Chimes Leviatan Classrooms Open their Doors for Toddlers with ASD in Ashkelon

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Leviatan 2

Chimes Israel After our joint efforts in collaboration with the Ministry of Welfare, we are happy to announce the opening of two classrooms for early childhood rehabilitation daycare for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Ashkelon. The classrooms opened their doors on March 7, 2021 in a rented building on Leviatan street in Ashkelon.

Jorge Zimmermann, Chimes Israel CEO, came to the opening day of the classrooms to welcome the children and their families. Sharing his excitement, Mr. Zimmerman exclaimed: ′′As we see the positive results of adapted education and care for children with developmental delay or autism and their families, we won’t stop until every child who needs it gets professional and heartfelt care that’s tailored to their disabilities!”

The decision to initiate this project started when the municipality of Ashkelon’s department of social services found itself unable to accommodate the growing needs of young children with disabilities and developmental delays. The buildings of Chimes Israel’s Shulamit early childhood intervention centers in Ashkelon were at maximum capacity with 40 children, yet social services had to place 20 more children with ASD in daycare services. Due to this void, Ashkelon’s social services department asked Chimes Israel to establish two specialized external classrooms that would focus on the unique abilities and needs of infants and children with ASD.

They chose Chimes Israel due to their experience and expertise with ASD. Chimes Israel currently serves 84 children ages six months to three years diagnosed with ASD and 30 children with a double diagnosis of intellectual disabilities and ASD. Because ASD is not one single condition, but a huge range of social, language and communication, repetitive interests/behaviors and physical characteristics, our support is on an individual basis according to each child’s distinct needs. Individualized habilitation plans are created in collaboration with parents, professional, medical and paramedical staff.

The classrooms on Leviatan Street will help children with ASD acquire new skills and overcome a wide variety of developmental challenges. Treating children with ASD is staff-intensive. While our early childhood centers for children with developmental disabilities typically require a ratio of one and a half staff members to each child, an ASD program requires a three staff member for each child due to the enormous amount of therapy needed. The playground is adapted to the children’s developmental, gross motor, fine motor, social, communication, sensory and cognition needs.

The program maintains daily routine structures that children with ASD need, which include playtime, outdoor activities, therapies, birthday and holiday celebrations, music classes and more. Our paramedical staff provide family members with guidance, emotional support and training for treatment continuity at home. We also host support groups and workshops for children’s parents, siblings and grandparents.

We are currently raising money to pay for the renovation of the apartment building that hosts the classrooms and the specialized equipment at Leviatan. We would deeply appreciate your help. Please click here to donate.