“Magshimim” School For Low Functioning Autistic Youth

“Magshimim” is Hebrew for “manifesters—those who create reality.” It’s a term often used to refer to people who turn dreams and ideas into actuality.

“Magshimim” is also the name of a school for adults and children who have been diagnosed with various pervasive developmental disorders, such as autism, Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, and others. Our students come from all over Israel, and spend long days—7:30 to 4:45—with us all year round, including holidays.

We are very proud of our participants, and of the unique program we’ve created to serve them. I wish you could see our new school building, and hear the happy sounds of our many activities. I know you’d feel, as I and the staff do, that we are joining together with our participants to make a real difference in their lives. (And please take this as an open invitation to come and visit!)

Located in the Israel Goldstein Youth Village, in the beautiful Jerusalem mountains, Magshimim began a series of communication classes in 2004, and has been helping youths and young adults successfully since.

Autistic School

“Magshimim” School and its programs

Israel’s Special Education Act 1988 states: “The purpose of special education is to promote and develop the skills and abilities of exceptional children, and to correct and improve their physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral functioning. Its purpose is to give them knowledge, skills, and habits that teach them acceptable behavior in society, to facilitate their integration into normal life and work.”

Curriculum: The program includes both cognitive learning, and promotion of reading, writing, communication skills, prevocational training, and daily living activities.

The team: We have a large team of teachers, educators, therapists (occupational therapy, speech therapy, art therapy, music therapy, movement therapy, and others), professional teachers, teacher aides and “bnot sherut” (volunteers who are working in the school instead of army service). Because of the complexity of the work, there are two staff members for each student.

Integration: We see great importance in integrating the students into community life of our youth village, and strive to help them participate appropriately. The youth village has other students who are not part of our program, as well.

Our students take part in integrated classes in the Village in different ways. They share the dining room with the other students, as well as the pool, sports fields and the music center hall. These activities provide important mentoring and educational opportunities. Our students also enjoy field trips and the numerous special occasions at the Village.

Preparation for employment: The school trains students in carpentry, pottery, art, and other areas, to help them prepare for jobs.

Day care: This year’s “Golden Age” project will be open during the school year. The club runs three times a week, after school hours, between 4:30 and 7:00 pm.

Overnight: In 2009, we initiated an “Overnight” program, to allow students to spend their days and nights at “Magshimim,” and thus have even more opportunities to learn daily living skills and integrate into the broader community.

Special activities: We have students working with youth movements and other groups on special projects, including bar-mitzva preparation for special-needs students.

THE NEED: musical instruments for the music-therapy unit, occupational therapy tools, iPads to facilitate communication with our non-verbal students, bicycles, and other instruments and devices.