Beijing: A new Dolphin-assisted therapy that helps treat children with mental disabilities is gaining popularity in China, according to a media report.
The technique for children with mental disabilities has already made a splash in the West, and China is now riding the experimental tide.
Fifteen sessions with a pair of bottle-nosed dolphins at Hangzhou Polar Ocean Park have helped a five-year-old autistic kid become "aware" and "alert”.
Zheng Jun, father of the boy, believes the dolphin-assisted therapy has been more effective than any other treatment.
"Now, you can`t tell he`s different from his classmates," Zheng said.
Zheng became a believer of the technique after he visited an Australian dolphin-swim programme few years ago. He says his son is elated when he splashes with the creatures in the park in Jiangsu, capital of east China`s Zhejiang province.
More than 80 parents of children with severe mental disabilities have booked all of next year`s spots in the program, the daily said.
Newcomers must now wait until 2014, says Liu Quansheng, manager of the park`s owner, Zhejiang Aquarium Investment Group.
"People with mental disabilities often have short attention spans. Swimming with dolphins helps them relax and focus," Liu said.
"Dolphin therapy is effective because these animals hold the kids` attention better than even the most engaging human therapist," he said.
While the science of dolphin-assisted therapy`s assortment of purported benefits hasn`t been verified, many believe at least some benefits come from the experience`s emotional magic.