Atara’s Mom wrote us this article to show thanks to all those who helped make the therapy a reality and to help anyone else who needs Dolphin assisted therapy.
In April my family and I began the start of raising/getting together the money we’d need that would ultimately be what got us to go to Curaco to get the therapy we wanted Atara so much to experience. At the beginning, the amount felt incredibly overwhelming. From the beginning up until September 30th, we held fundraisers. Lots of extra donations came in during that time and we put together a lot of our own $ which I felt justified the 4 of us going. Dolphin Aid Canada gave us a significant portion of the money needed for the therapy and helped us along throughout the journey.
We just arrived home from the amazing dolphin assisted therapy that she received. Maybe it was sweeter because of all the hard work that went into making it happen.
The experience of it all was definitely life changing. Dolphin assisted therapy consists of more than just swimming with dolphins. There was the consistency of being with one dolphin for the 2 weeks, Atara swam and worked with a psychologist (Paul Van der Sterren) and a speech therapist . In conjuction with dolphin assisted therapy, the therapies learned, are repeated at home. What Atara took from her time with Bonnie (‘her dolphin’), I cannot put into words. People with special needs are known to have special relationships with dolphins. Basically Atara’s connection with Bonnie was something to see. Her therapist could only explain that he was at her side as a facilitator.
Paul was great to work with and REALLY knew his stuff. Jon and I picked up so many tips from him. One of Atara’s weaknesses is her speech. Having Neeltje as a speech therapist on our team, gave me the confidence that what they worked on was what she needs. I never felt that their time hunched over on the platform was just a time filler. I knew that every minute enhanced her life.
It is an expensive therapy, (not including the trip or accommodations). Dolphin Aid Canada helps the families with the cost of therapy and the facilitates the process from beginning to end along with our fundraising efforts and activities.
There is so much to tell, so if you’d like more information, please don’t hesitate to reach me at: