11 May '11, 6pm

Elephant therapy program for Thai autistic kids

Kuk-kik, a 14-year-old boy, punctuates his few, slurred words with yelps. Kong screams and bites his fingers when he can't figure out how much to pay for bananas. Other children freeze mid-motion, fix their gazes on minute objects and withdraw. Enter Nua Un and Prathida — two gentle, lively and clever female elephants — and the mood among the autistic teenagers in Thailand changes as they begin their therapy, the world's first using these charismatic animals. They scrub and soap their bristly hides, play ball games with the well-trained pachyderms and ride them bareback, smiling. "Chang, chang (Elephant, elephant). Children, have you ever seen an elephant?" the group sings, clapping hands to the traditional Thai nursery tune and hugging the elephants' trunks. Disco-like, Nua Un bobs her head and sways. Everyone cheers in a rousing climax to another day in this program in t...

Full article: http://sg.news.yahoo.com/elephant-therapy-program-thai-au...

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