Dr. Hanna Alonim – Founder & President of Mifne
Dr. Hanna A. Alonim is an expert and researcher on the autism spectrum in infancy and Founder and Head of the Mifne Center for Treatment, Training, and Research, since 1987. The Mifne Center specializes in the treatment of infants up to the age of two, diagnosed on the autism spectrum from all over Israel and the world. The treatment program encompasses the entire nuclear family.
Hanna received her Ph.D in Mental Health from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK, following prior studies in psychotherapy, family therapy and brain studies. She is the Head of the Therapists Training School for Autism in Infancy at Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv since 2001.
Since 2005, Dr. Alonim has developed the ESPASI screening scale for the identification of early signs of autism in the first year of life, and established the unit for the detection of autism in infants at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. Her research, which she has presented worldwide, relates to the issues of early signs of autism; detection and treatment of infants at risk; family factors and family therapy in autism; eating disorders in toddlers with autism. She is a member of the Helsinki Research Committee at the Ziv Medical Center, Israel and a member of the ICF Core Set for ASD, Stockholm 2016.
Dr. Alonim has taught academic seminars at Bar-Ilan University; Tel Aviv University and Haifa University, Israel; Basel University, Switzerland; UCLA, USA; and lately at the IASI University, Romania.
Some of her publications include: “Early Signs of Autism in First Year of Life: Identification of Key Factors Using Artificial Neural Networks”. IMFAR, US (2014). “Origin of the Self, and Pathways to Autism”. Journal of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy, 13, 270-279. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC (2013). “Commentary on “The Protest of 6-month-Old Girl”. Journal of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy, 12, 1-8. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. (2013). “Early signs of autism in infants”. Israeli Journal of Pediatrics. vol. 76. (2011). “Signs of autism in infants: Recognition and early intervention”. London: Karnac Books, ISBN.: 9781855754867. (Chapter 7). (2007). “The Mifne Method”, Journal of Child & Adolescence Mental Health vol. 16(1,) 39-43. (2004)
Hanna is married, mother of 2 and has 3 grandchildren.
It has been my professional and personal privilege to invest curiosity, thought, research, and time in this challenging creation of the Mifne Model and in the development of innovative therapeutic tools as a result of many years of experience in the field of Autism. Retrospective observation, deducing relevant conclusions, constitutes the very essence of learning. Our therapeutic rationale is grounded in individual intensive therapy and a family-system approach for the purpose of increasing the communicative abilities and relationships within the family, in order to help family members cope with the challenges generated by their children’s condition.
Raising a child with autism is an exacting undertaking for the whole family. Children with autism have special needs that call for in-depth understanding and insightfulness on the part of their parents and therapists.
Lengthy and diverse experience has taught me that the family’s resources are crucial for the development of their children. Therapists, by contrast, are merely a bridge helping parents achieve their goals. A family that receives ongoing support through therapy may improve the well-being of all its members and help their child thrive.
As in the history of many areas of science, here too a therapeutic intervention program was developed but only began conducting research when it had reached a much later stage. Research conducted at the Mifne Center has shown that it is possible to help families improve the quality of their lives within a relatively short but intensive period of time, while at the same time generating significant progress in their children’s life skills.
I have often been asked what we do that actually causes the changes that take place for the family members and particularly for the child. In order to answer this question it is necessary to separate the various elements involved in the therapeutic program. My basic and I believe well-founded assumption is based on the clear relationship and integration of the four following components:
- The very young age of the infants in treatment
- The intensity of the holistic treatment that covers the whole infant’s developmental spectrum
- The family therapy system that deals thoroughly with anxieties and other characteristics
- The well-trained and dedicated therapists who are involved in this process
Based on 28 years of the Mifne experience I believe that this model of intensive family therapy enables all family members to enjoy significant improvement in their lives with an approach that could be implemented with infants on the autism spectrum in countries all over the world. This approach may enhance the families’ well-being and daily coping while significantly improving their children’s ability to thrive and fully function in their communities.
Dr. Hanna Alonim