Thursday, 6 December 2012

Who is the greater sportsman?

Occupational therapy is all about assisting people to fulfill their life goals and live their life to the full within the constraints of the circumstances of their life. An important part of the life of any child is that of sports. For someone who is disabled, the area of sport is still a possibility, with the appropriate adaptations to enable the person to participate in a sport that meets both his interests and level of ability.

Sometimes a goal or dream of a person appears to be an impossibility. Does that mean that we should put him down, degrade him and force him to give up on his dream or is there a way to help another achieve despite the seeming impossibility?

The video below provides some powerful lessons.

What can we learn from this video?A child with Cerebral Palsy had a desire to be involved in wrestling. One can argue that this is impossible, unrealistic and he should just wake up and change his dream.  Or one can simulate all kinds of variations of the wrestling dream. One could place him in his wheelchair in a cinema, specifically positioned so that everyone complains that he is in the way and have him watch a wrestling match on the big screen. Some would argue that this gave him a wrestling experience but did it?

One could say he is unable to walk so lets take another child to his bedroom and have the child engage in play wrestling while the CP boy lies on his bed. It might also be a form of wrestling. 

One could say, well, the child can not do much so lets go to a small room in the school, probably the size of a store room, make sure there are no windows, no sports atmosphere, no space of any audience, put a mat on the floor and discuss what wrestling is about.

We can continue a list of options, but notice what those involved in this match did instead. They made sure the wrestling match took place in a proper stadium, with an audience who were interested and watched the entire event. There was even a group of cheer leaders to give the appropraite atmosphere. They made sure the stadium was large, spacious, airy, with the appropriate outfit for both boys. Every detail was taken care of as it would be for any regular wrestling match.

One can argue that the "able bodied" boy was the star of the show, and let us look at a few of his strong points. Firstly, he did not state he would wrestle the boy with CP provided he got up and began normally. He did not say if he thinks correctly, then he will be able to wrestle like any other boy of his age. He did not say he is not touching the boy and please make sure all his skin is covered. He did not say he was scared to move the boy with CP. What he did was to get down to the level of the boy with CP and to assist him to achieve his goal, i.e. to win a wrestling match.

We can stop at prasing the kind hearted actions of the able bodied wrestling captain, but we have to remember that this match could not have taken place or provided so many lessons, unless there were the boy who has CP. It could not have happened unless the boy with CP identified his goals and desires and communicated it to someone, someone who obviously listened and heard him. It is very inspiring to see how the boy with CP had the courage to hold onto his dream, no matter how it might look for him to participate in such a wrestling match.

There are many more lessons we can learn and we would like to hear your comments. 

If it is of interest to you to learn how we can apply the lessons from the above video to our own lives, please do book Shoshanah to give a talk / facilitate a workshop on achieving our dreams and goals. Let us learn together how to help others to achieve their goals too. There is plenty of opportunity in the world for each of us to be successful in our own unique way. 

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Job Search - Office Manager and Patient Advocate

My name is Rachel Fleisher. 

I am a solution focused office manager and patient advocate, currently in transition. I have a passion for medicine and people and I have 7 years of experience, helping people from all walks of life navigate the healthcare maze and connecting them to the appropriate resources as well as managing offices with positive results.

I am familiar with medical terminology, and am bilingual in Hebrew and English. I’m currently learning Conversational Spanish.

I would like to work in a hospital, doctors’ offices or medium to large non-profit organization within Union County such as Overlook Hospital, Summit Medical Group or Salvation Army.

If you know of a suitable job for Rachel, please email her the information.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Keeping up with Technology - 5

In previous posts, we began to introduce the progress of healthcare with the advances of technology. In this video below, you can learn an overview about what TeleHealth is, what the benefits are and how it is progressing.

TeleHealth is not suitable to all clients, but the progress and potential is remarkable.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Personal Development Workshops for Elul


Life is a gift, are you ready to live it to the full?

Elul is an opportune time to reflect on the year that was and plan for the year ahead. For Jewish women - if the avodah appropriate for this month is important to you please sign up for one of the following Personal Development Workshops for women. Make the most of THIS Elul and build the vessel for a good 5773.

Workshop themes include:

- Making the most of Elul, a journey in self-discovery in preparation for 5773

- Preparing for Chuppah! – this unique workshop is for single Jewish women Together we will focus on how to make getting married your priority for 5773

- For married Jewish women not yet blessed with children. This group is both support and personal development to develop a lifestyle that promotes becoming a healthy mother.

- For those who are already moms, come and learn fun ways to use items we usually throw out and help your children's learning and development.

These workshops are inspiring, pro-active and enriching. They are held in Beitar Illit and Bishvilech in Givat Shaul. If you would like a workshop in another area in or around Jerusalem, get a group of your friends together and I can come to you.

Space is limited per group so sign up quickly to ensure your space.

These workshops are facilitated by Shoshanah Shear, Licensed and Experienced Occupational Therapist, Healing facilitator, Certified Kallah Teacher, Certified Infant Massage Instructor

Please email to book your spot 

Shoshanah Shear

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

O.T. Recommendation of New Novel for Teens

I was talking to a mother about the interests that the modern teenager has regarding books they like to read. So many of the themes of books read by teens today are not teaching good values or good social skills. There is much that is needed to be gained regarding relationships, social interaction, effective communication, caring about another, doing acts of kindness and more. 

Did you know that recent studies by psychologists and neurobioligists demonstrates that the increase of social networking, text messaging etc is causing our brains to be re-wired in a negative way. It is affecting our social interaction and specifically our communcation skills.

The book "Relationships" by R.A. Kahn caters to all these needs. As a retired high school teacher recently commented: 

"I have read the book through three times. I enjoyed the story; it is really nice to have a sensible book which is not "preachy" and yet gets over many valuable messages to the young! A recommended read."
Elizabeth H; A retired high school teacher

As an Occupational Therapist, I highly recommend this book. It is perfect for teachers to purchase and read with their class. Also a perfect book for guidance counsellors or Occupational Therapists working with teenagers. It lends itself to discussion within a class or group of important values and Life Skills, while being an enjoyable book filled with a range of daily events and relationships.

The book is available on CreateSpace, Amazon, certain stores and directly from the author.

Recommended by Shoshanah Shear
Occupational Therapist and Healing Facilitator

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Award Winning Journalist, Melanie Reid Shares About OT

When I completed High School, I spent a year Au Pairin in the UK and decided one day to go off to a career counsellor to gain some insight as to what I might study for a career upon completion of my year. The careers specialist suggested Occupational Therapy due to my interests in Art, Science and helping people. The idea made total sense and I have loved all the learning, training and work experience. What the career specialist did not mention is that most people do not know what Occupational Therapy or OT is.

Below is a video of an award winning journalist, Melanie Reid who also did not know what OT is, until she needed it herself.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Baby Massage Courses

Are you a young mom or young parents? Perhaps you already have children and now have a little baby in the house. Whether you have already discovered baby massage or it is something new to you, how about coming to baby massage classes? We have a wonderful course that will teach you all you need to know to massage your new born and how to adapt it through the babies growth and development. 

Is your baby experiencing colic? Not to worry, we have the perfect colic remedy, it will calm your baby and ease away that pain, gas and distress. In the baby massage course you will learn a very special routine specifically for babies with colic. It's so empowering and special to know there really is something you can do to help your little baby.

Are you wondering what to use to massage with? Wonder no more, we have the best oil for baby massage. Its a blend of natural oil and is available for sale. Just email me to order or purchase your bottles when you take the course.

If you are a new dad reading this post, the infant massage training is for you too. Both parents are important in the life of their baby and both parents need to learn this wonderful gift. 

For those looking for unique baby gifts to give to any new parents, how about purchasing a special gift including:
  • baby massage oil, 
  • a book on baby massage for parents (in English or Hebrew) and 
  • a gift voucher to take the course and learn how to massage their new born.
Shoshanah has been massaging babies for over 25 years and is happy to teach parents in Israel to massage their own babies. Visit Shoshanah's website at or email to book your classes. 

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Weddings and the Disabled

Those who know something about Occupational Therapy will often connect it to the disabled population. Many acknowledge that after being born with special needs or after a chronic illness or injury that Occupational Therapy might be indicated.

What happens when rehab. is complete and the disabled person wants to either get married or to attend a wedding? In our New Wedding Magazine, we plan to feature a very special column addressing many of these points. In the meantime, if you have a service related to Kosher weddings in Jerusalem that fits any of the following, please be in touch to advertise in our magazine.

  • Disabled Weddings
  • Wheelchair wedding dresses (Is there a difference? If you are a seamstress for wedding dresses, can you adapt it to suit a Kallah with special needs or a disability?)
  • Taxis for disabled so that they too can attend a family or friends wedding
  • Disabled accessible wedding venue - ie with a ramp wide enough for a wheelchair and with wheelchair accessible toilets. There must be both. Can you imagine attending a wedding and not being able to go to the bathroom if you need to? Or how about if the toilets are accessible but you can't get into the door.
  • Did you consider that the shops need to be accessible to the disabled too? How will a new Kallah who has any kind of disability go shopping for any of the important items for her wedding or new home? How will a disabled person who wishes to attend a wedding and wants to take a gift manage unless the shops are accessible. Is your store accessible to the disabled? If so, we want to hear from you and we want your advert in our new magazine.
Can you think of any other details that a disabled person needs to know either when they marry or when they attend a wedding? If so, we want to hear from you.

If you would like to sponsor an article written by a disabled Jew, please be in touch. Your kindness can help to give them a voice and an honest parnassa in dignity. 

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Musical Talents or Special Needs or?

Most of us have some kind of interests in life. For many of us, music, art, creativity falls into leisure time activities. Some schools have begun to focus only on accademic lessons, phasing the creative arts out of the syllabus due to budget cuts. For many this could mean missing out on everything the person is about.

If you are creative, have you learned to play an instrument? Can you play by just hearing a piece or do you need to read the music in order to play a tune and sing a song?

Some can figure out the melody of a song, by hearing it a few times, but not everyone can work out both the melody and the corresponding chords in the right key without reading any music.

Have a look at this boy. Labelled as autistic, he has amazed his teachers with his musical ability.

Monday, 4 June 2012

The Love of Books

Have you ever set yourself a goal and worked hard to achieve it? 

In our previous post we featured an interview with Published Author R.A. Kahn. If you read the interview you will note that in one of her answers she mentioned that she was often ill as a child but loved to read. At one time her love of books was so great she wanted to be a librarian. Keeping her love of books close by, she was a talented teacher for many years. Then one day she decided to begin doing something more productive about her love of books. 

Soon she had a manuscript prepared and after much work and patience her first book came into being, Grandma's Hat. As you see in the top image, the book was translated into Afrikaans. The reason for the differing covers in English is that the book was published in 3 different countries. It has gone through 2 prints thus far, perhaps if there is enough interested it will go into a 3rd printing.

The top image shows some of the books written by R.A. Kahn. Grandma's Hat, Naomi's Tonsils, Why Unicorns Eat Lavender and her latest book, Relationships. There were a number of school readers published in between that I do not have access to, hence no image of them.

What can one gain from this post? Several things:

1) If you have a health problem, don't let it stand in your way. Of course you need to take care of your health, but set yourself goals, dare to dream and take active steps to realise your goals. One step at a time, with patience and perseverance and you too can find in place of just a dream, tangible results. In this case, a growing collection of books.

2) If you are invovled in working with children and or teenagers. Whether you are a teacher, therapist or counsellor actually, parents too can benefit. Visit the blog of R.A. Kahn, find where her books are available for sale and buy one or more or all of her books to add to your library. These books are filled with beauty, kindness, imaginaiton, creativity. They are simply delightful and a pleasure to read. Each book is the kind one can re-visit many times and not be tired of them. Aside from the enjoyment level, each has something to learn from it, be it the adventure that transpires after being given a hat one does not like; a pending hospitalization; a pure fantasy about unicorns or the lessons to be learnt from nurturing relationships. Each book contains a treasure that is waiting to be yours.

It is an honour to recommend the books of R.A. Kahn author of childrens books and now of teenage novels. I look forward to seeing the next book added to her collection of published books. 

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Interview with Author R.A. Kahn

Interview with R.A. Kahn Published Author of Children's and Teen Books.

1)  Q: How did you begin to write books? Can you share a little about your love of books and how your first book or idea came to be published as a book.

A:  I started writing stories when I was quite young. I used to read a great deal. I was often ill as a child and reading was a good way to forget myself and to pass the time.

2) Q: You are a teacher, I presume you have prepared much material for students over the years. Did this have something to do with becoming an author? Has your experience as a teacher helped your writing? If so how

A: Whenever I had to present a new subject to the children I was teaching, I would introduce it in story form. I wrote a great deal of material during my 25 years as a teacher.

3) Q: What did it feel like to see your 1st book in print.?

A: My first children's book was a whole new experience for me. I followed each step of the printing and publishing and as it was a story based on one my mother had told me of her childhood, it was very  special indeed.  At the request of the publisher, professional photographs were taken of me and one day, I walked into the local Mall and there in front of my eyes, was a whole window display of my book in English and Afrikaans; my photographs and posters, etc., in the local book store! It was a totally unreal feeling! I am sure I blushed!  But it was exciting, too.

4) Q: I've read the reviews about Grandma's Hat. What are your thoughts or how did it feel when you discovered that your first book to be published was studied as part of children's literature at school in Botswana and in a University course?  

A: Somehow I was especially glad for my mother! She was able to travel back to the small Town in which she grew up and just happened to be there when they opened the new Public Library. She was able to read the Afrikaans edition of the book to a large group of children who were gathered there for the opening. Of course we got excellent press coverage and that helped with the sales! I was quite proud to hear it was studied as part of children's literature.

5) Q: From your blog we see that you have several books published now. Does it feel the same each time a new book comes out? Is there an element of getting used to it or is this just as exciting each time? 

A: Each book is special to me. I enjoy the writing but once it is published, my only thoughts are that others should enjoy the stories, too.

6) Q: Your early books are children's picture books and I understand a few school readers too. Can you tell us about any difference you experienced in writing for children versus your new book which is a teenage novel.?   

A: I love writing for small children, but the trouble is that the illustrations have to be very special too. I know young children gain so much by "reading" the pictures. Writing for young teens is completely different and takes a great deal of research and listening. Before I wrote my first "teen" novel, I spent hours just listening to the way they talk and interact with one another. As I do not have Television, and could therefore not watch any of the family type programmes, I had to go to the Malls and to places where they might be and eavesdrop, as it were. I made copious notes, even in lifts, and tried to disregard all the odd looks I got.  I laughed inside myself a great deal! It was fun.

7) Q: Are you able to tell us anything of future books? Do you have more in the pipeline?

 A: There are 2 other books, sequels to "Relationships", and I can honestly say that they have almost written themselves, as the characters just developed. I now have to complete the editing.  There are always bits that need to be re-written.

R.A. Kahn is a talented author and her books are well worth buying 
and reading, both the ones for children and the new teen novel. 

Do visit her blog and remember to leave a 
comment or thought. 

A few have already requested the link to where Relationships by R.A. Kahn can be bought. Here it is enjoy and share with your friends too.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Infant Massage – Learn to massage your own baby

Whether you are a new mother or a mother of many children, whether your child or children are normal, healthy children or have special needs, you will benefit from taking a course in Infant Massage. Infant / Baby Massage is the most incredible gift you can give to your baby and to you. It is good for both parents to learn the technique and to develop a regular routine of providing your baby with a massage.

The massage can be provided to help baby relax and go to sleep, for a little private and personal time with Mom and / or Dad or to remind your child you are there with them, even just through a few moments of appropriate touch. The benefits of Infant Massage extend from helping baby to clear out the natural stress hormones that occur from a birth, to assist baby to develop a good sleep routine, to improve digestion, remedy colic and frequent gas, to providing natural sensory input that is vital for healthy development.

By learning the techniques, background and additional information with a trained Certified Infant Massage Instructor you will learn:
  • What type of touch is appropriate and why
  • What the benefits of soothing loving touch are
  • How to know when your baby needs or would benefit from massage and when it is enough or too much
  • When and where to provide a massage
  • How to assist your baby when s/he is in pain or fussing.
  • What type of massage oil is appropriate to use
  • How to maximize the massage time to increase a loving, caring bond between you as parent(s) and your baby
  • How to adapt the massage as your baby grows and develops
  • How to begin the foundation of appropriate respect and discipline between parent(s) and baby

This post is prepared by Shoshanah Shear, Certified Infant Massage Instructor and Qualified Occupational Therapist,
To book your series of sessions / classes in how to massage your baby, please email

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Technology - Are We Progressing or Regressing?

Yesterday I had a meeting in the office of a special person, Rabbi Benji Levine. As one walks into his office, it is hard to know what to look at first. The family photo's, the inviting comfortable scatter cushions, the interesting items and memorabilia, the mobiles and wind chimes, or is it perhaps the wonderful old fashioned writing desk that is set up just for writing. Do you remember those days?

The offie had NO computer in it. This Rabbi has No computer and never uses it?

Is he behind the times? I wonder. Let's us compare a few points here.

Some years ago I treated a spinal cord injured 16 year old whose teachers were angry with him for refusing to use or even learn to use a computer. Yes, he had a disability but his being in a wheelchair and having limited upper limb function is not what kept him from using the computer. Of course, no-one bothered to ask him why he did not want to use a computer or to write a book of the story of his life. That is until he came for Occupational Therapy and was given and interest check list to complete.

After taking some time to listen to what was important to this strong willed young man, it became evident that he was afraid of what the growth in technology will do to society. Was he wrong? The more I see the progress in technology the more I begin to agree with this young man.

Emailing, Social Networking, Skype etc might enable families who find themselves separated by continents to have a way to stay in touch, but for the most part, people have forgotten how to communicate. They have forgotten how to pick up a pen, the nice old fashioned fountain pen and with a beautiful handwriting put pen to paper and write a letter of love and kindness and caring.

People might be able to do an act of charity with just the press of a button, or a few, but how many are really caring. More than anything, people are forgetting how to use their own creative thinking skills and instead just taking the ideas, thoughts, artwork etc of others. People are finding that a person in needed can put up an appeal for help, but instead of helping they pretend to be in need and create false scenarios, taking from those who really do need.

People have forgotten basic grammar rules. Remember the days when a new sentence or a pronoun began with a capital letter partly to show respect? Today you can receive an email with no message, no name, no subject. People expect you will just mind-read what it is that they want and provide it in an instance. Or if there is a message the basic grammar has disappeared resulting in one long sentence of lower case letters that becomes impossible to read.

Is this living? Is this the social skills we grew up with? The social skills that lead to unity and caring and health and healing?

What was amazing about Rabbi Benji Levine was, not only does he not have a computer and not have the need for one, but his listening skills are superb. He sits patiently and listens with complete focus. Do you know what he does if a cell phone rings during a meeting? Answer it and waste your time?

No, Rabbi Beji Levine learned from his grandfather, a Tzaddik that respecting a human being is one of the most important skills you can learn and take through your life. So when the cell phone rings, he excuses himself, glanses at the phone and promptly switches it off until the meeting is over. 

No question is silly or superflous to Rabbi Levine, for the needs and concerns of all human beings are important and for that, one does not need computers, email, social networking or any other technology. How do you show you care? Step into the office of Rabbi Benji Levine and learn how. It begins with listening and patience, two skills most of today's society has lost with the modern I-age generation.

So I think again of my patient and wonder who was the smart one? The teacher wanting to give him opportunities to learn and interact and express himself, or my strong willed patient who was scared that the progress of technology would lead to more problems than it is worth and therefore did not want to find a way to enable him to have access to computers. 

For healthy relationships to thrive, I think I agree with my patient. It is not computers that we need but to create an environment that is fun, welcoming and above all a readiness to listen and be patient while the other expresses their comment or question and then to make sure your words show the same level of respect.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Keeping up with Technology -4

I recently listened to an online panel discussion on the topic of:
"Use of telehealth in early intervention and school system practice."
The speakers were Jana Cason, OT on the panel and very involved in Amercian TeleHealth Association; Kim Hartmann, OT on the panel - she is the chair at Quinnipiac University; Sena Crutchley is the SLP and she works at UNC. The panel was chaired by Sandra Schefkind, MS, OTR/L Pediatric Coordinator American Occupational Therapy Association.
It is impressive to hear the progress in the profession of Occupational Therapy, the use of technology and the collaborative work with other team members such as Speech and Language Pathologists.  What is possibly more impressive is that the online discussion took place in USA, I listened to a recording of the live virtual chat from my home in Israel. Amazing how continuing education has become so much more accessible. 
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