Monday, July 18, 2011

Forget calling Doc Dolphin

Chris Woolson, LA Times, July 18, 2011, says “dolphin-assisted therapy” is a new moneymaker for some people.

Parents with autistic kids, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and other disorders pay a ton so the kids can swim with the supposedly healing mammals.

Island Dolphin Care in Key Largo, FL, was cited as one such place. Besides the six dolphins, there are social workers, speech therapists and others. Five days at $2200 includes 20 mins of dolphin swimming a day.

The claims are that the animals’ ultrasound can kill tumors and stimulate brains.

This Florida place does not actually say that but does emphasize kids and kids with terminal illnesses. In fact, one spokesperson said it was wrong to provide false hope.

Another person at a different facility said dolphins synchronize the right and left sides of the brain. Would you even WANT that?

Swimming with the beasts may be fun and memorable for kids and increase their view of the world and self-esteem.

I have heard, though, that these animals can get a little carried away and be dangerously “frisky.”

This could be more “fun” than some people can handle.

I do believe stories that dolphins have lifted people to the surface-probably because they had nothing else to do and it seemed like a good idea at the time. I don’t believe they are aquatic angels or physicians.

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