Eating independently is one of the most life-changing skills we can help our children master. Our carefully designed therapeutic program, under the professional guidance of expert occupational therapist Michal Schusman, helps children progress from tube feeding, to liquids, and gradually to solids in larger and larger pieces. The therapy tones the child’s mouth, tongue and swallowing muscles, and is as important for nutrition as it is for communication skills.
The feeding program also deepens communication and trust between caregivers and children, teaches patience, and provides children with an intense sense of independence, satisfaction and enjoyment that they rarely experience in other areas of their lives.
Music therapy plays a central role at Keren Or because people with visual impairments often develop a heightened sense of hearing as compensation for the loss of sight. Music therapy drives psycho-emotional processes that promote wellbeing, development and personal growth. The music created and played during therapy can express conscious and unconscious feelings that our students can’t express verbally.
All Keren Or students receive music therapy in groups, and some also enjoy individual music therapy sessions. Group therapy reinforces communication skills, allows emotional expression within the group, and adds to the sense of togetherness and belonging. Keren Or therapists use music based “conversations” to stimulate group interaction and a variety of instruments to improve physical control. Individual therapy is given to students who have difficulty integrating into the group and require more personal attention. Emphasis is placed on developing a deep therapeutic relationship between therapist and student.
The Orchestra Project enables students with musical talent, and the ability to work as part of a group, the opportunity to learn musical concepts, play music together, listen to a broad musical repertoire, and perform for students and staff.
Music therapy brings out the “inner song” of each Keren Or student, and lets them know that they are heard, understood and accepted.
More than 90% of Keren Or’s children have been diagnosed with cortical visual impairment (CVI). CVI is a type of visual impairment which results from damage to the visual centers of the brain, so the eyes are able to see, but the brain is not able to interpret what is being seen. Due to the brain’s plasticity, with the right visual stimulation and environmental inputs, new neural pathways can be created and a child’s vision can be dramatically improved. At Keren Or, we provide cutting-edge vision therapy that can actually improve our children’s ability to see!
Vision therapy has four basic stages, taking children from
being able to recognize a tangible 3-dimensional object
to recognizing raised tactile symbols or icons
to recognizing simple 2-dimensional photographs
finally, to recognizing complex pictures and generalizing concepts
Led by veteran vision therapist Dalia Yellin, vision therapy is integrated into all of our classroom routines and mutli-disciplinary therapies.
Personalized Therapy: After performing a functional assessment of the child’s vision, Dalia recommends personalized adaptations based on the needs of the particular child. For example, if the child can see certain colors better than others, or has vision in a peripheral field, educational tools will be made using those colors and will be shown from the required angle. Many children with CVI have an easier time seeing things that are shiny, that are lit up, that move, or that are placed on a plain black background without other “visual clutter.” As such, games, communication buttons, therapy tools and classroom materials are designed with these aesthetic principles in mind.
Improved vision opens up a world of new possibilities for the child. They may communicate with eye-gaze technology and learn new skills with an iPad or move independently in a motorized wheelchair. Most of all, they can learn to recognize their parent’s face, an accomplishment that changes the life of both child and family forever. Help Keren Or continue to achieve excellence.
For more information about our vision work, click here.