Thursday, May 4, 2017

Helping Yonah learn to eat and drink on his own

OT for acquiring eating skills [Illustrative image only]
Yonah is 5 years-old, a happy child who has Down Syndrome and in addition was diagnosed with West Syndrome as a baby. Sometimes known as Infantile Spasm, West is a severe form of epilepsy which is associated with brain damage and developmental delays.

He crawls and can take a few steps with encouragement and is eager to learn. Yonah laughs out loud when enjoying activities with his family and therapist.

Due to his complicated and difficult medical situation, Yonah is not able to go to day care and his doctors have recommended that he remain at home for another year. Although he receives therapies as part of his home-care plan, what he receives is nowhere near enough.

Yonah's very dedicated parents searched for a way to meet his needs.

Thanks to the Malki Foundation's innovative Zlata Hersch Memorial Therapists on Wheels Program (TOW) program which started in 2011, Yonah gets Occupational Therapy sessions in his own home at least once a week. The therapist, whose time and travel expenses are entirely covered by the Malki Foundation program, drives about 25 minutes there and back each time she makes a professional visit to Yonah's family.

This year’s therapy goals are to encourage Yonah to achieve independent eating and drinking, as well as to start using a touch screen for communication.

To some, these may seem like relatively minor skills. But acquiring them will have an enormous impact on Yonah and on his family’s quality of life. We're proud of all of them, and of the wonderful TOW program that makes such a difference in people's lives.

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