sen's & Disability's



We at Urban Safari enjoy our time working with children and adults with special needs because of the satisfaction it gives us. Yes, it can be challenging and demanding but the rewards far outweigh anything else.

Special needs can cover a broad canvas. You may be working with people whose issues might include: Behavioural problems, Cerebral palsy, Learning difficulties, Autism, Speech defects, Deafness, ADHD, Physical care needs, Blindness and numerous others too.

The severity of problems will differ by the kind of difficulties they face and between individuals too and understanding the specific conditions and problems that face those we are working with, will be the key to providing a good experience.

Yet again, because special needs is a vast area, there are many different roles we might be asked to perform. It could be a reptile handling session with a blind person or helping a child interact with an animal for example.

Working with people who have special needs has taught us about many important aspects about life in general. We have acquired much more knowledge about the difficulties certain sections of our community’s face in their everyday lives and our job is to improve the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves.

In addition to helping others, we have learnt so much about ourselves and our own abilities to help. Many people tend to think that it must take a great range of skills and super-human effort to be able to work with people with special needs and sometimes it does, but we have found with our type of work, all that is required from us, is a desire and a commitment to assist and a good helping of compassion.

Animal Assisted Therapy

Animal assisted therapy (also known as Pet Therapy) is a natural holistic treatment, that pre-dates science. AAT is used as an occupational therapy tool within psychology. It is proven to improve the spirit~mind~body interconnectedness, reducing both anxiety and blood pressure.

The interaction and relationship between people and animals has also been shown to reduce stress and promote wellbeing. It can also increase socialisation; improve self-esteem & confidence and promote quality of life & encourage nurturance & responsibility.

When animal assisted therapy is used with people in the autistic spectrum, these people demonstrate fewer stereotyped behaviours and increased socially appropriate behaviours. IT IS PROVEN TO WORK!!

Urban Safari can do individual or group sessions, with any type of animal that the service users (those benefiting from the therapy) would like to see (a list of Animals can be supplied for use in the selection process).

All sorts of people gain therapeutic results from all manner of animal – some choices, and the effects thereof, are very surprising. For maximum therapeutic benefit, sessions should be held regularly, rather than as an ad-hoc activity.

We can provide services for

•Mental Health Services


•Schools (proven to improve behaviours & attendance)


•Care Homes

•Behavioural Units and Organisations (such as CAMHS, autistic, ADHD)

•Fostering Organisations

•Neuro/Physical Rehab Services


•Community Invisible Illness Groups

Plus many more if your requirement is not listed please give us a call on 07428 698312


 “Exotic pets serve different purposes; certainly, they can be incredible companions – [they’re] very non-judgmental,” board-certified veterinarian Dr. Laurie Hess, told


There are exotic pets that have unique characteristics and abilities that can prove to be beneficial to people with special needs, Hess, who is based in Bedford Hills, New York, said. They can offer assistance and companionship to people with conditions ranging from autism to high blood pressure.

Reptiles like chameleons are slow moving and interesting to look at which Dr. Hess says is great for kids with autism.

 For individuals with autism, Hess, the author of “Unlikely Companions: The Adventures of an Exotic Doctor,” recommended a reptile like a snake or chameleon because the hyperactivity of a dog or darting behaviour of a cat can be overwhelming for patients.

“Having a reptile that is slow moving and calm, really interesting to look at, that you learn about, learn to take care of are great for kids on the autistic spectrum,” she said.

She warned that parents should research the reptile first to make sure it is safe and suitable for a child.

Dr. Hess says African Grey Parrots (above) can sense human emotions and talk, which can be beneficial to those with PTSD  

 People with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) typically lean on dogs or cats for camaraderie, but parrots can be a great alternative. Hess noted that studies have shown that parrots can be very human-like and that they can talk and sense their owner’s emotions. Cockatoos are an especially good choice because they are a social bird that likes to be physically touched, which can be comforting and soothing to someone with PTSD.

“Having an animal that speak languages…that will understand you, is sometimes an incredible relationship for someone who has been through trauma,” she added.

Studies shows that actively watching a fish can lower your blood pressure

 For individuals with high blood pressure, a pet fish can be beneficial.

“Just simply watching a fish tank…not having to do [anything] but actively sitting there and just watching it lowers your heart rate, lowers your blood pressure,” Hess said.

Caged animals like this rat are low maintenance and friendly which might be ideal for the elderly or those with limited mobility.

As for therapy pets that visit hospitals and nursing homes, Hess said there are exotic animal options for these individuals, as well. Caged animals are suitable for the elderly and those with limited mobility because they don’t have to be walked and owners don’t have to constantly change their litter. Rabbits and even rats can be great options because they are low maintenance and relatively friendly.

Therapy pets can come in all shapes and sizes but Hess recommended thoroughly researching your options before making a choice for you and your family.