The animals are exceptional playmates for children and their unshakable friends. The relationship between children and animals has been studied closely by specialists for many years in a row.
They have succeeded in demonstrating that animals can be used for therapeutic purposes to help children with special needs, autistic, ADHD or Down syndrome, but also those who have experienced severe emotional trauma or suffer from other conditions.
Find out more about how zoototherapy or animal assisted therapy contributes to the healing of sick children.
zootherapy It is an unconventional method of treatment in which animals are used to heal human diseases. According to experts in animal therapy, the relationship between humans and animals has essential beneficial effects on the physical and emotional health of humans, especially in children.
What animals are used in animal therapy?
The animals used in therapy are specially trained for this purpose. Not every type of animal can be used in animal therapy. According to experts, dog is the animal that most helps children overcome obstacles and difficulties in their physical and mental development. It is also the easiest pet to train and that establishes the closest relationship with children. He is sensitive, obedient and "empathizes" with the emotions of the little ones. It is the animal that has the merit of provoking the most positive affective reactions in children.
But not only dogs are used in animal-assisted therapy. And horses, donkeys, cats or dolphins they can establish strong emotional relationships with the little ones and can help them overcome the problems they are facing more easily.
How are children assisted by animal-assisted therapy?
In addition to being the companions or "friends" of the children's trust and helping them learn what responsibility, friendship or empathy is, animals have a major therapeutic effect, especially for children with special needs or difficulties.
Zootherapy is most often used to improve the quality of life of children suffering from mental and behavioral disorders and disorders or from developmental disabilities or delays:
- Down syndrome;
- learning difficulties;
- behavioral problems etc.
Zoototherapy helps children with disabilities interact more easily with others and make progress in the therapeutic process through the established relationship with animals. But not only sick children can benefit from the activities of zoototherapy.
It seems that the activities provided under the programs of assisted animal therapy contribute to the relaxation of the little ones, to the increase of the confidence in their own strengths and to a harmonious physical development. Activities with dolphins or horses develop the muscles of children, teach them to have a correct posture and even to swim.
And children who have experienced severe emotional trauma can be helped with animal-assisted therapy. This category includes children who are emotionally, physically or sexually abused, orphans, who have suffered various serious accidents, etc. They can be helped to overcome traumas more easily with the help of animal activities.
The benefits that children derive from the relationship with the animal are many, but only under the guidance and supervision of an instructor specialized in this profession. Unfortunately, in Romania, zoototherapy is not a very well developed field. It is not a scientifically recognized science. It is based only on international studies, experiments and amazing statistics, which prove that the relationship between children and animals has multiple benefits on the health of the little ones.
What do you think about zoototherapy? Would you take your child to animal therapy sessions? What other things do you think children learn from their relationship with animals? Tell us your opinions and suggestions in the comments section below!