Ezer Mizion-National Center for supportive Communication
Ezer Mizion AAC (Alternative Augmentative Communication) National Center
Ezer Mizion is an apolitical, non-discriminatory NGO that serves 720,000 people each year from every sector of Israel’s population from 58 centers throughout Israel led by a professional staff of approximately 1,400, with a corps of 25,000 dedicated volunteers. Our mission is to support and empower people facing health challenges and their families/caregivers, promoting function and independence, preserving dignity and improving quality of life
People with a range of communication impairments who meet eligibility criteria, can borrow AAC devices at no charge from Ezer Mizion’s National AAC Center.
Ezer Mizion established its AAC Center, with the financial support of the National Insurance Institute’s Foundation for Development of Services for the Disabled. It is the only one of its kind in the Middle East and one of a few in the entire world. The Center is directed by Yonit Hagoel-Karnieli, a highly respected and well known speech clinician specializing in augmentative, alternative communication.
Each year, Ezer Mizion’s AAC Loan Center lends out 2,000 devices to children and adults with communication impairments. The Center includes an accessibility unit, directed by Debbie Ben-Tal, Occupational Therapist and Assistive Technology specialist, which is responsible for the loan of accessibility devices to people with motor and/or cognitive disabilities. Also under the aegis of the AAC Center is “Omer,” a center where professional experts in the communication impairment field perform evaluations, run workshops and seminars on the topic of AAC, and develop informational sources, evaluative tools, and other resources in the field of AAC.
The Center offers three types of devices: devices that are loaded with prerecorded messages, communication iPads, and talking computers.
Since 2015, when communication computers were first included in Israel’s National Health Package, Ezer Mizion’s Center has been lending AAC computers for trial use before equipment purchase.
The loan of communication computers takes place in collaboration with Israel’s Health Ministry, which funds purchase of these computers as part of the Health Package. Ezer Mizion’s AAC Center has been authorized by the Ministry to do assorted testing before the trial use. At the conclusion of the trial period, on the basis of the treating therapist’s professional opinion, the decision is made whether to approve purchase of the equipment by the borrower