Principle of Normalization
The principle of normalization recognizes the basic right of every person, including people with special needs, to live a full life in the community and make decisions regarding every aspect of their lives. It is the dominant and anchored in law approach when it comes to the lifestyles of people with special needs, and its necessity and justification are undisputed.
The idea of normalization has, in recent decades, led to an inclusion process that encourages people with special needs to live and operate within a majority of mainstream people. Often, this process is carried out against the will of the mainstream population or without them taking an interest in the field, and leads to feelings of loneliness and rejection among many of those with special needs.
From automatic inclusion to inclusion by choice – new trends in normalization:
A process of inclusion by choice takes place at Kishor-Kishorit, where people with special needs are the majority. They are part of the norm and not the exception. Here, ordinary people with special needs choose to live in a meaningful and continuous relationship with each other. The inclusive community framework allows people with special needs to live in a real community. Kishorit members are equal and desirable partners in the community in which they live, a community that includes people with a wide range of abilities.
Kishor-Kishorit is an example that has illustrated for more than twenty years the enormous potential inherent in an approach of inclusion by choice, as a legitimate, meaningful, and important option for people with special needs.
Many of the frameworks designed for adults with special needs focus on a rehabilitative approach. They work on the development of certain abilities among this population, abilities that are defined by the welfare and health authorities and are considered to be an indication of life skills and quality of life.
At Kishorit, we see things a little differently. We believe that a person’s quality of life is measured not only by fixed criteria dictated from above, but also, and above all, by an ongoing process of defining personal desires, needs, goals and aspirations. We believe that members should choose their own goals of their own free will and not of the will of other entities, such as their parents or the village staff. This is a process of building and enabling as much personal freedom as possible. We believe that this is the meaning of the principle of equality, which comes primarily from the right to choose and serves as a basis for freedom, autonomy and independence. We focus on independence – not necessarily in the technical sense of being able to serve yourself, but in the deeper sense of having the independence to choose, making a meaningful decision in your life as an adult about what is important to you and what you want.
We see the role of the Kishorit team as helping members define and hone in on their aspirations, desires, needs and dreams. With the guidance and support of the community and staff, we help them take the right steps to achieve these personal goals. These goals are different for each and every person, and are based on their character, values, abilities and personal inclinations.
In Kishorit there is no general rehabilitation program, which applies to the system as a whole and all its members. Instead, there are personal and dynamic rehabilitation programs, which are designed and regularly updated based on a dialogue created between the member and other members of the community, as well as with their family members and the staff.
These personalized rehabilitation programs are based on a continuum and variety of services in the various areas of life, while recognizing the close connection between these areas. We see the issues of employment, leisure, housing, social, physical and health needs as matters that influence and overlap with each other, and accordingly, we work to build a system of personal rehabilitation services that addresses the holistic nature of these various components in the life of each and every member of the village.
When a member joins the village, we do not set limits in advance for the possibilities of their progress. From our perspective, the sky is the limit. The framework of rehabilitation services offered to each member of Kishorit is diverse and dynamic. The main part of our work is to find and adjust the right framework of personal rehabilitative solutions according to the needs and individual aspirations of each member.
As stated, personal choice and independence are our core values. At the same time, living in a close and supportive community prevents and decreases the tendency of loneliness and inactivity that often come as a “package deal” with independence.
Clinic and Medicine
There are medical services available at Kishorit for members 24 hours a day. Nurses are on site or on standby at all times, and a family doctor, psychiatrist and dentist, come frequently and regularly to address the health needs of the members. Members who take medication regularly do so with close supervision of the clinic staff.
Members’ travel for tests and treatments at external medical facilities and specialist doctors, and are always accompanied by a staff member or volunteer.
The concept of health in Kishorit is holistic, and sees a person as a union of body and mind. According to this view, the various parts of a person’s life are interrelated and affect, as a whole, the well-being and health of the person. The environment, interpersonal relationships, life habits and emotional state are all intertwined. Therefore, the therapeutic method at Kishorit combines medical treatment and use of medication if necessary, with proper nutrition, exercise and balance of emotional state. Overweight members are assisted by dietary advice, and the professional and medical staff encourages individual or group sports activities to maintain a healthy lifestyle and aid in weight loss.
The medical staff regularly updates the professional staff and family members regarding essential care issues.
The Nursing Home (Beit Shikma)
Kishorit is a lifelong home for its members, and therefore a nursing home was also established there, designed to provide a solution for sick members and members in their old age, in the community setting.
The nursing home provides a solution for three groups of members:
Community members defined in their old age as debilitated – Among people with special needs, there is an accelerated aging process due to organic deficiencies and prolonged use of medications. This stage requires a close level of supervision due to disorientation in time and place.
Members who need an alternative to psychiatric hospitalization–Some members suffer from psychotic outbursts that are sometimes accompanied by behaviors that the staff and community cannot contain, and require hospitalization that is usually done in a psychiatric hospital. The outpatient hospital takes a heavy emotional toll, interrupts life routines and causes regression in the rehabilitation process. Hospitalization in the nursing home, where the staff is skilled in treating crisis situations and which offers close supervision, allows for minimal detachment from the supportive environment, prevents mental withdrawal that requires a period of readjustment, and reduces the impact of the psychotic outburst on the rehabilitative process.
Supervision of members during illness– When a member suffers from a chronic illness that requires special treatment, he or she will be able to receive the unique supervision and assistance that they need in the nursing home. Even members with a mild illness like the flu or a virus can be in a caring environment and not be left alone in their apartment. The private residences respect the personal space of each member and at the same time allow for free social interactions outside the framework of the social club or the organized activities.