Who We Are

The Autism Research and Treatment Center: The Association for Children at Risk (ACR) was founded over 25 years ago, a time when there were no specialized educational or treatment services for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Israel. Children with autism were sent to psychiatric hospitals, placed in educational settings for children with developmental delays, or in other inadequate frameworks. Consequently, the likelihood that as they grew up they would be able to maximize their potential and integrate into the greater community was low.

There is a professional consensus that the earlier ASD treatment is implemented, the better the long-term outcome. This means that children should be treated as early as possible in an “autism”-friendly environment. Accordingly, ACR’s mission is to provide equal access to essential treatment for every child in Israel diagnosed with ASD, regardless of gender, ethnic/religious background, or place of residence, with special emphasis being placed on the underserviced residents of communities in Israel’s peripheries.

Today, the situation in Israel has changed dramatically for the better.  ACR remains at the forefront, the largest and most established organization providing diagnosis, treatment, and therapeutic intervention for toddlers and schoolchildren with ASD.  Critical to fulfilling our mission is the creation of services that are accessible to children in their natural environment, be it in daycare centers, preschools, or schools. ACR provides training for its ASD professionals, and serves some 2,000 children throughout Israel in 200 childcare centers, preschools, and treatment centers, as well as through our “In-School” program for schoolchildren.

Therapeutic Approach

The Autism Research and Treatment Center: The Association for Children at Risk (ACR) is foremost a professional organization, and its staff and directors are informed by the most up-to-date scientific research.  We base our approach on the integrative developmental model. ACR does not dogmatically endorse any specific methodology; rather, our staff focus on designing flexible, individual treatment programs, which employ a variety of the most validated interventions. We focus on caring for the child in his or her own natural environment, in kindergarten or at school, in order to make it easier for their family and to further enhance the therapeutic benefit.

ACR works in coordination with relevant government ministries, and its recommendations for the basket of therapeutic services for toddlers and preschoolers with ASD was adopted by the Ministry of Health. We work in full cooperation with the  Israeli healthcare, education and welfare systems, and the local authorities. This approach enables all parties involved to unite around caring for the child and focusing on his or her welfare and advancement.

Association Goals

  • To promote the treatment of and assistance to children on the Autism Disorder Spectrum and their families in their communities.
  • To provide equal access to essential treatment to every child in Israel diagnosed with ASD, regardless of gender, ethnic/religious background, or place of residence, with special emphasis being placed on the underserviced residents of communities in Israel’s peripheries.
  • To give the children care and services of the highest quality as soon as a diagnosis is made, and to best seize the critical window of opportunities for care when given at a young age.
  • To develop models for therapeutic intervention and assistance on the individual, family, and community levels.
  • To encourage official bodies in communities to actively engage in meeting the needs of autistic children and their families.
  • To increase public awareness of and lead to social changes in the way people with autism are viewed by and incorporated into society.
  • To promote collaboration in developing intervention, education, and research models on the international level.
  • To develop a national professional leadership, through training and development, in the field of autism treatment.

The Association’s Public Activities

Legislative – Fortifying into law the entitlement of the children to the therapeutic basket, provided by the Ministry of Health, which includes remedial instruction, creative and expressive therapy, paramedical treatments, instruction from the treatment staff, and more.

Government – Promoting integration between the different ministries of government (social welfare, health, social security, education).

Education – Advancing the need to develop a national model to provide treatment for school-age children in their natural environment – the schools themselves.

Periphery – Increasing collaboration with more municipalities in northern and southern Israel and making our services accessible to all children on the Autism Disorder Spectrum throughout Israel.

Management and Committees

Dr. Rivi Sherman, Chair
Prof. Benad Goldwasser
Dr. Yosef Frost
Dr. Shlomo Segev

Adv. Tzipi Nagel- Edelstein, CEO – tzipi_e@trac.org.il

Ms. Tali Edelshtein – Mealem, HR and Operations Director – talie@trac.org.il

Ms. Adi Koren CPA, Chief Financial Officer – adik@trac.org.il

Ms. Henya Hadar, Special Projects Director – henia_h@trac.org.il

Ms. Shlomit Weisblum, Marketing Communications and Resource Development Director – shlomitw@trac.org.il

Ms. Nili Cohen Aaronson, Clinical Psychologist and Trainer, Professional Director – Autism  – nillya@trac.org.il

Ms. Sagit Hoshmand, Monitoring Manager – sagith@trac.org.il

Ms. Yael Leviel, Social Worker,  Parent Liaison Manager, social worker sector manager – yaell@trac.org.il

Dr. Vered Reiter, Director of clinical outcome quantification and evaluation research – vered@trac.org.il

Ms. Keren Segal, Professional Training Director – kerens@trac.org.il

Ms. Nechama Faber Ben Pazi, Clinical Psychologist, In-School Program Director  – nechamafb@gmail.com

Prof. Benad Goldwasser
Prof. Yosef Frost
Dr. Shlomo Segev
Prof. Nathaniel Laor

Prof. Nathaniel Laor, Chair
Adv. Tzipi Nagel-Edelstein
Dr. Vered Reiter
Prof. Ofer Golan
Prof. Leo Wolmer
Ms. Nili Cohen Aaronson
Dr. Irit Mor-Snir

Prof. Nati Laor, Chair and professional consultant to the Board of Directors
Dr. Irit Mor-Snir, Medical Director
Adv. Tzipi Nagel-Edelstein, CEO
Ms. Nili Cohen-Aaronson
Ms. Nechama Faber Ben Pazi
Dr. Vered Reiter
Ms. Sandra Israel Yaacov

Bayit Ehad: Prof. Ofer Golan, professional director for the ASD units in Tel Aviv and Kfar Saba
Ms. Elinor Ben Zeev, trainer and manager of the hydrotherapy unit
Ms. Yael Brukner,therapeutic psychologist, trainer and manager of the social communications unit