elrElrazi: The Center For Child Rehabilitation.
Elrazi Center was established in 1998 by a group of Arab professionals in the fields of medicine, psychology and paramedical specialties with emphasis on childhood age. The focus of the founders was on changing common societal concepts and preexisting negative attitudes about child disability and on ways to change such attitudes. This in addition to the provision of comprehensive services for disabled children in a physically and culturally accessible setting.
Elrazi was the first center of its kind to offer in one location the services of a multidisciplinary team for the diagnosis and rehabilitation of children and youth with developmental disabilities. That, in addition to developing creative interventions suitable for both Arab and Jewish children each according to its special social settings.
Currently Elrazi professional staff of over a hundred specialists in the fields of medicine (pediatrics, neurology and psychiatry,) psychology and paramedical specialties (physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy,) as well as special education, art therapy etc. offers its diagnostic and rehabilitative services to thousands of children annually. It does so in full coordination and collaboration with concerned government agencies, health institutions and civil society organizations.
By now, Elrazi operates several distinctive projects and interventions including:
1- Specialized one-on-one paramedical services to children and youth who are developmentally challenged.
2- Diagnosis of mental handicap among children and adults under the auspices of the Ministry of Social Welfare in three geographic regions: Galilee (Arrabeh,) the Triangle (Arara,) and the Negev (Bier Shiva.)
3- Two special daycare centers in Galilee (Arrabeh) and the Negev (Rahat) for children with developmental delays whether mental, physical or sensory in nature. These are staffed and equipped to service over 90 infants and children aged 1-3 years who arrive with special transportation to receive appropriate individualized special care and treatment eight hours a day, six days a week. Their families are involved in a circle that provides appropriate psychological and social support services individually and in groups. This program is supervised and funded by the Ministry of Social Services.
4- A learning disability diagnostic and treatment center: The center has developed a specialized intervention model for Arabic speaking children. This relies on the unique aspects of the social and linguistic traits of Arab society depending on the Lurianic school of psychology. This special Model was presented at a conference in Cairo in 2000. The center has also developed a special test for adult Arabic speakers with LD in full collaboration with the University of Haifa.
5- Elrazi is the main address for psychological diagnosis and treatment of Arab children with head injuries and PTSD especially in cases of road accidents.
Elrazi was the realization of the dreams of two local experts in the medical field:
1- Hatim Kanaaneh, Head of the Board, received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1968. He specialized in Public Health and attained formal recognition by the Israel Ministry of Health in 1982. He served as the Public Health Physician of the sub-district of Acre 1971-1991. He founded and led the Galilee Society For Health Research and Services 1981-1995. Before retiring he served on the boards of several international health related public agencies including the Geneva-based Defense of Children International and The International Counsel for Health Research and Development.
2- Ali Badarni, Director Geeneral, received his PhD in Neuropsychology from Moscow University. He is a senior expert and an instructor in educational psychology as well as a licensed hypnotist. He was the first head of the Union of Arab Psychologists (1999-2001). He functioned as the psychotherapist in the home for troubled girls in Ebilien (1994-99) and in the head trauma unit of Beit Levinstein, Ra’anana (1997-99.) Currently, Dr. Badarni lectures at the institute for higher studies in Education Counseling at Oranim. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Tal-Hai College. He also heads the psychological services unit in the Battouf Regional Council and is a member of the Examination Committee for Educational Psychology specialists.
Vision and Goals:
We envision Elrazi leading the needed change toward greater opportunities and more acceptance by society for the handicapped child and adult like all its other members. In this it will lead efforts to change the dominant thinking and attitudes toward the handicapped while providing appropriate and accessible specialized services for them.
1- Towards this vision the following goals are pursued: The development and implementation of a specialized intervention model for early childhood (age 1-6years) that meets all their educational, social and clinical needs under one roof regardless of the level of their abilities. The model addresses the special needs of each child through the utilization of local professionals and the development of appropriate interventions with the ongoing involvement of the children’s families. This specialized model is being developed and tried under the supervision of a scientific committee that evaluates each step and introduces the needed changes at the appropriate time.
2- The establishment and promotion of partnerships between official institutions, civil society bodies and relevant professional groups on one side and the individuals with special needs and their families on the other. This should guarantee the highest professional services for the group of children and adults with special needs and help change the inappropriate preconceived Ideas about the group.
3- Encouraging scientific field research regarding the role of culture and its influence on psychological and mental development as well as conducting field surveys to assess the unique aspects of handicaps in our society. This should lead to developing appropriate diagnostic and treatment modalities suitable for such unique aspects especially with regard to the Arabic language.
4- Giving priority in Arab society to the field of psychological health and the introduction of positive structural changes in thinking and behavior standards based on the understanding of the special Arab community’s psychological conditions.
5- Paying special attention to the environment of our target population especially mothers and women who, if afforded the proper psychological and material support, can shoulder much of the role that Elrazi envisions for itself.