What is needed?
Abandonment and academic failure have already reached alarming levels in Romania.
MagiDream adapts educational models based on the contributuin of the dog and in accordance with the realities of the Romanian school. Here, we find children with different disabilities and special needs for whom community integration is a challenge. In the absence of adequate education, the cultural and mental patterns lead to rejection by their peers, who enjoy a physical development considered to be normal. Here, much of their time is spent with children with various other special needs who are not understood. The parents’ fear of social stigma excludes them from the category diagnosed as such (CES). Their expectations far exceed the initial possibilities of school performance. Moreover, in schools, we also meet children whose emotional balance is disturbed for various reasons. Parents leaving for migrant work, parents gone forever or – simply – a special psychological profile, engraved with many sensitivities …
Children with behavioral and learning problems, children with special needs – everyone needs help. Science shows us that where psychology fails the dog is successful. His magic comes from many resources. He loves and accepts anything, unconditionally. He listens, without judging, and never asks uncomfortable questions. The dog is the best play partner of the child and, at the same time, the one who can teach him how to interact relaxed with the world. His natural capacity for empathy becomes a model of relationship with others for any child. His dog and his attachment become the way in which children can connect with the adults in their lives and, thus, come to respect their authority.
Most importantly, the dog becomes the common denominator between children with disabilities and those with normal physical and cognitive development.
Given that conventional therapies do not always work, canine therapy is one of the most effective recovery or intervention tools used in high schools in the US and many European states. These institutions collaborate with specialized canine education schools, which provide the resources (service dogs) for school programs called “Animal Assisted School Therapy” or “Animal Assisted School Activities”.
The two programs differ fundamentally due to the proposed purpose. The Delta Society (cited by the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2014) defines the animal-assisted therapy as the interaction between the human partner with special needs and the canine partner that meets certain criteria in the treatment procedure. Animal-assisted therapy is provided by medical institutions or personnel trained in this field, being developed in order to produce an improvement of the physical, emotional and social condition and the cognitive function of the beneficiary. The therapeutic process based on assisted living (the assistance dog) has been documented and evaluated from a medical point of view since 1992. The activities assisted by animals offer opportunities for motivation, education or recreation in order to increase the quality of life (definition given by American Veterinary Medical Association, 2014). This type of program, based on the simple interaction between the children and the assistance dogs, without therapeutic purpose (Hatch, 2007), has been common in schools in the western states since 2004, thanks to the unique positive impact on the child.