Dolphin Therapy – The Serenity Program
Children with Special Needs Swim with Dolphins in florida
We have designed a program where we introduce special-needs children and their families to wild dolphins as a motivating and bonding experience. The adventure of being face to face in the ocean with a large and wild air-breathing mammal is a powerful one that will not easily be forgotten and that many can live only in their dreams. The realization of this dream will often awaken some deep-seated emotions and cause important developmental shifts. Another aspect of our program is the sensory integration and the processing of the inner experience through various media like colors, shapes, textures, odors and sounds during the expressive art and music sessions.
Combined with aquatic bodywork, massage and Watsu (Water Shiatsu), the experience facilitates relaxation and the letting go of conflicts and hang-ups. The program also helps families enjoy themselves and forget the burden of their daily routine and the stigma imposed on them by our society.
Contrarily to other conventional Dolphin Assisted therapy facilities, we are implementing this program with free ranging dolphins because we do not believe in holding wild animals captive even for the benefit of children with special needs. We believe in the healing power of nature and of its environment. We also believe that therapy with dolphins or dolphin therapy is just another form of animal therapy. In other circumstances, therapists have also obtained excellent results with autistic children, ADHD, Down Syndrome and other disabilities using horses or even cats and dogs. The fact that dolphins have a very sophisticated communication system and social organization makes them all the more attractive to us humans.
In Panama City Beach, we have the incredible privilege to have a continuous relationship with a group of wild dolphins. This close contact has been going on for over 25 years. It is partly associated with hand feeding of these mammals by sports fishing boats and tourists. Dolphins are opportunistic feeders and they will take advantage of an easily earned source of extra food. Our organization is proud never to have fed them and we make a point of informing every participants to our programs of the dangers associated with feeding wild dolphins. It is illegal to do so since 1993.
We believe that the reason for this interaction is not limited to an interest in food but that it is also based on keen curiosity. The dolphins investigate us as much as we investigate them. They often interact with us through play. We have been getting in the water with them for ten years and have built a special relationship with some individuals, who approach us on a regular basis. We are using this opportunity to study them underwater and also to introduce to them some mentally, emotionally and physically impaired children. This experience of wild life and of the natural environment is a strong motivation for challenged children and their families We have noticed a significant improvement in communication skills with children who have participated in our program.
This program is made available to families thanks to a team of professionals: child development specialists, aquatic bodywork specialists, special education teachers, occupational therapists and physical therapists.
We are pleased to announce this year’s therapeutic dolphin swim program. This special “journey” is designed to provide an experience of therapy, fun, games, music, dolphin encounters, social time, and some RR to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Panama City Beach.
Water Planet will be conducting several specially coordinated sessions in the spring/summer of 2018.
We still have availability for the following sessions:
- June 17 through 20
- July 15 through 18
Contact us [email protected] for availability.
Click here to learn more about THE SERENITY PROGRAM FOR CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS