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Just being in water offers many therapeutic benefits for peo-ple with various types of disability. Its buoyancy can tem-porarily free a person who must spend most of every day ina wheelchair, and a large volume of water provides a con-stant surrounding pressure that can be soothing to someonewith chronic pain and hypersensitive nerve endings. Butadvocates of dolphin-assisted therapy claim a whole rangeof additional benefits for this special form of treatment. Some people who are thought to benefit from swimmingwith dolphins are those with physical disabilities such asspinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, complications fromstrokes or brain damage from accidents, chronic diseaseslike diabetes or multiple sclerosis, or terminal illnesses,including various types of cancer. Others suffer from psy- chological and emotional disabilities: autism, depression, orother mental illnesses; attention-deficit/hyperactivity disor-der; or Down’s syndrome, for example. Some are victimsof physical and sexual abuse; many are children, who seemto have a natural affinity for animals. But adults, too, aresaid to have benefited from dolphin-assisted therapy. Manypeople report that they feel happy and hopeful after swim-ming with dolphins, and accounts of dramatic, long-lastingimprovements in emotional well-being aren’t hard to find.

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