NAATA works with families and organisations to support peoples wellbeing and development. Although we offer experiences to a wide range of settings and people of all ages, we specialise in supporting young children (and the grown ups that do the vital job or caring for them).

Working with our animal team we bring warmth and fun to learning situations. We are passionate and knowledgeable and we’re focused upon the most important aspects of a young child’s being, that is, their wellbeing, their personal, social emotional development and their speech, language and communication skills.

Three elements combine to give NAATA a unique and evidence based approach to improving outcomes for children.

  • Tailored activities and strategies developed by Speech and Language Therapists supporting each child to reach their potential. Activities focus upon children’s wellbeing and communication skills. This has wide ranging benefits, as these elements underpin children’s learning and development as a whole.
  • A focus upon supporting knowledge and skills in the adults who care for children daily. We aim to build capability and confidence in parents, carers and members of the children’s workforce for long lasting impact.
  • Animal Assisted Activities. Bringing specially reared animals into activities to harness the power of children’s natural curiosity and compassion for other living things.

For parents and care givers of children with speech, language or communication difficulties, or for those simply seeking to support early development, NAATA offers activities to help next steps in the child’s developmental journey.

For education and childcare settings, NAATA offers partnership and intervention. Animal Assisted Activities, tailored strategies and learning opportunities for staff, contribute to quality teaching and outstanding outcomes. NAATA will support settings to observe and record outcomes for individuals with Special Educational Needs or Speech, Language and Communication Needs. However the focus upon strategies and staff development will enable impacts beyond children with SEN or those eligible for the Pupil Premium.

NAATA is covered by public liability and professional indemnity insurance and holds a Local Authority Animal Activities License.

Activities are led by Lesley Forrester, a specialist Speech & Language Therapist with more than 20 years experience in early intervention and partnership working. She’s a member of the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists and the Health and Care Professions Council UK and holds an enhanced DBS certificate

Lesley has been captivated by wildlife and nature from a very early age and enjoys nothing more than sharing this passion with others. Through NAATA she is discovering the many unique and powerful ways that Animal Assisted Activities can help children feel good and reach new heights in their development.

About Animal Assisted Activities

Animal Assisted Activities are known to have wide ranging benefits. Documented outcomes include; reductions in stress and improved mental health, increases in motivation and engagement with therapy or learning activities, increases in social behaviour and positive interactions between people. A wide range of professions are incorporating work with animals, into the care they offer. It is vital that practitioners are professionally trained and supported so that they understand how to work safely and ethically. Safe and ethical practical translates into effective outcomes for people.

Animal Assisted Therapy techniques are opening up an exciting new field of intervention for people with speech, language and communication needs. For lots of children the motivation to join in when there are animals around is second to none. For those of us who find talking difficult, animals offer comfort, play and interaction. They don’t judge us or focus on our difficulties but they are sensitive and they notice and respond to the many ways we can communicate. Importantly, they never pressure us to use spoken words and this may be the reason why some children are more likely to try playing, talking or even reading with a pet.

Dave the rabbit watches while Fletcher the boy demonstrates how his tractor works

Perhaps most impressive, is a therapy animal’s ability to help human beings trust one another. The presence of a furry friend can make children feel warm towards one another. The caregiving and gentleness children practise with the animals can help them to understand friendship behaviours and build relationships with other children. It helps them build capacity for empathy a critical tool in social and emotional development.

Contact us to talk about how NAATA may help your child or the children you care for.