We have returned from Louis’ dolphin therapy in Antalya – and we are absolutely overwhelmed, fascinated, happy, content and thankful ! It was wonderful !
We arrived Saturday evening on 02.10.10, shortly before midnight, at our Hotel in Antalya. Our aircraft had a technical failure and we were delayed for a few hours before we could take off. As a former Stewardess we were naturally not especially flustered but Louis also remained calm and and weathered the long journey very well.
Sunday morning we received our first visit from a therapist from the dolphin park with the invitation to a Reception and Meeting in the afternoon. At 14:00 hours we were greeted by a very friendly complete therapy team.
2 Physiotherapists, a Social educationist for the dolphin therapy, a further Physiotherapist who exclusively supported the dolphin therapy, a trainee and the Manageress of the Therapy Center were present. We answered questions for over an hour, about Louis’ history, therapies and developments he has had, his special skills, his preferences, his dislikes, our wishes and ideas, our expectations, and everything else to which we should be alert. Nothing was left out and we left the Meeting with good feelings and very excited about the forthcoming day.
As Louis falls asleep late but sleeps long, we asked at the very beginning if we could start therapies later in the day. This was of course duly noted and was 100% upheld. We had dolphin therapy daily at 12:00 and the alternative therapies, like normal Physiotherapy, Cranio-sacral therapy or Hippo therapy, alternating, each according to requirements and wishes, at 4pm. These parameters were ideal for our son and for us, so that Louis could sleep-in every day, breakfast in peace and start his therapies in a good mood.
It was perfect! Even though the therapies naturally had a set time, we were welcome to visit the Dolphin Center at any time during the day. We had enough time to comfortably change our son on the loungers provided, to shower after the therapy and to have one or two pleasant conversations with the therapists. Between each child the dolphins always had enough break to recuperate and play. The whole time the atmosphere was very relaxed and therefore very beneficial to all. During dolphin therapy the whole family was allowed to be present. Our 9 year old daughter Aliena was each time involved in the therapy as much as she wished. She was not always the `second child in the background´ as she was also given challenging tasks which gave her the feeling to be playing an important role. We were especially glad about that as, even as one exerts oneself and tries one’s best, one always has a bad conscience about the other healthy child. Here we could also forget that for a few moments and watch two happy children together.
To describe what exactly happens during a dolphin therapy session I have created a little snap-shot book. Here, of course, I have chosen the nicest and most moving pictures, but the choice was difficult as all 240 photos we took are similarly nice and moving. The whole time Louis spent with Daisy the dolphin he was happy, content, laughing and beaming. The course of therapy sessions was basically the same each day. The first 10-15 minutes Louis sat on the platform with Fleur and was greeted by Daisy with wet clapping of her flippers. Louis was given the task of stroking Daisy, to hold her snout, to press his foot against her snout and to throw a ball or ring into the water for Daisy and to take it back from her. He slapped Daisy’s tail and sang Aramsamsam. Louis liked this most of all of his platform tasks and he sang very loudly, as he can pronounce Aaah especially well! As Louis is not afraid of water he was always quick to enter the water where he danced with Daisy, placed his legs over her back, tickled her tummy, and finally always let himself and Fleur be pushed or pulled like a Taxi through the water. Louis appeared to quickly learn which task was next, because when it came to his favourite tasks, the tickling and the Taxi, he was already heartily laughing and beaming beforehand. Our visit to the dolphin center in Antalya was altogether a great success. Louis was extremely alert and attentive during all therapy sessions. Louis didn’t just let himself be ‚pushed around’, he evidently tried to do his best to take active part. Of the alternative therapies Cranio-sacral therapy played a big part in Louis becoming more supple and relaxed in his joints. For the first time at night he slept with his arms beside his head. As we are close to our son the whole time it is difficult to say exactly what has changed in him. This added to the excitement to reactions of our family, friends, classes, therapists, etc
Naturally Louis has not overnight become a new and completely different child, that would be terrible, but the resonance is very encouraging. Louis appears to be much more supple in contrast to his severe spastic cramped muscles. When lying on his back his arms often move to over his head, especially when he sees something that interests him. He is definitely more alert, more attentive and sometimes follows moving things with his eyes that are not directly before him. He is evidently easier to speak to and appears to understand basic language. This presents very welcome perspectives for us and we hope to consolidate further developments. We have already booked for October next year and are looking forward to new little surprises of development that Louis has in store for us.