Miniature horses: for the benefit of deafblind children

Self-confidence, well-being, reconciliation (…), the benefits of mediating horses are enormous, according to the Quintette Association, which organizes moments of sharing between miniature horses and deafblind children.

Thank you “. Two words were enough to fill Jean Bouissou, president of the Quintette Association, specializing in therapeutic mediation with miniature horses with children with disabilities, with joy. In a few sessions, one of the young residents of IME in Chevreuse ( Yvelines), deafblind and dumb, out of silence … A victory for Jean Bouissou, himself deafblind. Created in 2015 for ” promote the disabled person’s communication with the world, in particular through animal mediation »His association intervenes in several medico-social institutions in the Paris region with 20-minute sessions per. young person, from 5 to 20 years. Purpose: to give children with deafblindness (article in the link below) the opportunity to enter into dialogue before the age of six. gold” the thirty young people in our IME (from Chevreuse, editor’s note) all have rare disabilities that combine several sensory deficiencies (sight and hearing) with major communication problems, emphasizes Stéphanie Hainoz, director of the establishment. We are therefore constantly looking for complementary methods, such as the one proposed by the Quintette Association, to try to get into their bubble. “.

A unique relationship with the horse

Because it establishes a familiar relationship with humans, especially based on non-verbal communication, the horse appears to be the animal best suited to the situation, according to Jean Bouissou: ” I noticed it personally: when my dog ​​is three feet away from me, I do not know where he is. Which is not the case for the horse, which I can easily feel next to myself at a distance of three meters. “. The choice then fell on” miniature “horses, whose reduced size is more suitable for children. Each session is supervised by a zoo therapist and a zoo animator, who facilitates the meeting. Trained clinical psychologist, specializing in pet therapy, Jennifer Champol” communicates through the body and acts as a mediator between the animal and the child. ” The latter does not respond to a word or gesture, but thanks to the energy he feels “. The horse then becomes a mirror of the child’s emotions.” We know immediately when there is a disturbance. The horse stops grazing with its head facing the child says Jean Bouissou. And the symbiosis works.

Clear progress

In just under twelve sessions before the Covid-19 pandemic, between June 2019 and February 2020, clear progress could be observed in terms of socialization, awakening, positivity, well-being and even reassurance. Mathilde, who had a phobia of animals, ended up stretching a finger and then the whole hand out towards the horse’s fur. “ For it was she who remained master of the experience says Jean Bouissou. Some of his comrades go so far as to fall asleep on the horse they are so peaceful “. Others, on the other hand, will not go beyond care. Everyone moves at their own pace, if the child does not want to join, we do not force it “, Acknowledges the chairman of the association. Eight young people from the Chevreuse IME were able to benefit from these exchanges, and ” we immediately noticed a difference in the development of those who did not participate in the experiment “, he continues. Finally, the association wants to implement this system for other types of disabilities, or even for other target groups. Why not in contact with the elderly, children or young people in difficulty or even victims of sexual violence and domestic violence? While he waits on getting a permanent place to welcome the public, Jean Bouissou continues to move from establishment to an establishment with his team and his herd of mini-horses.

“All rights to reproduction and representation are reserved. © This article is written by Clotilde Costil, journalist”

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