Thursday, August 16, 2018

Helping Itamar get to stand on his own two feet

A child who could be Itamar but is not (also: Itamar is not the real name
of the child in this post)
Jennifer Shaw Racz, the Malki Foundation's development specialist here in Jerusalem, writes:

We never ask the families of children with special needs who are admitted to our programs to tell us how the Malki Foundation's involvement has affected their lives. But for a whole complex of reasons, they sometimes choose to tell us anyway. And we're always interested to know.

We received a letter very recently from the family of Itamar, a very special child of about two and a half living with his parents in a town in the northern part of Israel:
"Thank you, thank you, thank you for your constant help. The atmosphere in our home has changed completely since we started in the Malki Foundation program. The changes in our son [resulting from the therapies which the Malki Foundation's Therapies at Home program makes possible] have given us a whole new outlook on life. We are so appreciative and thankful for your help! Keep up the good work!"
From his birth, Itamar's father and mother knew their baby had multiple congenital anomalies including heart and corneal defects. Today, he is fed via an implanted tube and is subject to severe developmental delays.

When we met him, he was not yet able to hold up his head. A few tries at a rehabilitation day center failed because of the complicated nature of his situation. Itamar stayed at home, mostly lying in bed throughout day and with no therapist available to address any of his needs.

Then the family learned about the Malki Foundation's work, and applied for support. Itamar was accepted into our Therapists on Wheels program and we're delighted to say that, in their words, they have new hope. 

Itamar is visited weekly by two highly experienced therapists - one for speech therapy, the other for physiotherapy. They are helping him make wonderful progress in his development. 

The physiotherapist, Dena, has helped him learn to use a specialized stander that gets him upright with the added benefit that it improves his breathing, helps him develop balance and contributes to his building bone mass. 

Dena is also involved in helping the family learn how to better meet Itamar’s many needs at home. For instance, how to do specific exercises with him that will contribute in substantial ways to his continued physical and mental development.

Itamar's most recently updated medical report says that for the first time, he is able to crawl on all fours and to pull himself up to a standing position. As his parents now see, paramedical therapies, delivered by competent professionals in regularly scheduled visits, can achieve wonderful results.

We have no problem believing that what is now happening with Itamar is changing his family's life in the most positive of ways.

Their journey is undoubtedly a difficult one but if we can help it to be a little easier to navigate, then we feel the Malki Foundation’s support has been delivered to the right people and in the right way. It's gratifying to hear that Itamar's family agrees.  

Thank you for helping to make this hope happen. We couldn’t do it without you.


A reminder that the Malki Foundation's therapy programs have enabled many tens of thousands of therapy sessions for families in Israel whose needs are nominally met via the conventional government channels or in the framework of their child's education. None of these therapy sessions would have happened if the families had to rely only what the government and the health funds provide. 

Our work makes a positive difference for hundreds of families and the children with special needs (some of them profiled here) whom they love.

(Though the facts and figures in our blog posts and promotional materials are always true and correct, the children's names and photos used in these published file reports are always fictitious in order to protect the privacy of the child and the family. Although the child in this story is not really called Itamar and this is not him in the photo above, the facts are absolutely true.)

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