One Way Farm has developed a very unique therapy program for our children. We have incorporated animals into our counseling/therapy program. Just a few years ago this was only a dream, but thanks to many people, including the Greater Cincinnati Homebuilders Association for donating the barn, it has become a reality.
Children who have suffered abuse and neglect are often afraid to touch. Their trust is of great issue. Through the Animal Therapy Program, they can begin to trust and touch again.
This program has many types of animals, including, but not limited to, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and fish.
Goals of the program are to:
- Provide Animal Education Therapy interactions with the children.
- Serve the Animal Education Therapy needs of children at One Way Farm Children's Home and other children at risk.
- Help educate a generation of youth in the care and management of animals and the benefits of giving and receiving the love of animals.
In a letter from Dr. William McClymonds, D.V.M.,
"As a veterinarian I am constantly exposed to pets and the interactions of the children who care for and about them. Pets seem to have a way of comforting children who are distressed for any reason. I believe a pet therapy barn would be a great addition to the facilities of One Way Farm. I strongly encourage the consideration of pet facilitated therapy for the children of One Way Farm."
Children need the therapeutic advantage, which animals can give, helping in their recovery. Children also need to understand the value of touch and trust in such a program. Children who have been neglected, are troubled and abused, often do not have a high level of trust. Animals offer unconditional love, which is key to the program's success.
The children do not always understand what "good touch" means. Most of them have experienced touch in an unhealthy manner or no touch at all. This situation may cause a child to become depressed and cause the development of attachment difficulties.
An educational program, such as Animal Education Therapy, can help prepare them for the basics to become more aware of the facts that humans and the animal kingdom must both survive for the continuation of a healthy planet.
The objective of this program is to assist in the healing process and allow children to experience good, healthy touching. It increases a child's knowledge and understanding of self-esteem. This will also teach the children a great deal about the animal kingdom and build their relationship with them.
The children can understand the vital link between animals and children to begin a healing process. The selection of the animals is veterinarian-approved and all proper medical needs are met (shots, examinations, etc). The animals are matched with the abilities of the children that are selected to participate in the program.