It’s lovely to hear how much our donkey assisted therapy sessions in Belfast, Birmingham, Ivybridge, Leeds, Manchester and Sidmouth affect the lives of children with additional needs and their families as well as helps show the work the centres are doing on a daily basis. We recently received this wonderful feedback from Mandy Wedgewood who visited us here in Sidmouth with her son Izak for the first time.
My little boy had his first dose of donkey therapy and I have been trying to write something for a while but keep turning into wee-bit-tearful mummy.
My son Izak is 5 years old and he has Asperger's which means that he can do complicated maths and read Harry Potter but he doesn't understand how people work.
Izak doesn't play with other children, only alongside them. We have to explain feelings and how to do normal things. He thinks very literally - if he is hot he takes his clothes off wherever he is! So you could be looking for a small naked boy on a donkey!
Not much we do in our family is normal and a great deal of it is distressing and hard work. But Izak can ride a donkey. He can stroke Jack and let him know that he is a friend.
Donkey teachers have infinite patience, it isn't a big deal at all if it takes 20 minutes to put your riding hat on.
Donkeys will give an infinite amount of love and do not mind if the love that they get back is clumsy.
To those of you who support the work of The Donkey Sanctuary in whatever way, thank you for making my family smile. And most importantly making a small boy and his donkey team achieve the impossible, shared moments of love and care.
Every year we deliver more than 46,000 donkey assisted therapy sessions at our six centres. This unique and effective form of assisted therapy helps improve confidence, self-esteem, major and minor motor skills, core balance and gives children a real sense of achievement.