Students and staff at Livability Nash College were thrilled when two donkeys appeared on campus for a surprise Christmas celebration this week. Clad in festive gear, the donkeys met and mingled with the young people with profound disabilities who attend the Bromley further education specialist college.
The donkeys toured around the college and students had the opportunity to feed their festive guests carrots and interact with them, bringing much needed laughter and joy to the college. Staff equally enjoyed this special visit with many asking in jest when they can get Livability Nash resident donkeys.
The donkey therapy session was paid for by volunteer group Friends of Nash College, and is the type of experience that is particularly valuable for students living with greater restrictions than normal, says Head of Livability Nash College Adele Audin. ‘Our students have been off campus much less than usual, for obvious reasons, and they’ve missed activities like horse-riding. Many of our learners are sensory learners, who don’t communicate verbally and being able to interact with and touch a furry animal is sheer enjoyment.’
Donkeys’ temperament makes them particularly suitable for work with people with disabilities, explains Ms Audin: ‘As well as being nice to look at and touch, donkeys are very calm and tolerate noise and movement much better than many animals. Small animals can move very quickly, and are often delicate, and this can be difficult for autistic students.’
Christine Hatton, a member of the Friends of Nash group said: ‘We are thrilled to be able to fund this special treat for the students. We hope that they enjoy the experience’.
Generous donations to Nash have also enabled a small sensory gift to be purchased for each class at college. ‘It’s the last day of term for everyone, and Santa will be visiting each class to give out the gifts,’ says Ms Audin.