They sat together in the café, contented and relaxed, perusing the menu in an atmosphere of camaraderie. Shai* looked around at the classy décor, taking in the heavenly aromas. Limor* inspected the elegant place setting, unfolding the fine cloth napkin and placing it on her lap.
The scene at the café was such a common one, comforting in its familiarity. And that is precisely what was so special about it…
For Shai, Limor, and their friends, it was a thrilling first. They are residents of ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran, the unique Rehabilitation Village specially designed for people with multiple cognitive and physical disabilities. For them, seemingly ordinary outings are part of a life which, until now, was decidedly off-limits, unattainable, something that only other people do. Thus it was that the visit to My Dream Restaurant in Ofakim was a delightfully novel experience, granting them pleasure, freedom, and the gift of normative experiences.
Inherent in the vision of ADI Negev is the goal of empowering its residents to the greatest extent possible with a sense of personal fulfillment and independence in normative activities. Diversified, age-appropriate events bring pleasure and joy to our daily lives, and the lives of individuals with special needs are no exception.
The outing to the coffee house was a very exciting event, incomparable to anything they had ever experienced before. What could be more enjoyable than sitting with friends in a charming new setting they had never seen the likes of before? With free rein of the menu, ADI Negev’s residents were liberated by the right to choose. Their ADI escorts insisted that they rise above their communication difficulties and place their own orders with as little assistance possible, via the use of their customized communication boards. Though this took quite some time, their faces shone with satisfaction at their newfound accomplishment.
With ADI’s determination to provide them with real quality of life, a visit to the coffee shop is just the beginning…
*names changed to protect privacy