Little Emilia is not so little anymore. I mean, she’s still tiny but she keeps reminding me that she’s a ‘big girl now, mummy.’ When she was really, really little, like a pea in my tummy (or maybe like a melon, as medically it’s impossible to pinpoint) she suffered a stroke. She’s a perinatal stroke survivor. The consequences of which we will live with for the rest of our lives. She was diagnosed at 9 months old with hemiplegic cerebral palsy, hemi to keep it short and sweet. This means that her function on the right side of her body is affected by the brain damage caused by the stroke.
So, the last few years have been spent to and from hospital/therapy/clinics/doctors and mummy has spent hundreds thousands of hours on the internet researching new methods and ways to help improve Emilia’s condition. Therapy has become a way of life and it was Emilia’s natural love for animals, and general dislike for humans, that gave us the brilliant idea. Why not combine our newly acquired animals with some therapy? Research shows that the brain releases endorphins when humans interact with animals. Endorphins are the good guys of hormones that make us feel good. Happy.
With a bit of work, some training and a lot of research the idea to open our property to children and young people with disabilities and learning difficulties is coming together. We want to give others the opportunity to experience what we have and to give them the ability to achieve in a natural environment.
We are fast approaching the end of the adaptation works in our barn to make provisions for a classroom and kitchen/toilet facilities. The future of the farm looks exciting with our continued work with breeding our alpacas and sheep, the rearing of as much of our own food as possible and the inclusion of disadvantaged individuals during this work with therapeutic effects in mind. Our hope is to engage with the NHS and the local authorities, so we can reach those most in need of the services we wish to offer.