Access Llamas is a non profit organisation that was formed as a way to give people within the disability and aged care sectors access to a safe and fun social connection, to promote positive mental health.
So what's the difference between AAA (Animal Assisted Activities) & AAT (Animal Assisted therapy) ?
AAT is a formal, structured set of sessions that helps people reach specific goals in their treatment. AAA involves more casual meetings in which an animal and its handler interact with one or more people for comfort or recreation.
Both AAT & AAA build on the pre-existing human-animal bond. Interacting with a friendly animal can help many physical and mental issues. It can help reduce blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health. It can also release endorphins that produce a calming effect. This can help alleviate pain, reduce stress, and improve your overall psychological state.
We aim to decrease social isolation and provide a pathway to participation fully in daily and community activities.
People and animal interactions are important for body, mind and wellbeing. Among other factors; promoting exercise, reducing loneliness and providing social interaction.
Llama are a safe and non-threatening large animal that connect well with people in both groups and in one on one situations, they provide a non-judgemental and patient friend.
Animals often bring out the best in people and Llama are proficient at calming hyperactivity and stimulating movement and interaction in those with physical disabilities.
Patting and interacting with the llama can help calm anxiety and stress and provide a sense of social interconnection when attending in a group.
Possible benefits of both Animal Assisted Therapy and Animal Assisted Activities may include:
We currently provide an Animal Assisted Activity service where people with physical and neurological disabilities and mental health disorders can find meaningful purpose in caring for and handling Llama.
We have previously visited local schools, interacting with at risk youth and are working towards being able to provide interactions in an on-site capacity on a regular basis.
The llama provide a calming influence on the children and also provide an incentive based positive reward system for the teachers/carers.
Why Llama specifically :
Other than their calm and non-threatening nature when considering Animal Assisted Activities (AAA) the major animal-associated health hazards have been identified as :
· Animal bites : Llama do not have top front teeth, only a hard palate and can not deliver a significant bite. Llama are not prone to biting either when being fed or as a stress response; and are very gentle when being fed by hand.
· Animal kicks : Llama are soft footed not hoofed. They have a soft pad on the bottom of their foot that does not damage the earth and also has low impact when kicking. Llama rarely kick.
· Zoonoses (diseases transmitted from animal to human) : Llama have few zoonotic diseases, and of these very few are in Australia.
· Allergies : Llama have a lanolin free, hypoallergenic hollow hair fleece not wool. They have a low instance of allergic reaction to their fleece.