Horses, donkeys, sheep help with autism

Dr. Marvin Anderson picked up a spindly legged lamb and draped it over his shoulders.

The doctor moved to Cedar around 2000; he lives on an organic farm with his wife Jill, sheep, goats, rabbits and miniature donkeys. More recently, Anderson launched a solo practice called Abba’s Place on the farm property. He deals with autism, environmental sensitivity and diagnostically challenging cases.

“(For) years, I went around with a stethoscope draped around my neck, and I’ve sort of replaced it with a lamb,” Anderson, an internist, said.

He is among several local health care providers who are incorporating animals into patient visits and treatment. The approaches range from local ranches devoted to therapeutic horseback riding and equine-assisted counseling to a visit with a bunny or donkey that Anderson can hold out “as a plum” for his young patients.

Connecting with animals is just one method Anderson can use when meeting with autistic children.

via Horses, donkeys, sheep help with autism » Life » Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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