16.02.2012

Tim's dolphin therapy

Communication with sign language

When we first met Tim at Christmas in1997, we were already aware that he is a special child. At that time we did no know the story of his birth, at which his death rather than life was the goal. But we immediately recognized a person who has great charisma and the will to live.
Later, after we had decided to take Tim with us and have our paths combine with his, we learned of Tim's dramatic struggle for survival and were deeply impressed by his strength.

However, the predictions of the doctors and therapists were not very encouraging, because they gave us little hope that Tim could have a long, happy life.

Today, 14 years later, we see Tim as a lively, extremely satisfied young man, with his first downy beard on his face and a lot of "nonsense" in the head. He can now walk very well, even jump, his health is stable, and he can communicate with us to a limited extent. We are very proud of our Tim who, in defiance of all forecasts, has found his way. Certainly this is the result of many therapies, particularly the Dolphin therapies.

However, we often have the impression that Tim would like to tell us more; that he would like to be able to use more than just a few sounds and gestures. In these situations he is very excited and a bit more frustrated because he cannot tell us about his experiences at school, with the therapist or his siblings.


Through a happy coincidence, we learned of the University of Oldenburg’s augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) project. The University of Oldenburg in Germany is one of the few places where people with disabilities can try out the most effective ways for them to communicate. Here Tim's communication capabilities were tested as part of a thesis. The result was that Tim can make himself best understood by the use of gestures. After this test, Tim's teacher, and, of course, we ourselves had to learn a new language.

Some gestures, such as "no", "good," or "sleep" are familiar, but many everyday things such as "bus" or "school" had and still have to be learned. A student who is studying for a master’s degree drives around 60 km twice a week to Tim’s school to meet and practice with Tim and the teachers. Throughout Tim's room and bathroom there are all the gestures and expressions they are trying to teach him.
So it was not surprising that learning sign language played the decisive role during Tim's dolphin therapy in October 2011. Together with the therapist and the dolphin Papito great progress has once again been made which has proved extremely helpful in living together with Tim. 


There are many small steps that are so important and steadily improve the quality of Tim’s life. We are very grateful that this progress was made possible through the generous support of donors.  Special thanks to the Say Yes to Life Foundation, which has actively supported and accompanied Tim through these many years of development.


Guido family

If you want to support Tim, please enter in the reason for money transfer as "dolphin therapy".

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