Eating is a basic and existential daily activity, the skills of which every person learns in the early stages of his development. It is an activity that communicates with pleasure and often involves communication and shared time with those around us.Among the population with Intellectual developmental disabilities, we may witness difficulties in the various stages of the meal. Service providers testified that meal time is the most challenging time of the day physically and mentally (Zakash and Gilad, 2010). In a study conducted by Malka Asher (2014), the main message raised was that there is an importance to the way a person is fed both for himself and for the service provider, and it is this that influences the feeding experience.Understanding that adapting the physical and communicative eating environment has the power to enhance the participation and independence of service recipients in the meal stages, while addressing the professional and emotional difficulties of service providers, the experimental initiative “Meal is not just food” was born.This report was prepared to document the project developed by Shalem Fund, The Division for the treatment of People with mental disabilities, The Ministry of Labor, Welfare and Social Services and Milbat-Sheba, that was conducted in the years 2018-2020. The document will describe the stages of the project, the challenges and the conclusions, hoping to produce a professional model whose implementation will lead to a positive and empowering meal experience by adapting the eating environment, both for service recipients and also for staff and caregivers providing services for people with cognitive disabilities.
To read the full report in Hebrew press here
People with intellectual developmental disabilities
Therapists and staff
Supportive care methods and accessories
Shalem Fund study