Tuesday, November 23, 2010

2 separate topics

1. The special education public school system (in comparison to NYC, as I see it)
2. Bone marrow compatibility

Let's start with number 2., because that's less involved (from a writing perspective. And if you're only going to read a little bit of this, I'd rather you get that; if you're really interested, you will continue reading anyway). Number 2- Bone marrow compatibility. The idea for posting this was from Beneath the Wings, which is a blog by a mother who has a daughter with Down's Syndrome and the blog is very much centered around that. Her post is here:http://beneaththewings.blogspot.com/2010/11/important-message-to-parents-of-future.html
My addition is, you don't need to be a soldier (or going into the army at all, in any capacity) to be tested for bone marrow compatibility. I was tested through Gift of Life via a cheek swab (if you are a preliminary match, they will then do bloodwork. But initially-- all you need to do is open your mouth and get a cheek swab).

Number 1. The special education public school system, as I see it. First of all, the public school system here in Israel overall is MUCH more complicated. There are various types of schools, all considered public- different religions, different sectors within the religion, non-religious-- very complicated. Most of the schools are Jewish, but there are also non-Jewish schools (with different schedules). The way the special education system seems to work here is parallel to the general education system. That is, there are also Jewish, non-Jewish, religious, different sectors within the religious, and non-religious schools. There are also different type of preschools. And to make it even more complicated (or specialized, depending on how you look at it), each school is for a specific type of special education, be it severe/profoundly mentally retarded, mild/moderately mentally retarded, physically handicapped, mild/moderately retarded, deaf, blind, learning disabilities, behavioral problems-- you name it. I think that there is a good side to this, because the kids really get a specialized focus in the school, but there is also a downside because the children are not even integrated into a regular school building. There are some kids who are in self-contained classrooms within regular schools, and there are mainstreamed kids as well. BUT I have yet to hear of kids in general ed who get OT.
It's very frustrating to me as an occupational therapist that there are so many kids who don't get OT, or don't get individual, because there aren't enough therapists to go around or there isn't the budget or whatever. There's also this thing of a "class session." I'm sorry, but...do all the kids need it? How much are the kids really going to get out of 1 45-minute session per week, when there's an overall need, but each kid is at such a different level?

I'm not a fan of the system here, as a therapist. I liked NYC better-- wasn't ideal, and, no, there weren't enough therapists to go around either. But at least the kids had the option to get seen outside if they couldn't get seen in school. And there were OT-specific goals. A full eval was done on a kid who needed it, and his/her mandate was prescribed. It's much more-- "Ok, who needs OT the most here?" And the teachers have a big say, which I feel is correct, but I also think there should be an OT eval done on the child when he/she has been seen previously, and if there is a suspicion of delays/problems. And then a mandate should be created, if applicable, and the child gets seen in school or gets referred out of school.

I'm sure there will be more on this at a later point.

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