IDW is a non-profit organisation for the observation, conservation and study of dolphins - especially their relationship with humans.
Where is the evidence that an experience with dolphins can have a positive and powerful effect?…..
Whilst Operation Sunshine does not perform specific research, at this time, there are a number of other sources of support research, as well as our own experiences with those such as Benoit, Eve and Minga.
From long-term research by Dr. Horace Dobbs, BSc PhD, and author of many books, including Dolphin Healing, it has been found that an encounter with a wild dolphin can have a significant effect on children who are neurologically and physically impaired. Also a study by Dr. David Nathanson showed that children with brain damage, Down’s Syndrome, cerebral palsy and other mental and physical disabilities increased their learning abilities significantly after interactions with dolphins.
The people we are aiming to help….
Caring for children and young adults with severe physical and mental disadvantages is demanding and stressful on the whole family. Relationships and siblings often come second place, leading to tensions and anxiety. Operation Sunshine helps the whole family and their main carers by giving them a unique, supportive environment in which to express and release emotions, encourage communication and give them all the chance to embrace the future with confidence and courage.
Details about the programme….
The main part of the programme is a carefully managed respite stay in Bimini for the children, their family and main carers.
During the visit they will take trips out in a specially adapted boat with support staff. Our aim is to experience the wonders of swimming with wild dolphins and whilst we cannot guarantee the outcome of each trip, we are rarely disappointed!
For the rest of the stay everyone can take advantage of a number of other activities which may include:
- Arts and crafts such as pit firing on the beach, being creative with clay, making cane baskets and tie dying
- Watsu, a form of body massage (Shiatsu) performed while lying in warm water.
The receiver of Watsu is supported by the therapist and because it is performed in the water, the body is free to be manipulated and stretched in ways impossible while on land.
Following on from respite…..
Operation Sunshine maintains connection with families beyond the stay in Bimini with evaluations to monitor progress. We offer projects to schools in the children’s local community to extend the reach of Operation Sunshine and raise awareness of protecting and respecting wild dolphins and their marine environment. We also offer educational material such as books and presentations.