DOLPHIN ASSISTED THERAPY: INNOVATIVE LEARNING FOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES

Brigita Kreivinienė, Juha Perttula

Abstract


In this article the dolphin assisted therapy is presented as an innovative method of learning for children with disabilities. The historical overview of dolphin assisted therapy is introduced. Currently it has received the legal recognition in Lithuania and expanded to family-centered programs. Newly developed dolphin assisted therapy program can be integrated into the education process of the child with disabilities as well as the whole family system. The aim of this article, then, is to focus on the dolphin assisted therapy as the classic form of animal assisted therapy, and to analyse how the dolphin assisted therapy has gained its current status as an innovative learning method for children with disabilities and their family members in Lithuanian society.

Research methods. Qualitative research was conducted with content analysis. Ten families raising children with cerebral palsy participated in the research. The research results brought to the light that educational sphere supports families’ wishes to visit dolphin assisted therapy, educators highlight the experiental aspect of the whole family. The research results are important for constructing the collaborative joints of educational sphere and dolphin assisted therapy.

KEYWORDS: learning with animals, dolphin assisted therapy, children with disabilities.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15181/atee.v1i0.666


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