Introducing children with special educational needs to our animals is really rewarding. It’s a very positive experience, partly because being around animals can help to calm children, reduce stress and relieve anxiety. Animals are amazingly beneficial to our wellbeing. Children with additional needs often have a fanastic reaction to our furry, scaly and creepy crawly friends. We love seeing the look of sheer delight on their faces when they experience handling the animals. Of course, we always strictly supervise and assist SEN children with the handling, but staff and carers are often very surprised by how gentle their children are, when they are not always so in other situations! Many of the children seem to possess a natural instinct to take care of the animals and show a huge interest in them.
Lynn, our animal handling presenter in Northamptonshire, visits a SEN school once a month. The school like to hold regular handling workshops because they see the impact it has on the children’s wellbeing. Lynn takes a range of small mammals, reptiles and giant creepy crawlies to each session. The children love it! Feeling the soft fur and hearing the gentle squeak of a guinea pig is a favourite for some. Others prefer touching the smooth, slippery skin of the snake as they watch it flick it’s tongue out to taste the air. Or how about watching a millipede crawl along a hand to feel its sticky, tickly feet? It’s an amazingly tactile experience and can help foster an interest in animals which is especially important for children who don’t have any pets at home.
It’s not just for children either. Our pet therapy sessions for adults with SEN go down a treat at day centres, support groups and care homes. Rachael, our North Lincolnshire presenter, will be attending an event for young people with SEN in Grimsby at February half term. The event is to help the young people prepare for adulthood. The animals have been invited to help promote the need to look after wellbeing and mental health.
Our animal handling workshops are tailored to your situation; we will work in your school or care setting, introducing groups of special educational needs children or adults to our animals. Or we can visit your mainstream school and introduce your SEN/ALN children to the animals along with the whole class. If you want to see more about the benefits animals can bring your children, Teachwire has a great article on their website.
Visit our Book Now page to book or get in touch with your local presenter to discuss your needs.
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