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הבלוג של מורית

Pesach at ALYN: Different Types of Freedom

18 March, 2018

Among the many lessons we have learned at ALYN is that there are different types of freedom.

 As we approach Pesach, the celebration of freedom from slavery in Egypt, I’d like to share with you the work of the hospital’s Feeding Rehabilitation Center that has helped bring freedom to hundreds of  patients – mostly babies and young children – in its 13 years of operation.

This is one of more than 20 clinics and departments at ALYN that share the goal of helping children turn disabilities into abilities. 

The Center’s main goal is to wean children off feeding tubes. Children who have been fed through feeding  tubes , some almost from birth,  have to be motivated to learn to eat. 

That’s where ALYN enters the picture. We put a team of specialists to work teaching children with no experience what it means to eat. This staff includes speech therapists, doctors, dieticians and psychologists. 

The feeding rehabilitation starts with months of preparation   and culminates in an intensive three weeks. Motor and sensory rehabilitation is turned into an age-appropriate activity that involves both the child and the family.

We make learning to eat fun 

In two recent cases, Menachem Mendel Sudry came to ALYN from Argentina and Yehoshua Liknaitzky came from South Africa. 

Judy Blinder, the Center’s director, explains that in both of these cases the preparation and follow up were done on Skype and What’s App. But the intensive work was done at ALYN. 

“The goal of our program is to enable the child to ‘discover’ how to eat,” she says. “The parents are an integral part in making the transition and we provide them with emotional support.”

These children – some of whom are infants – have to learn how to swallow in order to eat. This involves motor and sensory rehabilitation. 

How did these children get to ALYN? 

Menachem Mendel Sudry’s parents in Argentina were looking for weaning possibilities on the Internet. 

They heard about ALYN from family members and contacted the hospital through ask@alyn.org on the hospital’s website.

Pinjas Sudry, Mendel’s father, was in Israel at the end of 2017 when the Center’s staff received their e-mail and contacted him. They scheduled an appointment to explain the program.

The staff was then in touch with the doctors in Argentina and in February Mendel came to ALYN for three weeks of intensive activity.

He went home at the end of February and the Center’s staff speaks to the doctors in Argentina at least twice a month. This will probably continue for another two months.

Blinder says that he has been weaned off his feeding tube successfully. “Now we –- the staffs in Israel and in Argentina – are making sure he’s eating and growing. Just this week I saw him via Skype and he has gained 4 pounds since discharge and has chubby cheeks”

Extended visit with grandparents 

For Yehoshua Liknaitzky, the process of freedom from his feeding tube began when his grandfather, who made aliyah five years ago, contacted the hospital through the website.

In his initial contact with ask@alyn.org, his grandfather explained that there were complications when he was born and Yehoshua's delivery resulted in brain injury due to insufficient oxygen delivery. He was unable to swallow and choked on his milk. At the age of four months his only nourishment has come from tubes. First through his nose and then directly into his stomach.

Unfortunately his situation had not improved. 

The family asked if ALYN could help.

Yehoshua and his parents came for an extended visit with his grandparents. Once they returned to South Africa, Yehoshua’s mother, Shira, wrote to thank the hospital for the “love, care and devotion” both the infant and the parents received at ALYN.

She continued that “we are thrilled to share our wonderful news with you: We have removed Yehoshua’s tube.”

ALYN  “. . . with the help of Hashem has made our dreams, hopes and prayers come true. How can one possibly have the words to thank someone who has worked absolute wonders,” she says.

At Pesach we recall and celebrate the miracles that helped the children of Israel gain their freedom from slavery in Egypt. At ALYN we help very special children gain their own medical freedom. Moreover, it is the freedom to sit with their families at the Seder table, take part in our ancient tradition and be free to truly know, this year, Ma Nishtana.

Hag Kasher v’Sameach.