Baby istock

Fourteen families with autistic toddlers have appealed to the district court to force the Welfare and Health Ministries to place their autistic children in rehabilitative daycare centers.

Learning in rehabilitative daycare centers is critical to the development of these toddlers, since treatment within the first three years of a child's life substantially increases their chances of developing normally.

In addition to their plea, the parents' lawyers submitted an urgent request for an interim order which will allow the toddlers to receive advanced treatments similar to those they would receive in a rehabilitative daycare center.

The purpose of the interim order is to decrease the damage caused by the State's inability to immediately place them in the appropriate daycare setting and their inability to run enough daycare centers focused on communication skills.

According to attorney Amir Barak, who submitted the appeal, "Today the situation is untenable. Children and their parents suffer twice: First of all because the children were not placed in a daycare center which can facilitate the children's communication skills immediately upon their becoming eligible for the service.

"And second of all, because the State of Israel does not do anything to lessen the damage these children suffer as a result of not receiving the treatments they need."

MK Karin Elharrar (Yesh Atid) said, "For too long, we have been witness to special needs children who obviously need rehabilitative services not being placed in such a daycare center. There are various reasons and excuses, but none of them are justified.

"This reality has left parents with no choice but to sue the Welfare Ministry. Now the situation is extreme, and we need to wake up. It's a shame, because there was no need for us to end up in this situation at all."