Mother hopes to set up animal sanctuary for autistic children|
COVENTRY, UK: Margot Stanford, the mother of a girl with autism, is hoping to set up an animal sanctuary specially for the benefit of autistic children.
When her seven-year-old daughter, Bobbie, was diagnosed with autism two years ago, she was told that pets could be beneficial. So the 33-year-old moved three chickens and two ducks into the back garden of her home in Somerset Road, Radford, Coventry.
And it was such a success that she is now hoping other autistic children could benefit from contact with animals.
The animal sanctuary and activity centre would be based on a farm, include a range of rescued farmyard animals and provide a support network for parents and siblings.
Margot intends to apply for National Lottery funding and would run the centre entirely from donations and the proceeds of organic vegetables grown on the site.
But while Margot has the full support of her window fitter husband, Paul, and about five other parents, she needs the backing of the city to show lottery organisers the resource would be welcomed.
Margot said: "Our animals have brought Bobbie's confidence up and taught her that you have to care for things and be gentle.
These social skills are quite hard for children with autism to learn and sometimes they can approach things the wrong way.
"My aim is to provide a space where children and parents can go without worrying their children might kick up. Animals are not judgmental and the children can just be themselves."
"It would also be a good way for the parents of autistic children to meet others in the same situation."
Two years ago, the Coventry Telegraph reported how Margot took the decision to teach Bobbie at home after she was diagnosed with semantic-pragmatic disorder.
(Source: Coventry Evening Telegraph, January 31, 2008)