Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

2 Sivan 5768 - June 5, 2008 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Israeli Companies Enlist to Support Tishma, a School for Autistic Students

By Yechiel Sever

Major Israeli companies are enlisting to help Tishma, a school and center for autistic children, as part of the firms' involvement in community projects.

With dozens of autistic students enrolled, Tishma is the only school in Israel based on the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) approach to treatment, which has proven itself in the US as the most effective way to advance autistic children. This year the school's budget comes to $1.5 million. Thirty percent of the budget, about $450,000, is derived from fundraising by the school administration. With a total staff of 100, the per-child cost comes to $30,000 a year.

As part of its efforts to obtain financial resources for the sake of the autistic children, Tishma Director Rabbi Moshe Weinstein contacted large Israeli companies, asking for donations, and received positive responses from companies like Cellcom, Minrav and Nidar.

First International Bank made an especially generous contribution by paying for the construction of a special music therapy room with a piano, organ, guitar, bells and wind chimes, drums, cymbals and other percussion instruments. Three music therapists work with the children in groups and one-on-one. The treatment is done with love, warmth and dedication, under the supervision of Prof. Dorit Avital, who is renowned for her experience and professionalism.

The children enrolled at Tishma suffer from communication deficiencies of differing levels. Some exhibit nearly normal behavior but are disengaged here and there, while others have virtually no contact with their environment. Music speaks to all of them, reaching into their own world with its special qualities.

"This special means of communication known as music makes the children open up, sing, speak and express themselves through the magical world of instruments, sounds, song and dance," says Rabbi Weinstein. "You can't help but notice the children's pleasure as they step into the therapy room, the calm the music therapy provides the child off on a quiet island inside himself. With the help of the therapist each and every child finds a way to communication — some through drums or the piano, and some prefer to sing or dance — but what they all share in common is an enchanted, wondrous, special and exciting world called music!"


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