Sunday, 24 June 2012
Animal therapy is a proved technique for helping children with special needs
AAT, or Animal Assisted Therapy is a method of helping children with learning disabilities and behavioural problems. In some cases, animals have been known to sense a child's needs and become a calming influence on the child.
Research from the US by Kathy Heinlich found that therapists working with children who were disabled would often find they received better results from their children when an animal was present. The most used animals for this process are dogs, horses and donkeys, with horse riding becoming the most popular therapy for special needs children. Riding schools have been known to help develop balance and co-ordination skills as well as language development. Dolphins are also used for this purpose in warmer countries.
Animals can be very relaxing for many people, I know my daughter loves the company of animals. It has been suggested that interaction with animals can reduce blood pressure as animals relax us.
"Frieson (2010) conducted a study with children and therapy dogs in a class room setting and found that the animals provide a social and emotional support system for the child, with assumptions that because the animal seems non-judgemental to the child, it is perceived as comforting" (wikipedia)
It is a fantastic way for any child to feel calm and relaxed, building a bond with an animal. I think these relationships can be very touching to observe.
You can read more about AAT at : http://www.equine-therapy-programs.com/special-needs-children.html