Integrating Children and Youth with Developmental Intellectual Disabilities in Youth Movements

Integrating children with developmental intellectual disabilities in youth movements n has a positive effect on all children involved.
This personal acquaintance helps break stigmas and prejudices and promotes positive values that will influence the behavior the children toward people with developmental intellectual disabilities as adults. Additionally, the children with developmental intellectual disabilities who participate broaden their social and support circles and acquire new social skills.
 The incorporation of children with developmental intellectual disabilities requires accessibility adjustments, making the activities suitable in a structured way, providing knowledge and supporting the instructors of the youth movements.
Understanding the importance and necessity of resources for instructors of youth movements, JDC Israel Ashalim, the Shalem Foundation, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, the Ministry of Education, the Council of Youth Movements in Israel among others, began a program in January 2014 to accompany the integration of children with such disabilities in youth movements.
About the program
This is a five year program which began in February 2014. The main activities are:
· Developing a manual for integration of groups and individuals, including supporting tools.
· Training for staff at different levels: youth movement headquarters, coordinators and instructors of special groups and general groups, as well as extensive training for the integration coordinators that lead the program in each youth movement.
· Development of a designated internet site that includes the working theory, new tools that were developed for this purpose, forums for instructors to learn from their peers and pose questions to experts, and information for coordinators.
· Working with young adults as they transition into leadership roles .
· Tools for changing attitudes in headquarters, instructors and children and youth in the movement.
The program is accompanied by a wide spread television campaign advocating children to befriend children with disabilities broadcasted on the children’s channel beginning April 26th 2015.
The slogan of the campaign is "Even if it requires more – don’t miss out on a friend" and is accompanied by three video clips that address the acceptance of those different from us.
The Shalem Foundation took part in each stage of this program.
To watch the video clip: dancing together