From January 3-16, 2016 NYU’s OT Department held its elective course, Disability in a Global Context, in Tel Aviv, Israel. Associate Professor Yael Goverover led the course in her home country, sharing not only her knowledge of occupational therapy in Israel, but also by sharing her Israeli culture with the group of 16 NYU students representing the departments of Occupational Therapy, Early Childhood Special Education, International Education, among others.
During the intensive two-week course, students studied and observed the intersection between culture, disability, treatment, and rehabilitation. The course examined the breadth of disabilities and medical services offered in Israel. In addition to lectures from medical professionals in various fields, the students visited hospitals, academic centers, veteran centers, and living facilities to look at how individuals receive both acute care and rehabilitation services in the country. Students even had the opportunity to experiment with state-of-the-art technology at various site visits. They experienced multi-sensory therapy in a Snoezelen used to treat patients with autism, developmental disabilities, and brain injury, and also witnessed and participated with the Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment, a virtual reality technology that is used to treat a variety of physical disabilities.
Students also experienced the highlights of Israeli culture by visiting Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, hiking in the Negev desert, and eating their way through the markets. Professor Goverover hosted the students at her house for dinner and served a traditional Israeli meal.
At the end of the two weeks, the students on the trip were enthused about their entire experience. Despite the broad range of disciplines, they had all gained many professional and personal experiences that are applicable to their area of study and future careers.