ALEH, a nonprofit organization, was established in 1982 by parents of children with disabilities, with the goal of providing a warm homelike environment offering therapeutic and rehabilitation services for people with severe intellectual and developmental disabilities and complex medical conditions. ALEH currently has four centers in Israel, providing professional care for more than 650 infants, children, adolescents and adults. Some live in the residential facilities of the centers, while others are provided with transportation to the centers where they receive therapy and are integrated into the educational, recreational and occupational programs. Located in Bnei Brak, Jerusalem, Gedera and the Negev, the centers aspire to provide high quality residential, medical, nursing, health, rehabilitation, special education and recreational services.
The ALEH staff views ongoing learning as intrinsic to providing the most effective care. For this reason, in 2015, staff members approached the Unit for Learning from Success at MJB and asked the Unit to conduct a systematic, structured process of identification, inquiry, and documentation of success stories based on the integration and advancement of ALEH residents into key areas of life. The success stories were selected by members of the ALEH steering committee together with a learning companion from the Unit. The inquiry process was based on Learning from Past Successes – the Retrospective Method, which was developed at MJB. It brought to light professional knowledge, much of which had been tacit and undocumented. Sixteen principles of action that led to success were extracted from the stories, including the following examples:
Involving the residents in an extensive and rich range of activities
Providing structured and organized one-on-one care according to need
Integration into the community outside of the centers.
"Being like everyone else" – normalization of the residents' lives.
In the first section of the book, we present background information about ALEH and the Learning from Success method. We describe the ALEH organization and its four centers, and the model and values on which their work is based. We then provide the reader with information about the principles of Learning from Success and summarize what the Retrospective Method is and how it is implemented. We continue by presenting the process that led to writing the book. The second section of the book presents the 16 shared principles of action as extracted from the ten success stories. The principles are illustrated by examples taken from the stories. The third section of the book presents the ten success stories from which the principles of action were taken.
The book will serve as a resource for mutual learning and professional development for the staffs of the centers, as well as for professionals working with special-needs populations throughout Israel. This book and the learning process on which it was based were supported by the Harry Weinrebe Fund for the Advancement of Children.