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Young Children With Disabilities in Israel: System of Early Intervention Service Delivery

Shulman, Cory PhD; Meadan, Hedda PhD; Sandhaus, Yoram MD, MHA CBiol MSB

doi: 10.1097/IYC.0b013e318267770a
Original Study

This article aims to analyze early intervention programs in Israel according to the Developmental Systems Model (Guralnick, 2001), in an attempt to identify strengths and areas for further development for service delivery for young children with disabilities in Israel. Early intervention in Israel is part of a comprehensive healthcare model developed when the state was established in 1948 and is under the auspices of four different ministries. Developmental screening and early identification of developmental problems occur at community Well Baby Centers. If further assessment is necessary, the children and their families are referred to Child and Family Developmental Centers, where a multidisciplinary evaluation is performed to ascertain eligibility for service allocation. The range of programs for young children with disabilities includes the family as an essential participant in the development of systematic and comprehensive intervention programs. Early intervention services for children with developmental disabilities in Israel are particularly noteworthy, as its heterogeneous population includes different immigrant and national cultures. It is imperative to understand early childhood service provision within the developmental model, with consideration given to cultural and ecological influences. Analysis of the early intervention model in Israel revealed a need for establishment of a governmental authority responsible for the well-being of young children with disabilities and their families, which will regulate and integrate all the service needs during early childhood.

Associate Professor Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel (Dr Shulman), Department of Special Education Illinois State University, USA (Dr Meadan), Developmental Child Neurologist Head of Child Development Institute, Meuhedet and Tel Aviv University, Israel (Dr Sandhaus).

Correspondence: Hedda Meadan, PhD, Department of Special Education, 288 Education, 1310 South Sixth Street, Champaign, IL 61820 (meadanka@illinois.edu).

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

©2012Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.