Anantara’s Largest Charity Event Funds the World’s Only Elephant Therapy Project For Autistic Children
Anantara Hotels Resorts and Spas’ annual charity event The King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament has been helping fund The Thai Elephant Therapy Project (TETP) since 2009. The Therapy Project is a world first technique using domestic elephants in therapy sessions with autistic children in the Northern Thailand town of Lampang.
The Thai Elephant Therapy Project (TETP) was created in conjunction with Chiang Mai University and the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre and is designed to provide autistic children with an opportunity to develop their social interaction and emotional skills by using elephants as a working partner with occupational therapists.
The elephants used in the project have been rescued from the streets of Thailand and have gone through specific training to ensure that they are healthy and well prepared for the clinical research sessions. The elephants are accompanied by their expert mahout handlers, alongside human therapists and researchers.
“The Thai Elephant Therapy Project is a world first and it showcases Thailand as a pioneer in the support of research into alternative therapy solutions”, said Anantara’s Director of Elephants and Conservation Efforts, John Roberts. “Results from the project showed that the children displayed improved adaptive behaviour, sensory processing, postural control, balance and improved social skills, while their parents also reported perceived improvement and satisfaction with the programme.”
The programme now runs a series of free therapy sessions for Thai children throughout the year. This year the TETP also intends to expand the research aiming to widen the scope of the clinics to include children with Down’s Syndrome and other conditions.
“Just to see the smiles on not only the children’s faces but also on the parent’s faces is proof enough that Anantara’s King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament remains committed to the project and is dedicated to raising the funds needed for its continued operation and expansion for years to come”, Mr. Roberts concluded.