About 2% of the children born develop some abnormality. These children find it difficult to socialize, as their abnormality prevents them from feeling equal to the other children.
It has been proven that the presence of a pet helps in minimizing and even erasing this social barrier. Ilockwood, 1983, Mescents 1984).
Here at the Cyprus Human-Animal Interaction Organization (CHAIO) we have developed programs that use this positive influence of pets to help children with special needs.
Our Program for Children with Special Needs:
By petting the animals the children relax and are more at ease with their environment. By taking them for walks they increase their concentration and improve their self-esteem (they are the leaders, directing the dog where they want to go). Bathing them teaches them about cleanliness, the anatomy of the animal and of themselves, and assists in their sex education.
The various stages of our program:
- Familiarization with the environment (dog: other animals)
- Walk (control of movement)
- Explaining how to communication with the animals
- Animal needs (water, food, rest), physical needs
- Simple commands (come, sit)
- Anatomy (animal external parts)
- Bathing the dog
- Crossing the road
- All help in:
- Improving concentration
- Initiative (leadership)
- Belonging to groups
- Part of society