Subject: Dolphin miracle boy speaks for (fwd)

Mike Williamson (pita@www1.wheelock.edu)
Fri, 27 Mar 1998 12:54:50 -0500 (EST)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 27 Mar 98 13:15:00 GMT 
From: r.mallon1@genie.geis.com
To: marmam@uvvm.uvic.ca, pita@sun.simmons.edu
Subject: Dolphin miracle boy speaks for

Dolphin miracle boy speaks for first time

  By Mike Brownhill, PA News
   A boy of eight who had never uttered a word has spoken for the
first time - after swimming with dolphins.
   Nikki Brice was locked in his own world all his life after being
starved of oxygen at birth, although he had the physical ability to
speak.
   His family from Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset, turned in
desperation to a dolphin therapy centre in Florida - and within days
he said his first word.
   From the Human Dolphin Therapy Centre in Miami, Nikki's mother
Tabitha told of her joy at hearing her son speak for the first time.
   Mrs Brice said: "It is a miracle. It is a dream come true.
   "Coming here was a make or break situation and I didn't expect
Nikki to make such good progress."
   Also on the US trip are Nikki's sister Carley, aged 11, plus
grandparents Jim and Jackie Clancy.
   His mother said: "We flew out last week and quickly got into a
routine at the therapy centre in which Nikki isundergoing daily
intensive therapy and 40 minutes swimming with dolphins.
   "We hadn't been there long when Nikki was told to get out of the
water at the end of a dolphin swimming session and he stood very
quietly at the side of the tank.
   "He must have thought that he wasn't going to be allowed to go
swimming with the dolphins again because he suddenly pointed at the
water and said `In'.
   "He was telling us that he wanted to get back in the water. We all
just stood there in shock because it was so unexpected, but once we
got over it we quickly told him that he could go in again and he soon
cheered up."
   Nikki, who was is now being taught how to practice using his vocal
chords and is beginning to pick up new words such as "Please".
   His mother, who managed to raise  10,500 to fund the therapy,
added: "I have hoped for years to hear Nikki speak and I really didn't
mind what his first word was.
   "I am chuffed to bits with what has happened - the dolphins really
havehelped him to speak.
   "Coming here was a fairy tale come true for us. We just heard
stories about children getting better before, now we are actually
seeing it before our eyes.
   "It is like seeing magic happening before your eyes - even more so
because nobody can explain why all these wonderful things are
happening.
   "There is something magical that happens between children and
dolphins, something that I don't think we will ever fully understand.
   "We feel like we will come down to earth at some time or wake up
and find it was a dream."
   Scientists are baffled by the therapeutic effect dolphins can have
on people suffering from depression or people with learning
difficulties.
   It is thought the underwater sounds made by the creatures to
communicate may play a part.
   Chris Connell, spokeswoman for the Miami centre, which has a 97%
success rate, said: "Swimming with dolphins is an essential part of
treatment because this not only provides a therapeutic benefit but is
also a motivational tool.
   "The 40-minute swimming sessions are run in conjunction with
conventional speech and physical therapy and encourage the children to
do well."
   Dr David Nathanson, who is instructing Nikki during a three-week
intensive therapy session at the centre, said: "I am very pleased with
Nikki. He is doing very well and we are delighted that he has spoken
for the first time.
   "Obviously it is early days and a great deal needs to be done yet,
but Nikki has finally broken out of his world of silence."