Written by : Christine Kolodjezak
Report of Leon Paul Kolodjezak’s dolphin therapy from 12.07.-26.07.08
Your dolphin therapy center is very nice, you are a great team, very nice and competent.
We have never been in turkey, but Antalya is a beautiful place. The city itself has a lot of tourism, hotel next to hotel. We were very happy with our hotel Grand Yacizi Mares. The food was great, location was not in the city center, but directly on the sea-front.
All great things to start a dolphin therapy!
We were nervous to see how Leon would handle the flight, but he flew as if he had never been doing anything else!
The first day we did not have therapy so we had time to get there in peace and discover everything. The next day we then had an introductory talk with the therapists. We were told what would be going on, went through Leon’s diagnosis and his development and the therapists got to know him and got their first impressions!
On Monday we began with the therapy: at 9am physiotherapy (I was treated with Cranio Sacral) and dolphin therapy in the afternoon. Physiotherapy was great, Leon was very relaxed so that Birgit could work very well with him. She found several tensions in his neck and his mouth. He has difficulty speaking due to these tensions, because he cannot pronounce certain words. He also has trouble bending and lifting his legs up. These things were treated by Birgit and were her primary focus in therapy.
The first dolphin therapy was different to what we expected, Leon let us put him in a wetsuit with no problems and he went onto the platform with Veronika, then “Frosia” showed herself and he started crying. Frosia was very big!!
We did not know Leon could show fear, it was a new experience for all of us!
After about 15min he had calmed down and was touching the dolphin with Veronika and even was allowed to enter the water the the last few minutes! Veronika was happy and said it was normal for children to react that way during the first contact!
The next day it was all different, Leon only cried when going into the water, 25° are a bit cool even with a wetsuit!!!
First it was about Leon getting in touch with the dolphin on the platform. He was allowed to pet Frosia, but only did it with the therapist as he was still a little scared. Then he felt the dolphin with his feet and watched her play with rings and balls. He took the rings from her nose and threw them for Frosia to retrieve..the second half of the therapy he went into the water to get in touch. Leon looked like a little Michelin man in his life jacket. He was also pushed through the water with Veronika by Frosia. He was allowed to hold onto her fin and be pulled around! Each day Leon had more fun, on the third day he even called her when he got to the platform. Slowly, he touched more by himself, he loved “washing” her belly or back and played with her fins. Frosia was great and let everything happen and stayed so calm throughout everything. Dean, the dolphin trainer was also always present. Veronika tried different positions with Leon so that sometimes he would play with Frosia on his knees or crawling. She made him support himself more and more while using Frosia to lean on for stability. We were allowed to be present at every dolphin therapy and loved how much Leon was enjoying it and perceiving Frosia. First his attention was really great on the platform, watching Frosia, where she was and where she was swimming. In the water he saw Frosia when she was right in front of him and he took more and more interest in her. On some days Leon was very quiet while touching Frosia and on other days he was hyperactive and wanted to play and be a dolphin trainer and got to help Dean!
We parents also got to touch her and swim with her, which was a great experience! Everyone was involved in the therapy.
The other therapies also went well, Birigt showed mom and dad a few things for home, holding techiniques, positions to develop his posture, mouth stimulations…we accompanied Leon 3 times to Hippo therapy and Leon loved the big horses and was not afraid of them. Sali who was on the horse with Leon did a great job, Leon loved the singing! We were very happy with the whole therapy program and the entire team!
Big miracles cannot be expected in 2 weeks, but we can already see little things for example..Leon put rings on the pyramids while riding (he never did this before, only took things off). Feli said it looked like he had been doing it for a long time because he was so focused. His arm support is a lot better, he stay on his stomach a lot longer and supports himself a lot better. He still need mom’s help and she puts a leg under his chest and he can then sit up from this position. He is also improving all the time in changing position from laying on his side to sitting up!!! He sits very well, supports himseld and holds his balance very well!
We are very happy with the whole therapy and what we have seen so far, and that is a lot and Leon is benefitting from the therapy for a long time, but he still has to process a lot of impressions!
Our physical therapist at home was thrilled to see Leon’s improvements in supporting himself and everyone was also surprised that his attention is much better and he can concentrate on one thing and does not want to do something else after just 5 minutes!
He also has more coordination with his movements and is not so „rough“and uneasy. He is also gentle and also pets us sometimes! We will come back to do dolphin therapy with you in the next 1-2 years as we loved it!
So as we have said, we were very happy with everything and are waiting to see if Leon will improve more and he has a great basis for his classical therapies! It was a shame that the two weeks went by so quickly, we couldn’t do any big trips within the area as we had therapy in the mornings and afternoons. So we just were at the beach and the places nearby, but we had a lot of time to relax and we had aloooot of time for Leon, 14 days, 24hours a day, we had a lot of fun together!!!
Saturdays we had off so we went on a diving boat and Matthias could go diving a few times and the last day we went to the Turkish bath!
Continue the way you are and we hope to see you again!!!
Many greetings from Matthias, Christine and Leon Paul!!!
For dolphin therapy related questions you can contact this family via email: