Sunday, 23 October 2016

Searching for Answers

Recently I met someone who has just completed her Shiur Leumi or National Service in place of going into the Army / IDF. I asked her in what kind of facility she did her National Service, to which she responded to a special type of boarding school for children who have been taken away from their families due to abuse, neglect or other major problems in the home. She asked if I knew of such places. I said that I had as I am an occupational therapist (OT). I mentioned that as a student I had a clinical placement in a place of safety and said it sounded very much like the kind of place she was describing. I then asked her if she knew what OT is and whether any of the students had received OT. The response was very sad for me to hear.

This young lady said she had an idea what OT is. She said that some of the children received either art therapy, music therapy or pet therapy but those who received therapy were permitted one type only. None of them received OT due to budget restraints. I asked if the art therapy, music therapy and pet therapy helped. She responded that she did see a benefit but that it was not enough and not to all the children were able to go for therapy due to limitations of funding. 

I asked what she thought the best situation would be and how it compared to what they currently received. Sadly, she shared that she truly felt that most of the children if not all could benefit from OT intervention. She said that what she sees happening is that instead of providing necessary therapeutic intervention the children are heavily medicated in order to control their behaviour. This makes me realize once again the need for the book that I am preparing to launch. However, aside from educating on the benefits of occupational therapy I wonder what else can help this kind of situation. Is the issue lack of awareness of what OT can offer or is it purely a funding issue. If funding is the problem, will educating philanthropists or government organizations help?

What are your thoughts? What can be done to enable those who could benefit from necessary therapeutic intervention to be able to receive these services instead of resorting to medication with all the unhealthy side-effects that goes with most if not all meds? Of course, I am not talking of those who require medication as well as therapeutic intervention, I am talking of the problem or using medication instead of offering services that could alleviate the problems that the children are facing.

If you have a constructive thought to share please comment below. If you are willing to share a post about my book that is about to come out to help to spread the word and promote occupational therapy, please do be in touch.

Shoshanah Shear
Occupational Therapist

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Gaining Inspiration from Colmobil

It is so exciting working on developing a centre. I never know what each day will bring, who I will meet, who I will interact with and what I will learn about the development of Israel as the country that it is today. Every day therefore brings new adventures and new surprises.

I am working on a specific project and through a phone call was recommended to take a look at the website of Colmobil to find some information that I need. I have just read the story of Colmobil and all I can say is WOW! What an inspiring company. What a love for Israel and our people. I could write a summary here and for those interested, I have not yet looked up the information I was researching. But before I do so, please go and take a look at the story of Colmobil. You will learn something about the Yom Kippur war and details of action that took place behind the scenes. If you are looking for inspiration and a reminder of dedication to Israel and the Jewish people, this story will surely inspire you.

Enjoy your reading and let us know in the comments below what inspiration you gained from reading the story.

Shoshanah Shear

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Our Progress in Becoming Web Accessible.

Next step in the process to become web accessible.

In the last post we shared about the law that is about to come into effect regarding web accessibility in Israel. The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is aimed at enabling those who have any of the following disabilities to be able to interact or use the web too. These disabilities include: visual, auditory, physical, speech cognitive, neurological and also the elderly or aging. 

Our two websites have been created on Weebly mostly because it is a free platform. We have, for the most part, been happy with Weebly and wondered why people would consistently recommend that we move to WordPress.

With each step in developing our websites, we kept finding that most of what we need can be carried out on Weebly. So we have stayed.

Now, however, in reading up on the various requirements to an accessible website, we are coming up against some difficulties.We have turned a few times to weebly for support but they are unable to help us. Hence, it looks like the time has finally come for us to make the move to WordPress. In order to complete this we are busily learning about how to build a WordPress website and also all the details involved in Web Accessibility.

A few details learned so far include the need to describe photographs / images using Alt Text; providing a transcription of podcasts (perhaps it is good that we have not begun doing pod casts) and making sure that your content is easy to read and to navigate. There really is a huge amount to read, to learn, to master and not a whole lot of time to do so. 

Do you have a website? Are you up to date on the Web Accessibility Guidelines? Have you begun to improve your website? If not, you can head on over to the Web Accessibility Initiative website. They have a wealth of information to work through. 

Enjoy your progress in ensuring that your website is web accessible.

Have a blessed day

Shoshanah Shear
Occupational Therapist


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