enoch Prize in 1986. The emphasis of Prof. Margalit's work examines resilience, loneliness, and the impact of hope among children with developmental challenges, as well as their families.

Arie Rimmerman is Richard Crossman Professor of Social Welfare and Social Planning and founder Dean of Social Welfare and Health Sciences and head of school of social work at University of Haifa, Israel. He is also a distinguished Professor at the Newhouse School of Public Communication, Syracuse University. He is an internationally well-known researcher on the topics of social work and disability. His forthcoming book on Social Inclusion of People with Disabilities by Cambridge University Press provides international policy and legal perspective on the matter. Aside from his scientific contributions, he has served as an advisor to Ministers of Labor and Welfare in Israel and public committees on disabilities in Israel, Europe and the US. He is the recipient of the Lehman Award (1987), the William Trump Award (1998), the 1999 International Award of the American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR) and the 2006 Burton Blatt Leadership Award.

Prof. Michael Guralnick is Director of the Center on Human Development and Disability (CHDD) and Professor of Psychology and Pediatrics at the University of Washington. Comprised of a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities and a Mental Retardation & Developmental Disabilities Research Center, the CHDD is one of the largest interdisciplinary research and training centers in the United States, addressing issues directly related to developmental disabilities. 

Prof. Guralnick has directed numerous research, training and development projects in the fields of early childhood development and intervention, with special emphasis on the effectiveness of early intervention programs, peer-related social competence and inclusion. He has published eight books, more than 130 articles and book chapters, and his articles have appeared in highly regarded journals. He recently completed a major research project supported by the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development. 

Dr. Guralnick received the 1994 Distinguished Research Award from The Arc in the United States. He is a past president of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, the Council for Exceptional Children's Division for Early Childhood, and the Academy on Mental Retardation. Prof. Guralnick is a former Chair of the Mental Retardation & Developmental Disabilities Research Center. He is currently the Chair of the International Society on Early Intervention and the editor of the journal Infants & Young Children.

Melvyn I. Semmel is Research Professor Emeritus - Community Organization & Research Institute, and the former Director of the Special Education Research Laboratory at the University of California in Santa Barbara. He is a Professor Emeritus of Special Education and former Associate Dean for Research in the Graduate School of Education. Prof. Semmel was the Director of the Center for Innovation in Teaching the Handicapped and Professor of Special Education at Indiana University. He was also a senior faculty member of the Joint Education and Psychology Program, Coordinator of Training Programs in Mental Retardation, and Research Scientist in the Center for Research on Language & Language Behavior at the University of Michigan. He trained special education teachers at the State University of New York, Buffalo, and was a school administrator for moderately to severely disabled pupils.

Prof. Semmel maintains professional relationships with the following organizations: American Association on Mental Deficiency; American Academy on Mental Retardation; American Psychological Association; American Psychological Society; Institute for Neuropsychology; New England Medical Center; First National CEC Research Award; and The Center for Innovation in Teaching the Handicapped. Prof. Semmel has published more than 200 articles, chapters and books. He's lectured in over 50 universities and presented at scores of professional meetings and conferences. He has been a consultant to many school systems, international agencies and governmental departments.

Prof. Jake Burack received his PhD in Psychology from Yale University in 1988. He is a Professor in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology at McGill University and the founder and Director of the McGill Youth Study Team. He is a research coordinator at the Center for Neurodevelopmental Research at Hopital Riviere des Prairies. Prof. Burack was the co-chair of the Scientific Program Committee at the 2006 world congress on Down syndrome in Vancouver. He is a member of the Canadian Autism Training Faculty and is on the editorial boards of The Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders, Development & Psychopathology and The Journal of Intellectual Disability Research. He was a founding member of the editorial board of The Journal of Cognition & Development. His scholarly publications include articles, chapters in books, and individually published volumes.

Prof. Burack's primary area of research is the study of attention and cognition among persons with developmental disabilities including autism and Down syndrome. 

Jerusalem Post Article March 2012
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