Dolphin therapy, a technique that helps treat children with mental disabilities, is gaining ground in China, a media report said Thursday. The technique is already popular in some western countries.
Fifteen sessions with a pair of bottle-nosed dolphins at Hangzhou Polar Ocean Park have helped a five-year-old autistic boy become "aware" and "alert", China Daily reported.
Zheng Jun, the boy's father, believes the dolphin-assisted therapy is more effective than any other treatment. Zheng became a believer of the technique after he visited a dolphin-swim programme in Australia. He then took his son to Hangzhou Polar Ocean Park in Zhejiang province.
More than 80 parents of children with mental disabilities have already booked next year's sessions at Hangzhou park, the daily said. Newcomers now have to wait until 2014, said Liu Quansheng, manager of the park.
"People with mental disabilities often have short attention spans. Swimming with dolphins helps them relax and focus," Liu said, adding that, "Dolphin therapy is effective because these animals hold the kids' attention better than even the most engaging human therapist."