Eleonora perceives herself much better now

“Eleonora’s dolphin-assisted therapy was just awesome, wonderful, and unforgettable! The calm and balance that we felt during this time has had a lasting effect on all of us.

Our daughter is now 7 years old and our third child. Already in the 17th week of pregnancy we were informed that her brainstem is not properly formed and that she has hydrocephalus. Although we were advised to have an abortion due to the low chance of survival, we made a conscious decision to have our daughter. Today she is developmentally delayed, has a brain disorder, a shunt and suffers from epilepsy. Seizures used to last up to an hour. She is now well controlled with medication and has even been seizure-free for 1.5 years.

As a member of the Swiss “Förderverein für Kinder mit seltenen Krankheiten”, we heard about dolphin-assisted therapy from another family. The two-week intensive therapy on Curacao seemed to be just the right thing for our daughter. We didn’t have very many expectations beforehand. 2022 was a very difficult year for us and so we hoped that we could all regain strength through this therapy.

Eleonora’s brothers were released from school for the time of the therapy. We had the morning block and were at the CDTC with our children from 10:30 – 12:30. The therapy program was adapted to Eleonora and the therapists were in daily contact with us. In this way, requests could be made and ideas could be incorporated. Our two older boys took part in the sibling program. They were with a therapist who talked to them a lot and took great care of them. Additionally, irregularities could also be viewed and discussed. Both were very enthusiastic about this exclusive care and excitedly told us about canoe trips and snorkeling. It was so beautiful for us parents to see our children blossom.

Eleonora’s progress during therapy and even now at home never ceases to amaze us. Since then she can speak much more clearly and her vocabulary is also larger. Even strangers can now understand what she is saying. Cognitively, she has developed immensely. She has better self-awareness and can decide for herself what she wants. Her body tension has also improved and Eleonora is much more agile.

It was a wonderful experience for the whole family and so much heart was involved in these two weeks that this time will linger in our hearts for a long time to come.”

Rebecca De Rinaldis

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