NEWS: Animal-assisted therapy 
first for region

04 March 2019

Local disability support charity Sunshine Butterflies is now offering Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) sessions with a qualified therapist, for people living with a disability at their base in Cooroibah.

A first for disability services in the region, the one-on-one therapy offers tailored therapy sessions with their friendly farm animals, conducted by qualified Animal-Assisted Therapist Madeleine Flynn, who has a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy, Masters in Environmental Science (Animal Behaviour/Ecology), plus a Certificate 3 in Dog Training/Behaviour.

She will be assisted by equine specialist Sally Clay, who is a qualified carer with a Certificate III in Community Care, Parelli Natural Horsemanship Level 1 & 2 qualifications, plus a Certificate in Agriculture and Dairy.

People with a disability often respond to animals, in ways they find difficult with people. Animal-Assisted Therapy is a great way to deliver therapy for those that find it difficult to open up to people. The benefits are endless and the results, often, outstanding.

Many people find it easier to form a relationship with an animal, developing empathy and a rapport with the animal very quickly. This tendency to bond with an animal is the basis of Animal-Assisted Therapy.

Cuddling a duckling, collecting eggs, feeding the ducks, grooming a miniature cow or sheep, or walking a goat, it is a great way to deliver therapy. It relaxes the patient, allowing them to drop their inhibitions and open up more with the therapist.

Learning to care for animals can help to develop empathy and a sense of responsibility and caring among those may not have experienced that themselves.

In the case of equine-assisted therapy specifically, horses are very sensitive to human behaviour and respond to subtle changes in a person’s behaviour or mood. This feedback helps the person and the horse to work together to achieve their goals.

At Sunshine Butterflies, their menagerie of furry and feathered friends can help your child to heal under the guidance of a qualified therapist.

Human-animal contact, in a peaceful, natural environment, can have a profound effect on people. Sunshine Butterflies beautiful 5-acre peaceful oasis at Cooroibah provides the perfect environment to deliver these therapy services.

The one hourly sessions are available each weekday morning (except Wednesdays) from 9am to 1pm.

For more information, or to book a session, call 07 5470 2830. 


Written by

Kids on the Coast/Kids in the City
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