Editorial – November 2023

Right before this issue went to press, on the morning of the terrible Saturday – 7.10.2023, we all woke up to the horrific and heinous acts that we did not think were possible.   In an instant, the holiday of Simchat Torah turned into a nightmare, which will take us all a great deal of time to recover from.  Daily routine has halted, and resources have been redirected to pressing matters:  aid to the wounded and reorganization for a state of war in personal, family, social and of course professional spheres.  During the weeks that have passed, the community of occupational therapists has adapted methods and procedures to our role in emergency, and especially in the current shared traumatic reality.  As part of the essential professional reorganization, in recent weeks,  available information and intervention methods were gathered to documents with guidelines that are appropriate at this time.  A position paper was written entitled:  The Role of Occupational Therapists in the Preparations and Response During Emergency and Disaster Situations, to describe the professional role of the occupational therapist in the present reality.  This position paper is published in this issue; however, it will be expanded upon as practical knowledge is amassed, and will serve as the first road map for us and policy makers when making decisions as to the allocation of resources.  Moreover, the National Service for occupational therapy at the Ministry of Health has published documents that consolidate solutions recommended by occupational therapists in wartime for the various populations.  The documents can be found on the Ministry of Health website:  https://www.gov.il/he/departments/news/ot-haravut-barzel.

Currently, we, both as a society and individuals, find ourselves in a variety of new occupations and roles, when facing this disaster and the many losses.  People have lost their loved ones and are grieving. People have lost their sense of personal safety and are engaged in its recovery. People have lost their homes and their daily routines and occupations.  Concurrently, people of all walks of life: volunteers, soldiers and members of our occupational therapy community have taken the initiative and are building, documenting and creating meaningful activities as a first milestone in the physical, emotional, personal and national rehabilitation process.

Aside from the official documents that were compiled, occupational therapists have adapted their work to the constant changing needs.  Consequently, we documented the initial activity of the occupational therapists in various frameworks.

Primary Voices from the Field” is a special section, that gathers some of the knowledge and efforts of occupational therapists in the initial weeks of the Swords of Iron War.  We wish to thank all the occupational therapists who took the time to share their work with us.  This section serves as the basis for continued professional advancement that  be  further described in the next issue. that the issue will be dedicated to coping with the shared national traumatic reality, as seen through the occupational therapists’ eyes.

The second section of this issue presents the routine that preceded Black Saturday and presents content that was gathered prior to the war.  In a paradoxical manner, this issue was planned to open with an update regarding the English version of the book:  Humanistic Treatment, written by Mrs. Aviva Fried, one of the founders of the field of occupational therapy in Israel.  The basis for occupational therapy work originates from a humanistic outlook, which sees the humanity in people and in society – the humanity we currently desperately yearn for.  We hope that this knowledge, which was published in Hebrew in 2010, will be published in additional places.

In the first article, “Perceived Control Over Time Among College Students with and without Attention Deficits and/or Specific Learning Disorders,” Dr. Sharon Zlotnik and Dr. Ruth (Lavyel) Amit delve into the self-perceptions of daily functioning and control of time among students, especially in those coping with attention deficits and specific learning disorders.  The findings indicate that there is a correlation between management functions, time organization and participation.  A lower level of performance was indicated in cases with comorbid disorders.    

The academic year is about to begin in the shadow of war.  Many students are coping with loss and a shaken sense of security.  It appears that the results of this study will help occupational therapists consult in support centers for the target populations and with additional populations.  By leveraging the insights of this study, therapists can adapt interventions to improve time management skills, teach effective strategies and provide crucial assistance to students who deal with challenges of both academic and nonacademic requirements in periods of heightened stress and uncertainty.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish the best of luck to occupational therapy students as they begin their studies in the coming days and to the two new faculties at Ben Gurion University and Safed Academic College.

The second article – entitled “Self-Compassion and Quality of Life among Adults with and without ADHD in Israel” – examines the challenges faced by Israeli adults with ADHD, with an emphasis on the impact on quality of life.  The study indicates that cultivating self-compassion is likely to be an important intervention for improving quality of life among adults with ADHD and recommends the most relevant insights that could support people during period of war and heightened stress.

Aside from the relevant content that the study presents, the publication of this article represents our strength as colleagues in a wonderful manner.  The article is based on the thesis of the late Yuval Lester Keidar on the subject of “Self-Compassion and Quality of Life among Adults with and without ADHD in Israel at the Hebrew University’s School of Occupational Therapy.”  Yuval was critically wounded during his military service and dedicated his research and activity to the expansion of public understanding of people with functional challenges in the community.  Unfortunately, he was unable to complete his thesis and he passed away in October of 2019.  The study was conducted as part of the doctoral dissertation of Dr. Tamar Paley, under the supervision of Prof. Adina Maeir and Prof. Ron Shor, who continued his study and published the article for you to read in this issue.

In the Personal Perspective section, compiled by Ronit Livneh (Former known as Dorot), Efrat Keidar and Orit Sharon, Yuval’s character through his life story, the words of his colleagues, teachers and family members are presented.  Together, they highlight his life and work; and at the present time, Yuval’s story can serve as inspiration for many of us.

In the coming months and years, our profession will play an important part in the rehabilitation of the populations which were harmed on various levels.  In the next issue, we will strive to consolidate the professional knowledge that has been amassed, which will serve as the basis for this task.  We realize that professional writing is currently not an easy feat, and invite you to write to us, document your activity, consult and receive assistance from the journal’s editorial staff.

As this issue goes to press, we are deeply concerned for our fellow occupational therapists, Keith Segal and Carmel Gat, who were abducted from their home to Gaza and their fate is still unknown.  We pray for the safe and speedy return of Keith and Carmel and all of the hostages.

We hope you enjoy reading this issue and pray for quieter days to come,

Dr. Sivan Regev, co-editor of the IJOT, sivreg@gmail.com

Dr. Gili Hoter Ishay, co-editor of the IJOT, ghertsman@gmail.com