For people living with disability, animal therapy programs can help build life experience and skills.
Afford offers animal therapy sessions for clients at their Cherrywood Friendship Farm in Llandilo in partnership with Bushbred Horse Assisted Learning Programs, to enhance the life skills and experiences of clients with varied needs.
Clients of the Afford Chipping Norton Day Program regularly visit the Animal Therapy Program at Cherrywood and the benefits for clients have been astonishing!
John is a client of Chipping Norton Day Program who attends Animal Therapy on a weekly basis. He always seems to enjoy looking at the animals, but he has never been willing to touch any of the animals – even with the support and encouragement of Afford Lifestyle Assistants.
But recently something changed. During a usual sessions John actually patted one of the ponies! It was a huge milestone for John and both Afford staff and John’s peers from the Day Program are so proud that he challenged himself to take on a new life experience.
Everyone returned to the Day Program full of smiles and excitement after their time at Cherrywood Friendship Farm.
Research has found that interactions with animals does reduce blood pressure, stress and anxiety and increase social and communication skills, exercise and overall happiness.
Horse Assisted Learning Programs are a unique form of learning involving a team of horses together with learning specialists focusing on specific learning outcomes.
Participants of the Bushbred program have the opportunity to:
- Develop life skills through experiential and experimental interactions with horses
- Engage and manage their behaviour around horses
- Think of different ways to explore solutions for everyday life
The program covers topics such as grooming, and feeding horses and learning about the day-to-day care and raising of livestock.