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Is Dolphin Assisted Therapy Beneficial For Special Needs Children? Essay

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Is Dolphin Assisted Therapy Beneficial for Special Needs Children?
Dayanara Roman
Keiser University
ENC 43131G

Abstract
For over two decades Dolphin Assisted Therapy or DAT has been used as a type of sensory therapy used with children and adults diagnosed with either physical or neurological disorders. Through out this time dolphin assisted therapy has been used to assist children with a varying type of disability. Children with autism, Down’s syndrome, developmental delay, ADHD, depression, and muscular paralysis, may all benefit from dolphin assisted therapy. Some of the benefits of dolphin assisted therapy that have been recorded with these children include an increase in attention span and display of positive emotions, a calmer demeanor, better communication skills, higher self-esteem, confidence, improved coordination and motor skills, increased social connections such as smiling and touching as well as a more responsive immune system. For the purposes of this paper we will focus primarily on children, not adults, with special needs and will answer the hypothesis “Is dolphin assisted therapy beneficial for special needs children?”

History of DAT
In 1971, an educational anthropologist from Florida International University named Betsy Smith, was the first person to conduct research in the Florida Keys involving dolphins and children with neurological impairments. While placing her mentally challenged brother Wade into the
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