In late November, Chimes Israel’s Shaked Rehabilitative Early Childhood Center in Ashkelon hosted trustees of a large fund interested in partnering with Chimes Israel to build a modern and fortified early childhood center in Ashkelon. They were greeted by three strong mothers who told their stories to demonstrate the need for a better facility for their children and Ashkelon children with disabilities for many years to come.
Achieving What We Previously Thought Impossible
As tears started flowing from her eyes and with a shaky voice, Shaked mom Liz Anaki, began by saying, “I am so excited when I speak about my daughter that I am probably going to cry.” She stopped and collected herself for a few moments then explained how her one-year-old daughter Gefen, who has undiagnosed developmental delays, has made great strides at the center after starting there three months earlier in September.
Liz, who herself works as a behavior analyst at kindergartens with children with autism, told the potential donors that when Gefen came to Shaked, she was unable to reach for and hold an object, or stand with help. However, after working with the occupational therapist, three months later she can now hold an object for a few minutes and sometimes even reaches for an object. The physical therapist has helped Gefen strengthen her legs enabling her to be able to stand for 10 minutes with support.
“The daycare gives us hope that Gefen will improve her abilities and do things that we didn’t think she’d be able to do,” said Liz. “We feel so lucky to have such a place here in Ashkelon, with such caring and professional therapists.” Liz explained that the warm and loving staff of caregivers and professional therapists couldn’t be better but they lacked the right setting to be able to provide the to help the children reach their highest potential at this critical time in their development.
A Good Foundation for His Future Integration
Mother of seven and IDF army nurse, Karin Uliel’s sixth child, Ben, has downs syndrome. Determined to integrate him into society, Karin was not keen on rehabilitative daycare where all the children have disabilities. “When he was born, I said there is no way I will put him in a daycare; I wanted him to go to a regular kindergarten.” said Karin. “But I reached conclusion that if I want to integrate him into society, I have to give him a good foundation.”
At age 3, Ben is also now in his third year at Shaked. Karin is appreciative of the kind and excellent staff and occupational, speech, and physical therapists whose work has been integral to Ben’s progress. She likened the need for better daycare facilities to a medical staff’s reliance on more than their skills to do their jobs.