Cori Ashkenazy was only two-and-a-half-years-old when he and his family made Aliyah, making Israel their new home. But it was only after their arrival to Israel that his parents became aware that their son was “different” than other kids his age: after a battery of tests and evaluations, Cori was diagnosed with autism.
Undiscouraged, Cori’s family invested boundless energy and means to facilitate and support his development and personal advancement. He met regularly with a speech therapist and physiotherapist, who assigned him daily drills and activities to strengthen his hypotonic muscles. To aid in his physical development, any time a new form of therapy was “discovered” or announced, Cori was immediately there to try it, including horseback riding therapy. Overtime, with dedication and patience, Cori overcame his hypotonia.
The joy of conquering and overcoming hypotonia was one thing, but it was the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) draft letter—the same every 17 or 18-year-old Israeli teenager receives—that really sparked Cori’s excitement. On the morning of his induction and draft into the IDF, Cori’s joy turned into disappointment: the recruiting officer monotonously told him and his parents that Cori was exempt from military service due to his autism. [continue reading…]