Environment is key when taking a trip out with a child with additional disabilities. There are no guidelines for environmental factors, each factor is determined by the child and how they respond to the world.
I have wrote previously about how different places have affected my daughter in the past and how sometimes tailor made activities for children who have a sight problem can add that element of sensitivity which increases the days enjoyment.
At the end of the summer I had the pleasure of an invite by website author, fellow mummy to VI child Fred and friend Karen Newell to a truly delightful experience. Nuzzlets farm in York is a specially designed farm attraction which caters to children with additional needs and their families.
Hosting visits to controlled numbers, Nuzzlets has a variety of fluffies and farm yard regulars all in reach of the children.
“In 2002 we gave a loving home to 3 rescued ponies, from an animal sanctuary near Sheffield. They learned to trust humans and bonds were forged between the animals and ourselves. We soon realised that these animals, once unwanted, had so much love to give that we needed to share it with others. Animals have a calming, therapeutic effect. In 2004 we established a small voluntary group called Nuzzlets and we welcomed our first visitors from Martin House Children’s Hospice. The Shetlands were so calm with the children in wheelchairs; their heads are just the right height to rest on the children’s laps. The hairs on the Shetlands chins tickled the children’s hands and they responded and laughed so much. The pygmy goats nuzzled the children’s hands as they were being fed, they loved been fed and going for a walk. Stroking the animals encouraged movement and relaxed muscles.”
EVERYTHING can be handled, all the animals are therapy rescue animals and tell a different story. From baby chicks, ‘genetically modified’ monster rabbits who can be hand fed, guinea pigs in all shapes and sizes, goats, miniature ponies. These animals with their calming nature can be interacted with, touched, and enjoyed by all.
From a rabbit on a lead, a guinee pig in a pram and hair brushing ponies tales, this farm experience gives a real hands on, exclusive tactile delightful day out! This project is a charity and ran by a wonderful lady called Mary, and on the day of our visit Mary drafted in a local musician to accompany the excursion with some live flute performance, the musician tailored the songs to fit the animals and added extra enjoyment to the day, especially for my mini maestro Scarlett.
There is a whole host of wonderful things to be enjoyed at Nuzzlets:
Therapeutic activities include:
Feed the poultry and goats.
Stroke our animals.
Collect the eggs (Summer only).
Rabbit show jumping.
Learn how to lead a rabbit on a harness.
Lead a goat round our own agility course.
Educational activities for schools include:
Consider issues concerning conservation, farming, the seasons and animal welfare: Animal welfare and care including breeding and keeping of livestock.Agriculture, crop rotation, the seasons, horticulture (including growing seeds and fruit picking). Use of land, grazing, hay making, fertilisers. Life cycles (eggs/chicks). Nature, hibernation (hedgehogs). Discussions about wool, shearing, goat hair. Make a wormery or hedgehog home. Collect minibeasts. Design classification keys and food chains. Look at habitats. Plant seeds and take cuttings. Look at the variety of life including: plants, seeds, flowers, trees and birds.
A great day out for all of us, it really proved that a controlled environment and considered hosting can make the world of difference. In a world where activities have to be avoided by our children due to their disabilities places like Nuzzlets really go that extra mile to give our VI angels the special treats they deserve.
I would love to hear more from our readers about the world’s hidden gems, places that have that element of understanding about additional needs.
More information can be found out about Nuzzlets:
http://www.nuzzlets.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org