Micha Program Helps Preschoolers with Hearing Loss

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After Reuma WPIZman, wife of former Israel president Ezer Weizman and Sheila Kurtzer, wife of US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer attended a dinner at Sheraton Tel Aviv hotel to raise funds for the Micha preschool, a supplemental preschool program located in Ramat Aviv founded by Dr. Ezra Korine in 1953 to diagnose hearing loss at an early age to enable early intervention, the hotel has adopted Micha. In February, the Jerusalem Post reported a group of children with their nursery teacher were at the hotel learning to make hamentashen for Purim party. Eyal Rosenberg was on hand to help the children, 3-5 years old with the pre-holiday baking preparations. Kurtzer, the US ambassador's wife, says it is the first time she's ever made the pastry. "These are the best hamentashen that I've ever made," she says. The children are a mix of both secular and religious from Ashkelon, Rishon Lezion, Rehovot, Yavne and Ashdod. Most children attend the Micha program twice a week and attend regular preschools locally for the rest of the week. Micha also has branches in Haifa, Jerusalem and Beersheba, Dr. Dorit Ben-Itzhak, Micha's educational director says the children are taught both sign language and regular conversation. "This way they can benefit both from meeting other children with hearing loss and from learning with hearing children," Ben-Itzhak says. They also have sessions with a language pathologist along with art, music, occupational and animal therapy. Some have hearing aids or cochlear implants. Micha offers a testing and fitting service as these aids are very expensive, Ben-Itzhak adds. Parents watch and participate. They also say that children from Arabic-speaking backgrounds are assisted, Although cost of running Micha is high, parents are charged about 10% of these costs. They say that no child, no matter his socio-economic background or the situation, should be deprived of help. 30% of funds come from the government and the rest through donations.