From age 3 and up, the Ministry of Education funds aides for children integrated into regular education if they learn in a recognized educational institution with a school registration number (סמל מוסד); (the institution does not necessarily have to be an official institution like a municipal daycare center or public school).
- The type of assistance and the number of support hours provided is determined depending on the type of each child's disability, his/her needs and budget.
- The support aide's job is to help children during class and breaks, and provide physical, educational and social assistance and support.
- The local authority where the family lives is responsible for employing the aide.
- Eligibility for a support aide is reexamined every school year.
- For information about medical assistance which is not part of an integration program for children learning in the regular education system, see: Medical Aide for Children Enrolled in the Regular Education System.
Who is Eligible?
- Children who meet both of the following criteria:
- They are of compulsory education age and are integrated into the regular education system, in a recognized educational institution that has a school registration number (סמל מוסד), which does not necessarily have to be an official institution.
- They require a support aide due to their level of functioning, and they have been diagnosed with one of the following significant disabilities/disorders by the appropriate diagnostician in accordance with Ministry of Education guidelines:
How to Claim It?
Approval of Eligibility
- Parents of children ages 3-4 must submit a request with the relevant documentation to Municipal/Regional Support Center (MATYA) (an integration committee is not required for children of this age).
- Beginning at compulsory education age, determination regarding the need for a support aide is made through a school integration committee, or as part of a placement committee hearing. Parents interested in having a support aide for their child should make the request known during these committee hearings.
- It is recommended for parents to bring a written recommendation regarding the need for an aide from a diagnostician or treating physician who is familiar with the child.
- After an integration committee has established the child's entitlement to a support aide, the educational institution's inter-disciplinary professional staff will determine how to integrate the aide as part of the child's Individualized educational program.
- In cases where neither an integration committee nor a placement committee has convened to discuss the child's case, it will be very difficult to receive approval for a support aide.
- Every district is assigned a quota of personal assistance hours, and the Municipal/Regional Support Center (MATYA) is responsible for allocating those hours, through the integration committee, local committee representatives and supervisors.
- Assistance hours are allocated according to the following prioritization:
- Students with severe physical disabilities who attend regular school and need a personal aide or physical assistance are given first priority.
- Children with Down syndrome, children on the autistic spectrum and children with severe behavioral problems are given second priority.
Finding an Aide
- In some local authorities parents can choose an aide from a personnel pool, and in some local authorities the parents must find the aide themselves. Sometimes parents prefer to choose their own aide.
- When parents are having trouble finding an aide to work with their child, especially in cases of severe physical disabilities or behavioral problems, it is best to ask for help from the local authority, the school, professionals, care providers and/or other acquaintances. Parents may also ask for advice from organizations listed below.
- Support aides must have:
- The proper desire, willingness and inclination to work with children.
- The physical and emotional capacity to handle the child's special needs.
- Experience and/or basic knowledge in the fields of educational/care/nursing care (in accordance with what is required for each child's specific needs) are also desirable.
- The ability to communicate well with the educational staff and the parents
- Support aides do not always have to be professionals, as long as they have the proper willingness and ability to learn.
- From the parents' perspective, the aide must be trustworthy and sensitive and be able to be trusted to provide for the child's special needs and help integrate the child socially.
Absence from School
- Children who have an aide for a fixed number of hours every day and are absent from school can reach an agreement with the aide to make up the hours another day.
- Nonetheless, this type of flexibility is not guaranteed by any Ministry of Education directive. Officially, if a child is absent from school, the aide's hours for that day are not required to be made up.
Support Aide during Summer Vacation
- As the result of an arrangement between the Ministry of Education and the Union of Local Authorities in Israel, children entitled to a support aide during the school year can also receive these support services at camp during the summer vacation.
- This entitlement requires the camp to be licensed and recognized by the local authority.
- Parents whose child had an aide during the school year must contact the local authority to arrange for the aide to continue working at summer camp, as well. It is recommended to contact the local authority about a month before the start of camp in order to ensure that there will be approval for the aide by the time camp starts.
- Final approval to employ an aide at summer camp is provided by the local authority.
- Parents having difficulties with the local authorities should seek legal and other assistance from aid organizations.
- Toddlers up to age 3 with special needs integrated into a regular education framework may be entitled to assistance from an aide through the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services. For more details, see: Integration of Toddlers with Special Needs into Regular Daycare.
- There is no eligibility for a temporary aide. If the doctor determines that the child can be in kindergarten or school, the child must be accepted and the staff must help the child with whatever he needs.
- For a comprehensive categorized listing of aid organizations offering assistance and support for children with special needs, click here.
- The Ministry of Education
- The Union of Local Authorities in Israel
Laws and Regulations
- Amendment 7 to the Special Education Law - "The Integration Law"
- Ministry of Education Director Circular 5771/10(a) from 01.06.2011 - Aides in special education frameworks and aides for children integrating into regular educational framework.
- Ministry of Education Director Circular 5768/3(d) from 01.11.2007 - The Integration Plan as Part of Regular Education - Treatment of Students with Special Needs in Regular Education Classes.
- Addendum to Ministry of Education Director Circular 5768/3(d) from 01.11.2007: Describing the Level of Functioning for Purposes of Establishing Eligibility for a Support Aide for Students Integrated into Regular Education
- Strengthening the Connection and Cooperation Between the Educational Staff and Families of Integrated Children - Guidelines from the director of the Special Education Division, 20.08.2013 (from the ALUT website)
- English translation and maintenance by The Shira Pransky Project.