Educational Programming for the Hearing Impaired
“Shemaya”, a non-profit organization, deals with the rehabilitation of children from age zero until adulthood. The organization was founded by Moshe Ebstein of blessed memory in 1989, who was the principal of a H.I.D. – school in the United States for children with hearing disabilities. The purpose of the organization was to provide a framework for hearing disabled children from the orthodox sector of the population in the Dan area of Israel. This is the only organization in the area that deals with children with these problems. Shemaya is caring for about 120 hearing-disabled children.
Shemaya has an experienced, professional staff. The speech therapists receive guidance and help from well-known professors from outside Israel, such as Professor Carol Flexor, an auditory verbal specialist. Shemaya is recognized by the Ministry of Education, the Chinuch Atzmai and the Municipality of Bnei Brak.
Shemaya offers the following services:
– Integration of children with hearing disabilities in day care centers for regular children with the help of professional aides who give the children additional help in language in stimulating language skills.
– Two pre-school facilities especially designed for hearing disabled children.
– Integration of hearing disabled children in regular pre-schools and grade schools together with the guidance and help required to deal with these children.
– Speech therapy
– Language classes for those children who need help in improving their language skills
– Helping parents to deal with hearing implants both before and after the operation.
– Psychological counseling
– Social workers
– Music therapy and therapy by occupation
– Afternoon rehabilitation clubs for different ages.
– Support groups for mothers.
– Professional lectures for parents and staff.
Objectives and Goals
1) The main objective is to give hearing-disabled children all the possible tools and experiences, so that they will be happier children. These activities usually take place at the afternoon clubs.
These hours are hours of enjoyable experiences that give the child the strength to continue, despite all the difficulties that they have with their regular classes and regular peer groups.
2) To teach the children to integrate into regular society at least part of the time, together with help and support, so that they can learn to communicate with the hearing community.
3) To create an environment that is supportive and caring that will help and encourage these children to reach their maximum potential from their studies. In this way, they will achieve a sense of normalcy and success in their lives. This goal is obtained through speech therapy and language enrichment and other activities.
The Rehabilitation Afternoon Club
The club is a sorely needed necessity for deaf children or for those who are hearing disabled. Because many of the children have already been integrated (some more so and some less so), they need a tremendous amount of emotional and physical strength to pay attention, to understand and to concentrate and to accept the fact that they are not like everybody else and that it is therefore more difficult for them.
Therefore, when the children meet in the afternoon with their peers who have the same problems that they do; this is a sort of support group for them. First of all, they see that they are not the only ones in this situation, and that there are other children like themselves. This gives them the emotional strength to continue to cope. Likewise, these are hours when they can relax from the daily tensions in a hearing society.
This is a special time for the children because there are different things to experience and there is no need to struggle to be understood because it is easier for them. Musical therapy is also provided and this helps the children to relax.These meetings contribute much to the general well-being of the children. They see that they can communicate; they are successful in understanding what is going on; their self-esteem gradually increases; so that they become stronger and then they are able to cope with regular society much better.
Throughout the school years, these children develop large gaps in reading comprehension and vocabulary. In the club, the children work on their language skills. Each quarter, they work on a different subject and the vocabulary of this subject and they use visual aids for demonstrations. They even go on field trips in order to get a closer look at what they are talking about.
Within the framework of the club, the children also receive speech therapy on an individual basis. The speech therapist works with each child and his particular speech problems, which is also very important for these children.
There is also help in preparing homework, which is a very complex problem in general for hearing disabled children.
There are also group activities, which also contribute to the general well-being of these children. The child learns and enriches his knowledge and skills, so that some of these skills could be the basis for a profession, e.g. computer.
Therefore, they have a good command of how to use a computer and this could be the basis for jobs in the fields of secretarial work, bookkeeping, and others.
Expected Results of the Project
a) We hope that every child from the age of two years until the age of adulthood from the Dan area will have a group in the club that will be suitable both for his/her age group and language skill level., this means that the idea is to open three new groups. (Guidelines were formed once we received requests from parents and from the Ministry of Welfare in the Dan area.)
b) We would like to increase the number of days of operation for the pre-school group, so that the activities would be on a daily basis.
c) We would like to add an additional activity for each group.
d) We would like to add more trips so that each month each group will have either a trip or field day.
e) We would like to add special activities, such as entertainers, puppet theaters and the like, so that each group will have an outside attraction once a month