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Animal assisted therapy finds more takers in Indian cities

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawake. This famous quote is very true. Interacting and spending time with animals calms our soul. That is why animal assistive therapy is now the in-thing for children with different kinds of disabilities. Animal assistive therapy is an alternative type of therapy that involves an animal as a form of treatment. It helps to improve the person's social, emotional and cognitive functioning.

Experts have pointed out that a child with autism or cerebral palsy show quick results when they interact and spend more time with animals like dogs and horses. Animals are non-judgmental and innocent. Hence, spending time with them boosts the confidence and self-esteem of disabled children.

This therapy is now gaining popularity in India. Parents who live in cities are introducing their children to this therapy. Of course, they get good results too.

Subhadra Cherukuri is certified animal assisted therapy practitioner. She is also the founder of 'The Paws and Hooves Project' from Wag-ville. They recently conducted an animal assistive therapy workshop in Bengaluru.

Animal assistive therapy is popular in western countries for over four decades. But it is new to India, and even now many people refuse to accept this form of therapy. Children with developmental disorders like autism and cerebral palsy are the ones who benefit the most from this therapy. Most of the times, people tend to think that having a pet at home is animal therapy. It is not. That is just a comfort animal for your child. Basically, animal assistive therapy is physiotherapy involving an animal. There are trained therapy dogs and horses who reach out to children who need them- Subhadra Cherukuri

Companionship is always important to human beings. After all, we were made for it and depend on it for our well-being. Disabled children love it. That is when animals can lend a helping hand. Studies have proved that assisted animal therapy helps to reduce the blood pressure levels, lowers stress and anxiety, increases emotional awareness, reduces aggression and loneliness, increases trust and improves immune system to name a few.

"We all know that pets are always great with children. I have seen many disabled kids who have benefitted from animal assisted therapy, especially kids with autism. Unlike humans, animals accept an individual for what they are. There are no unwanted judgments either. Children are also able to express better with animals", says Seema Lal, Special Educator.

If you have a child with a disability or know one, try and introduce them to animal assisive therapy for some great results.

ALSO READ: The Serrendip aims to create affordable, accessible ways to enable inclusion of people with autism

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