A Chance to Soar – ALEH’s Astronauts

A Chance to Soar – ALEH’s Astronauts

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014


Ruthi Shimoni
Principal of ALEH Bnei Brak

What happens when you give a trapped spirit the chance to soar?

Miracles!

Let me tell you about a special group of 14 kids.  Teenagers all, they are part of the ALEH family.

Everyone at ALEH is special.  This group is unique in that they are slightly more mobile than the rest of their friends.

These teenagers had begun to display a great deal of unrest and disturbed behavior.  Repeated staff discussions led us to brainstorm: perhaps a special program with more freedom of movement and open spaces would be just what these children so desperately needed.

And so we began the Astronaut Group Program two years ago.

The program took place during ALEH’s afternoon activity hours, under the direction of a special education teacher working with two National Service girls and one caregiver.  Based on occupational therapy, physiotherapy and communicative therapy principles, the program included organized sensory-motor stimulation, exciting and varied clubs such as a petting zoo, economics, arts-n-crafts, exercise, and an outdoor trip once a week.  Most importantly, the group was given all sorts of opportunities to enjoy regular fun and pleasure: a bus journey, buying an ice-cream cone, enjoying a cup of coffee in the café, a trip to the beach, a boat ride, and a trip to the mall were all activities to be savored.

The results have been outstanding.

Every single member of the Astronauts Group experienced a personal breakthrough.

  • Batya stopped biting,
  • Momo started eating regular food after 16 years of bottle-feeding,
  • Hila stopped scratching at her diaper,
  • Orit began walking independently at age 14,
  • Oded no longer requires blended food….

The Astronaut Group soared high – way above their prognoses.

They proved that if we believe in their potential, if we respect them as people and understand their feelings, sensitivities and needs – the sky is the limit.

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