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April 10, 1987 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-04-10

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Unique Hospital Cares
For Handicapped Kids



Special to The Jewish News

"Security is our middle name"

erusalem — "From the
moment we entered
Alyn, we knew that we
had found the right place for
our child," said Elaine
Weissman of Jerusalem.
"More than anything else,
the Alyn staff gave us hope and
encouragement about our
daughter," commented an-
other parent, Nani Feigen-
baum, also from Jerusalem.
Both are mothers of young
handicapped children cur-
rently enrolled in the nursery
program at Alyn Orthopedic
Hospital and Rehabilitation
Center. Their comments re-
flect the attitudes of many
whose children attend pro-
grams or receive treatment
from this unique children's
hospital in Jerusalem.
Alyn (an acronym from the
Hebrew Agudah Le'ezrat
Yeladim Nechim, Organiza-
tion to Aid Handicapped Chil-
dren) is Israel's only long-term
orthopedic hospital and re-
habilitation center for physi-
cally handicapped children. It
is a non-profit organization
which treats and cares for chil-
dren, regardless of religion or
ethnic background (ten per-
cent come from Israeli-Arab
families). A high percentage of
the children suffer from crippl-
ing neuro-muscular disease or
from trauma after accidents,
and many come from socially
and economically disadvan-
taged homes.
Alyn provides comprehen-
sive health care that meets the
wide range of children's de-
velopmental needs, while pro-
viding the parents with much
needed support and informa-
tion about their child's condi-
tion. More than 5,000 patients
visit Alyn's out-patient clinic
annually, after being referred
by doctors and health clinics
from all parts of Israel.


A Tribute to a Special Woman
of the Detroit-Area Jewish Community

The Jewish National Fund


Wednesday, June 24, 1987

Congregation Shaarey Zedek
27375 Bell Road, Southfield

$150 per person

Michael S. Feldman,

Dinner Chairman

Edythe and
Joseph tackier,

General Co-Chairmen

For Reservations, Phone 557-6644

or write to


18877 W. Ten Mile Road, Suite 104 / Southfield, MI 48075


Friday, April 10, 1987


The majority of children who
enter Alyn have a physical ill-
ness called spina bifida, a con-
genital spinal column defect in
which part of the spinal cord
and bones are not formed, or
muscular dystrophy, a chronic
illness characterized by degen-
eration and atrophy of the
muscles. Alyn also cares for
children with diseases such as
cerebal palsy, scoliosis and
childhood rheumatoid ar-

Alyn provides individual
physiotherapy treatment in-
cluding muscle strengthening
and respiratory training, as
well as hydrotherapy treat-
ment in the Alyn pool.
Therapists also teach such
daily living skills as eating,

dressing and participating in
play activities.

Tirzah Ilan, director of social
services at Alyn, leads a staff of
five social workers who help
families come to terms with
their children's handicaps.
"The first few minutes after
birth are extremely critical for
the natural bonding to take
place between infant and
mother," related Ilan. "Yet
when children are born with a
handicap, this bonding process
is often disrupted."

The social work staff play a
crucial role in trying to rees-
tablish the natural connec-
tions between child and par-
ents as well as giving parents
whatever social, emotional and
financial support they need.
"We give parents the feeling
that they are not alone in all
this," observed Ilan, "and we at
Alyn share the responsibility
in helping their child develop."
The staff at Alyn also assist
parents whose children suffer
from progressive diseases such
as muscular dystrophy where
symptoms may not be observa-
ble until age three or five. Ilan
asserts, "We tell parents that a
handicapped child can still
lead a productive life and we
often help over-protective par-
ents to see that they need not
devote their whole life to a
handicapped child."
By stressing the child's
healthy attributes and playing
down the handicap, the staff at
Alyn help parents cope, thus
allowing the children to grow
with the sense that a "hand-
icap" is a diagnostic term and
'not a definition of who they
Despite many obstacles,
Alyn staffers strive to inte-
grate each handicapped child
into his or her community
school system. For example
most schools are inaccessible to
a child in a wheelchair so Alyn
has built numerous access
ramps, thus enabling over 30
youngsters in the Jerusalem
area to be placed in various
kindergartens, primary
schools and high schools.
Alyn's on-site elementary
school and kindergarten are
operated under the supervision
of the Department of Special
Education and staffed with
teachers who are trained to
work with physically handi-
capped children of normal in-
telligence. In this program, 30
young people receive instruc-
tion in all subjects. Students
learn about the Jewish festi-
vals and avidly participate in
each celebration. A Friday af-
ternoon visitor to the hospital
will likely see children light-
ing Sabbath candles and sing-
ing traditional songs.

World Zionist Press Service


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