Water Planet’s Dolphin Therapy programs
There are many similarities between the types of programs offered and the diagnosis of the participants in our two programs, but the main difference is what type of goal the participant is looking to achieve through participation in our programs.
Option # 1
DOLPHIN THERAPY – THE HARMONY PROGRAM
The emotional impact of a dolphin encounter in his own environment combined with expressive art, massage, cranio-sacral therapy and music can be a beneficial experience for emotionally challenged and fragile children.
We find that our “Harmony” program can help a wide variety of children: most spectra of autism, manic depression, Rett Syndrome, Tourette’s Syndrome, ADHD, Down, hyperactivity.
We can also help children with more general mental and emotional disorders or difficulties in social adaptation and even children with terminal illnesses (cystic fibrosis, cancer, leukemia)
Option # 2
DOLPHIN THERAPY – THE SERENITY PROGRAM
Introducing special needs children to dolphins in their natural environment.
Aquatic bodyworks, physical and occupational therapy with expressive arts used as therapeutic aids.
This program caters to children with serious developmental delays, physical and motor disabilities like Cerebral Palsy, Head and Spinal Cord Injury, Mitocondrial Disorder. Spina Bifida, Muscular Dystrophy, Angelman’s Syndrome and other disabilities, which require body work and specialized interventions.
The specific therapeutic regimes are established by the children’s therapists and applied by specialists in PT, OT, MT with some new techniques like cranio sacral therapy, WATSU and energy work. These activities, combined with the expressive art and music workshops take place afternoons, after the dolphin encounter trips.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
There is a long history (about 50 years) of interaction between the local population of wild dolphins and humans in our area. Dolphins are inquisitive and social by nature and they do approach boats and swimmers on a regular basis. In addition, they share the same locations as boaters and swimmers (Shell Island and the Bay of St. Andrews). Consequently, even though we cannot control their behavior, our success rate for encounters is about 99%. In a spirit of fairness for the animals and for ethical reasons, we do not approve of programs that use trained captive animals. Before you consider using a dolphin assisted therapy program in a contained environment, you might want to ponder on the following: improving the quality of life of our children should not be an excuse to harm wild animals. Every single marine mammal scientist will tell you that holding dolphins in captivity is harmful to them and disrupts their whole life, deprives them of their organic social structure and limits their biological functions.
Testimonies of parents, who have brought their children to Water Planet for Harmony or Serenity.
Read articles about the effects of dolphins on children with disabilities.
Water Planet’s Therapy with Wild Dolphins by Denis Richard
Our Approach by DeAnna Bay, M.Ed., CCLS, CTRS
Job Opportunity – Water Planet is Hiring a Therapeutic Programs and Interns Coordinator. Click for more details.