Animals do have a sixth sense!

2023. 07. 14.

The project assists the development of children and young people who are chronically ill, or living with disabilities and creates an opportunity for animal-assisted therapy in the institution in Debrecen. 

Animals are more sensitive than people and detect more from reality than we would think. This also shows during the sessions conducted in the Immanuel Home in Debrecen: the ponies involved in the therapy allow the young people with disabilities, things that they might not otherwise, such as pulling their mane, or touching their hooves.

Science has long been looking into senses beyond taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing, that are meant to detect some kind of external, often elusive stimuli. For 95% of people this rather intuitive ability has regressed with time, or even disappeared, but animals still remain capable of this kind of higher-level sense. A good example of this is cats, that upon detecting an owner’s illness tend to position themselves close to the affected body part, but it is also worth observing the behaviour of dogs and horses that can forecast sudden weather changes through changes in their behaviour. The latter phenomenon was already observed by the ancient Greeks.

The Immanuel Home, the Primary School, the Developmental Education School and the Special Skills Development School of the Reformed Congregation of the Great Church of Debrecen use the skills of animals for the benefit of children and young people living with locomotor disabilities and sensory impairment and multiple disadvantages: with the help of animal-assisted therapies, students can develop both their movement and their self-awareness. Previously in such sessions, only dogs were involved, but the programme did not go smoothly as it was difficult to participate primarily for the physically challenged young people. In order to prevent this horses, rabbits and guinea pigs were brought to the forefront. As a result of a successful application under the Human Resource Development Operational Programme, there is an opportunity from time to time for the animals to be hosted by the Immanuel Home and School to help the young people in their development in a playful manner. This methodological development has worked out: the 74 students of the school are able to joyfully and willingly cooperate with the animals. Thanks to the sessions they learned about body parts, vegetables and fruit and they learned a lot about human nature and human attributes, values such as courage and empathy.

Watch the film on the project:

The development was implemented with project EFOP-3.1.6-16-2017-00001 under the Human Resource Development Operational Programme by involving EU funding.

For more information please click on the supported project finder: Details 



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