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Sofie van der Eerden- My internship in Antalya, Turkey

My internship in Antalya, Turkey 1st-31st of May 2009

 

From the 1st till the 31st of May I had my internship at Soulscience School for dolphin therapy in Antalya, Turkey. I’m a nurse student and I did this internship because I wanted to know more about children with disabilities. I also knew that it would become a great experience for me to do and now I know that’s true.

 

During my internship I worked with a lot of different children from the age of 3 till 15.  

I thought there would only be children with autism and physical and mentally disabilities but I was surprised. They started a project in 2008 which makes it possible for 15 children from Luxemburg to do Dolphin therapy each year. These children cannot live by there parents because of sexual, mental or physical abuse. It’s not easy for them to talk about it and talking about their feelings. Every child has a different reaction on the dolphins but it’s good for them to do it. At that moment there were 3 children in the age of 6, 8 and 15. The boy (6) and the girl (8) were syllables. At the end of the therapy of 10 days they were more open to us.

 

I worked with a 9 year old boy who was there for only one day. He came from Holland. He came because he was stuttering and he had difficulties with speaking. The reason he came was because of an experience on Curacao. The family came to the therapy with the boy to let him swim with the dolphins. After half an hour in the water the boy wasn’t stuttering that much anymore. It was a strange experience but it gives you a good feeling that you can really help people.

 

After that, I got the possibility to work 7 days with a 10 year old boy from Holland with autism and hyperactivity. In the beginning I couldn’t recognize the autism but after a conversation with his mother it becomes clearer for me. After he came out of the water he was always enjoying the sun he said, but it was his way to take time for himself to process his experiences. After a couple of days the boy was more open to his mother and sister.

 

There was also a 5 year old boy from Germany and later a 3 year old girl from Slovakia. Both of them had down syndrome. It was not always easy to communicate with the children because we couldn’t speak the same language, only a few words. Typical for the 2 children with down was that their parents are the most important persons in their lives. It was really difficult for those 2 children to not have their parents close by. After the 10 days of therapy the boy also wanted to play with us without mother and the girl liked to give hugs to us. It was really touching to me and the parents were also very happy with the results.

 

What did I learn?

I never had any doubts about the results of the dolphin therapy and that it really works. But I was surprised how much it can do with a child. I now know that the therapy still works till one year after. Every child is different and reacts a different way to the therapy but all of them had progress. I respect the parents very much because of their unconditional love for their children. I don’t think it’s always easy to have a child with disabilities but they all know how to handle with it.

 

I also noticed that this internship has worked for me. Before, I was more concerned about little and not important things. I have now more rest in my mind.


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