On one of the (several) boards I read for parents of kids with special needs, a link was posted for a new non-profit here in the Bay Area.
Animal Assisted Happiness sounds like a really wonderful place.
Here's a snippet from their description of what they do:
At Animal Assisted Happiness, we recognize that children with special needs and their families struggle on a daily basis. We are here to help by bringing moments of joy into their day. We let your child interact with animals and experience a smile that only animals can bring. All our programs and services are free of charge. And we know your schedule can be challenging so we offer flexibility and a variety of programs to suit your day
Sign us up! I will definitely look further into this organization. The connection our kids are able to make with animals that they may or may not be able to make with humans is astounding.
As for the statistics reference, the homepage of this organization states a 2000 census bureau stat of the following:
In the United States, there are nearly 2,500,000 children with one or more special needs. In the Bay Area alone, there are over 13,000 children with these challenges.
13,000. THIRTEEN THOUSAND. Do you know how many people live in the entire Bay Area? I could look it up right now, but I'm too lazy. Let's just say that a lot of people live here and for some reason that number seems small to me. Why in the world is that? I mean, 13,000 is a lot. But to me it sounds like a little right now, and a number I wish my child didn't fit into.
I guess it's similar to when I saw last Fall's report from the psychologist we hired to independently assess M. The one that said that he was possibly 'mentally retarded' and 'performed at a nine to twelve month level.' Man. That hurt. And so does the number 13,000. But as I find myself saying so often these days, it is what is. I wonder what the statistic is for number of parents of kids with special needs who say that?