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AMADO - Animal Assisted Therapy

More about AMADO and the Assessment process

Amado children

Background on AMADO

The beneficiaries of the non-profit organization, AMADO, are 60 vulnerable children with no or little financial aid. AMADO provides equine assisted therapy, using horses to promote health and wellness to these physically and mentally disabled children in Paarl in the Western Cape. All the children are pupils of a special needs facility, Ligstraal School in Paarl.

The therapy programme consists of weekly sessions including both group and individual therapy. Progress made during the programme is assessed in conjunction with Ligstraal School’s occupational therapist, nurse and psychologist.

The aim of the programme is to use the animal assisted therapy to improve motor skills, emotional development and to promote self-confidence. Making the children believe in themselves leads to joy and when they take their smiles home, they build happy families.

When AMADO was established in 2006, we had seven children in wheelchairs. Today, not a single one uses their wheelchair full-time anymore. We had little girls who had stopped communicating due to abuse, who now not only talk again, but who have smiles on their faces.

These miracles are direct results of the animal assisted therapy programme at AMADO. It is incredibly rewarding to be able to inspire these very special children and to assist them in walking (literally) towards a productive future.

AMADO is located in the heart of Paarl near Cape Town, South Africa, serving the greater Drakenstein community, including Mbekweni, Paarl East, Wellington, Franschhoek, Klapmuts, Groot Drakenstein, Saron and Stellenbosch.

The institution selected to benefit from this program is Ligstraal School in Paarl East. The school caters for previously disadvantaged children from ages 5 to 19. There are 240 children with disabilities ranging from wheelchair-bound to cases of abuse. These children will have the opportunity at AMADO of acquiring skills which could lead to future jobs.

The children will benefit from a structural daily program of animal -assisted therapy four time a month, that will provide stimulation especially to the physically and mentally disabled children it cares for. The children at this centre have great potential to function and interact with their environment. At present they are unable to access it due to no funding.

If the sponsorship could be attained, each child could have the opportunity to have animal assisted therapy four times a month.

The constitution of South Africa states that no one may discriminate against another. It is so important to empower these special-needs children with animal-assisted therapy to make them feel important, teach them new skills and prepare them for their futures. With animal -assisted therapy these very special children are given power and equal opportunities in our rainbow nation.

AMADO which means beloved, is the brainchild of M’Lani Basson. M’Lani has been riding since she was three years old. After obtaining degrees in art and psychology she spent one year doing animal-asisted therapy in Scotland. M’Lani returned to South Africa to realise her dream - to help children who would benefit by the interaction between human and horse, especially to take the hand of those who have no one to reach out to.

The AMADO assessment process

Together with an occupational therapist, we do basic assessments of the children before they enter the programme. They get tested on gross motor co-ordination, fine motor co-ordination, self-care, speech and language and perceptual ability. We then compile a profile of every child in the AMADO programme, including limitations, goals and achievement/challenge. Every term these profiles are revised during discussions with their school teachers, occupational therapist, animal assisted therapist as well as the parents/carers of the specific child. We then adapt the individual program to the needs and goals of each child.

Read more about AMADO:

~ History and background of M'Lani Basson
~ Amado main page
~ Success story
~ AMADO website

Read here all about the AMADO project

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To provide for and help as many children and animals in need as we possibly can - for those who are being abused and left destitute. Through effective implementation of certain therapies, install a sense of worthiness in all beings cared for and inspiring hopes and dreams for a beautiful future. Helping to alleviate suffering to those who cannot help themselves.

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Our mission is to be an inspiration for others and contribute to a greater universal cause.

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