Therapeutic and educational services for children at Hairy Henry

Hairy Henry Care Farm in Ballylickey provides a wide range of therapeutic and educational services for children from the age of two, as well as adults. Specialising in interventions for persons with additional developmental, emotional, social and educational needs (e.g. ASD, ADHD, sensory processing difficulties, anxiety, GDD, dyspraxia etc.) Hairy Henry Care Farm welcomes everyone – with or without specific diagnosis – to enjoy the benefits of engaging with the therapy animals and natural environment.

Some of the activities might be of particular interest to schools with Special Needs Classes and ASD Units and include: Therapeutic School Visits with therapy animals (donkey, sheep, dog, rabbits, guinea pigs, horse); Educational School Visits with an experiential learning session on traditional farming and/or farm animals (featuring Henry, the plough horse); School Tours to the Care Farm in Ballylickey (up to 10 pupils); Group Sessions on our Care Farm for small groups of pupils with either educational or therapeutic focus – these may include animal and horse care, and therapeutic riding, and usually are run over a block of six sessions.

In the sessions – whether in the school or on our farm –children are supported in their personal growth and in their building of social confidence and emotional intelligence.

The learning of practical skills is promoted in the context of animals and farming with a child-friendly and person-centred approach.

Special focus lies on creating opportunities for each child to build on their personal, interpersonal and cognitive skills: Self-awareness and Sense of self-worth; Social Confidence, Social and communication skills; Self-regulation, Relaxation and Stress management; Empathy, Team work and Helping others; How to deal with conflicts; Turn-taking and Sequencing; Dealing with difficult emotions.

The sessions provide a safe, calm and supportive environment where children can learn at their own individual pace and access the therapeutic benefits in their own space and time. Children are supported to progress according to their individual ability level.

Sandra Schmid, who runs the Hairy Henry farm, is also a registered teacher and has been providing July Provision to individual children for a number of years. As a new service for this summer, she is planning to run a July Provision group for up to four children who qualify for this scheme under the Department of Education guidelines. In this group, children will be offered a wide range of educational outdoor activities tailored to meet their specific learning needs. Hairy Henry is now open for expressions of interest from parents and carers.

If you are interested in finding out more about any of our services, or if you have any specific questions, please contact Sandra on 087 9389867 or go to the website

WCP Staff

WCP Staff Writer

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