So, it is now time for the Report of our third Dolphin Therapy, from 09.09 – 23.09.2011, in the ONMEGA Dolphin Therapy Center in Antalya, Turkey!
After the very, very good experiences we had in the Dolphin Therapy Center in 2008 and 2009, we were certain that we would return. In December our bookings were made and we were already looking forward……
On 09.09.2011 at long last the time had come, the aircraft flew us south, to the dolphins !!
As Leon had his therapy bicycle with him this time, we had booked a special Transfer through the Therapy Center, which worked very well. After a short wait we drove from the airport in Dalaman straight to the Club Turban Hotel in Antalya. We were so pleased with the Hotel last time we decided to stay there again. Everything there is suitable for children and the disabled, and the staff is really kind.
The weather was, apart from 2 rainy afternoons, super; sunshine and a temperature of 40°C, not so hot as in July. Just right for us after the bad Summer we had at home.
After 2 days relaxing on the beach, on Monday we started Leon’s therapy program. We had met Barbara on the platform the day before….. Leon recognized Barbara straight away, we were all happy and the atmosphere was warm and friendly as it had been in previous years. As if we had never left.
The Dolphin Therapy center is bigger than before. There is now a third platform in the sea, so that the now 5 dolphins have more room and the therapy sessions are not disturbed by tourists who come by to see the dolphins. Naturally all the dolphins we knew were still there: Frosia, Daisy, Splash, Flip and Jonas, the ‘new one’.
Barbara introduced to us the therapists and trainees responsible for Leon: Sema undertook the Cranio Sacral therapy, Julia and Beata were responsible for Physiotherapy, and riding was again at the Dortnal Ranch with Salih and Felice, Lisa was the trainee responsible for us and Barbara undertook the dolphin therapy together with Daisy and Flip, and the dolphin trainers Tashii and Cynthia.
Together with Barbara the course of developments were analyzed and the aims of the therapy were determined. Leon had developed further since our last stay in 2009: amongst the most important aims were the improvement of balance, strengthening of muscles, especially the rump musculature, improvement of posture and stabilization when standing, calming by unrestful behavior, concentration encouragement, improvement of co-ordination and communication and the setting and acceptance of rules.
Leon was immediately at home with the therapists, trainers, trainees and naturally the dolphins. Every day he was looking forward to riding his therapy bicycle to the Therapy Center from the Hotel and was very excited.
Leon, as always, was not afraid to touch the dolphins, neither with Daisy nor with the bigger Flip. He understood and completed all the tasks given to him by Barbara, even if he sometimes tried to do them his own way, as if to test the limits to which he could go, which he tried with everyone with much charm. However he also accepted the limits laid down for him. To calm himself down he could stroke the dolphin and cuddle with Barbara – the so-called ‘Barbara therapy’. Leon is a brave and inquisitive child and was not afraid to open Flip’s mouth to see his tongue and teeth and to feed him fish. Best of all Leon liked to ride the surf board with Barbara and Flip through the water and sing and dance with Flip, Barbara and Lisa. There was lots of action. Whether on the platform or in the water, Leon had a lot of fun at Dolphin Therapy. It made us unbelievably happy to watch him. These moments were simply indescribable.
We parents were also allowed to swim with Flip, it has an unbelievable effect, so calming and relaxing. One day Leon’s Dad, whilst out of sorts, entered the water, and after swimming with Flip he was completely changed….. he was in a great mood and never felt better….. how Flip managed that, simply unbelievable, but true !!
Leon had 3 sessions of Cranio Sacral therapy with Sema. Not an easy task to calm down such an active little man like Leon with his palpitations. Sema was super, though, and managed to calm and relax Leon for short periods so that through his touch Sema could detect blockade points and treat them.
At Physiotherapy the foremost points were balance training, strengthening of muscles and rump stability, and posture. Julia and Beata worked with the large suspension system. Leon was strapped into it, which had several elastic straps suspended from the ceiling on a mobile mechanism. Leon could move freely and jump. He especially enjoyed jumping and he would have preferred to jump all the time, but he also had to work. eg. surmount certain obstacles or use a running strip with weights. So there was a little discussion between Leon and the therapists, as here also he tried to get his own way, he was quite emphatic. But Julia and Beata understood perfectly how to deal with this and set Leon certain limits.- Leon learned to improve his co-ordination and used this when walking on his own. It was super to see how his walking improved from day to day and how Leon became more courageous and sure of himself. The best moment for us was, only after a few days, one morning in the Hotel room, he climbed out of his bed and ran over to us in our room.
A few times we also went to Salih and Felice for Hippo Therapy on their ranch. Leon goes to riding school regularly the past 3 years and therefore is brave and confident on a horse and of course is not afraid. Salih had again thought out great training for Leon on Prince, and both had a lot of fun together. Leon liked most of all to ride in the country side, there were so many interesting things to see.
Lisa was the trainee responsible for us and she was super and managed everything there was to manage. One evening she looked after Leon so that us parents could go to visit a Hamam for a relaxing massage.
Free time was spent on the beach and in the sea, a couple of shopping trips to Antalya and Icmeler and sailing out with the diving boat for diving. In the evening it was ‘Showtime’ and after dinner Leon couldn’t wait for the start of the mini Disco. He rocked with the other children and naturally was smiling at the lady hostess. Leon is turning into a proper Casanova !!
This time it was again 2 unforgettable, wonderful weeks in Antalya and especially the Therapy Center !
Unfortunately, as always, the time passed too quickly and we really didn’t want to return home !!
But we’ll be back, definitely, and next time we shall hang on another week’s holiday at the end !
Once more a very big Thaaank yooouuu !!! to the whole team at the Therapy Center, especially Barbara, Lisa, Cynthia, Sema, Julia and Beata, Salih and Felice, and naturally Flip and Daisy, the angels of the seas.
Keep up the good work, stay as you are, and we shall be looking forward to seeing you next time !
5 Months after the therapy there have been further developments. Leon has become so confident ! He not only eats with his fingers, but also with a spoon, when dressing and undressing he tries to do so many things on his own, more and more he tries to communicate with speech, he sings (copying the word melodies) he dances and participates in movements and dance games. eg. Aramsamsam. He helps laying the table and clearing up and also with the cleaning. Leon’s concentration has improved and he can understand more. He can distinguish between different colors, plays the memory game in a simplified form, his co-ordination has also improved, he draws, enjoys handicraft, builds towers….. his whole behavior when playing has changed, he is more communicative with other children and integrates himself in games. And best of all his walking is so much better, he can walk a lot further on his own, and is more and more steady. He can get up on his own (without pulling himself up on something) and can stand longer and more steady on his own.!!
We are really glad and proud of the great development improvements Leon has made to date, due not only to his regular therapy program and attendance in play school but also in very large part to the third dolphin therapy.
When we were choosing the photos for the Therapy Report, Leon discovered one of Barbara, he remembered her immediately and shouted ‘Brabraba’ !!
Best wishes from Christine Kolodjezak and Leon Paul from Berlin.
If you have questions concerning dolphin therapy please write us for further contact details of this family.