Innovative Israeli Therapy Improves Life for Disabled South Africans

When you give to Federation’s Annual Campaign, you help to ensure that disabled Jews worldwide have access to vital therapies and treatments. And Beit Issie Shapiro — one of our Israel & Overseas partners — works with governments, organizations, and individuals across the globe to improve the lives of disabled people regardless of faith or nationality. Below, staff describe the impact of Beit Issie Shapiro’s groundbreaking multisensory therapy, which will now be available to developmentally disabled children and adults in South Africa:

Children with severe disabilities often face serious emotional stress and sensory challenges. We at Beit Issie Shapiro are very excited to announce our partnership with Bellavista, a private remedial school in South Africa, as we launch a joint "IssieSenses Training Institute" that will train therapists, educate communities, and spread the word about a powerful therapeutic tool called the Snoezelen multi-sensory environment.

The Snoezelen is a magical world that enables children with disabilities to achieve sensory balance. Snoezelen rooms are filled with different equipment to stimulate the senses using light and color, sound, and touch. The lights are captivating, the sounds are soothing, and the environment stimulates curiosity. Our trained therapists use this space for physical, occupational, emotional, and speech and communication therapy. Children feel calmer, more in control, and better focused. And because of this, they can better learn new skills and achieve incredible therapeutic breakthroughs. This tool offers many potential benefits to large numbers of people through online and onsite training, ongoing online support and supervision, consultation, and the sharing of knowledge and information. Research has confirmed that conducting therapy in a sensory environment improves therapeutic outcomes. 

 After seeing the amazing benefits for their students, Bellavista staff understood the importance of sharing this tool with other children in their community. We are thrilled to partner with them and to expand Beit Issie Shapiro’s impact by bringing this amazing therapeutic setting to schools, senior homes, and other sites across South Africa.

Click here to learn more about Beit Issie Shapiro’s life-changing work.

Photo caption: Beit Issie Shapiro’s Snoezelen multi-sensory environment provides gentle stimuli that help developmentally disabled children relax, learn, and communicate. Image courtesy of Beit Issie Shapiro.