The Hadassah Center for Children with Chronic Diseases
Chronic illnesses (i.e., diseases lasting longer than a year that require continuous medical care and\or special needs) are common among children, and it is estimated that at least 16% of children in Israel have one or more diseases that can be characterized as chronic. Though the severity of different chronic illnesses is variable, there are common challenges that these children and their families confront.
The child with a chronic illness confronts physical, social, and emotional challenges related to the disease. Medical care that is solely directed to specific physical conditions is inadequate, as children with chronic conditions require comprehensive rehabilitative services, psychological care, and assistance in coping with both social and educational environments that are not geared to meeting the special requirements of a child with a chronic disease.
A child’s greatest desire is to be like everyone else and parents want to see their children leading as normal lives as possible. Unfortunately, chronic disease stands in the way of such aspiration. The physical limitations imposed by chronic illness often do not allow for these children play or interact with their peers. The requirements for treating a chronic illness curtail free time, and frequently, they are subject to onerous treatment plans that are painful and frightening. Often, children with chronic illnesses appear different, and this has a deleterious impact on their psychosocial development. Children with neurodevelopmental disorders may have the same psychological and emotional needs and desires as other children, but their disease and intellectual limitations affect their abilities to satisfy them. These children are often not afforded the chance to experience social interactions even when they are capable for having such interactions.