Why Farms are Great for Children with Learning Disabilities
We recognise supporting someone with learning disabilities can be challenging, exhausting but most of all rewarding. In order to support their child’s life goals, parents or carers have to contend with a number of different factors, depending on the nature and severity of the disabilities.
It is important to us that part of leading a happy and fulfilled life means offering all individuals the same opportunities.
To be inclusive attractions, of all types, need to be able to support individuals, regardless of the challenges they face.
However, there are advantages to taking children with learning disabilities to Farms, like ours, beyond it being quality time spent on a lovely day out in the Dorset countryside.
Nurture Through Nature
Being among the animals everyday we can sometimes forget how privileged we are to do what we do.
For our families of visitors seeing, and even feeding, the animals is a rare treat or – for some – an entirely new, and valuable, experience.
For individuals with learning disabilities, interaction with animals can have a positive and lasting impact. By learning about animal nurture they can learn about the importance of nurturing all relationships.
The importance of food, water, exercise cleanliness and affection are universal to all living things. By learning about these needs they can connect with their own needs. Recognising they are important and someone who is worth taking care of.
Talking about the comparisons between humans and animals and what we like and dislike helps to bridge gaps in understanding and help individuals understand the importance of self nurture.
A Different Setting
For some individuals, a change of setting or routine can cause a degree of distress, especially if that place is unfamiliar and crowded. However for others it’s an exciting opportunity to go somewhere new and explore. If crowding is a source of distress certainly visiting attractions Monday – Friday, in term time is recommended. The attractions tend to be generally more peaceful during the weeks outside of holiday time. The resulting benefit is more one to one interaction with the staff.
Appeal to their sense of adventure by exploring the countryside. This opportunity is as appealing to individuals with learning disabilities as it is to someone without.
Where farms like ours really come into our element is the fact that we offer a great balance. Wide open spaces, animal interaction, activities and shaded places to sit quietly.
There is routine and structure to the animal events, and this is managed (as best you can when working with animals!). Our aim is to not put any pressure on individuals, or carers, but to encourage exploration and lots of fun.
We can also work with families, schools, residential support settings and other organisations. We’ll make sure that anyone with challenges can be supported around the farm and have great day.
Our team are helpful and engaging and will try and assist in anyway to ensure everyone’s day is as enjoyable as possible.
We want everyone to have as rewarding an experience as possible when they visit us and sometimes that just means having fun.
Seeing the animals, the deer or going on a tractor ride is as much a part of an individual’s enrichment as learning about the animals that live on the farm. (Please note the bouncy, noisy tractor may be unsuitable for severely disabled visitors or wheelchair users.)
We appreciate this means they want to have just as much fun as any other child visiting an attraction therefore we’ll always do our best to make a great day out.
Here’s what our visitors had to say:
“Went for a visit today with a 5 year old disabled boy. The care and kindness show by the staff was heartwarming. Helping us to give this lovely young man a wonderful experience. Thank you from the bottom of my heart” Facebook Review
“Had a brilliant day at the farm, we’re having a holiday in the area. My 4 yr old daughter has cerebral palsy. Jen went out of her way to ensure my daughter, who is in a chair and unable to anything for herself, was included in all the pet handling/grooming activities. It was so nice to go to a place that was clearly super inclusive. Thank you. My other two children equally loved it. The pet handling was organised brilliantly! Thanks again.” Facebook Review
“Hello I was in Farmer Palmer’s today supporting a child with severe special needs. I just wanted say that two members of staff were especially lovely and kind to the child. Helping her get involved despite her disability. I was so happy to see how understanding they were.” Email Review
If you support an individual or group with learning disabilities and you’d like to visit Farmer Palmer’s, get in touch today. A member of the team can go over your requirements and our facilities. We will try and make sure we can provide a great time out for everyone. Contact us here or to learn more about our attractions go here.
We live locally to Farmer Palmers and have annual passes for our whole family. We’ve been visiting the farm for 6 years now (so I have lots of good things to say!) My younger daughter age 19 months loves it and so does her 6 year old sister! (My eldest also loved it as a toddler!)
It’s a farm, with all the usual farm animals you’d expect to see and more.
The indoor play area is done very well and my youngest and eldest daughter love it in there, soft play is also great for both ages.
Bouncy castles are kept clean and well maintained (let’s remember there’s a daily influx of small children who’ve spent the day running free range on a FARM so of course it’s got signs of being used!).
My daughters love it here, you have an array of activities to choose from woodland walks, soft play & bouncy castles. Guinea pig holding is a hit (happy well looked after Guinea pigs not cramped up in a pet shop. We were so happy with the standards of care we got our own guinea pigs from here!). Goat and lamb feeding (yes on busy days you don’t get a huge amount of time yet I haven’t heard a grumble from a single child). Not mention water sprinklers, Go carts which are suitable for both adults and small children, lovely picnic area and playground, seasonal pony rides and real milking demonstration (my eldest loves it!). There is decent home cooked food served in the cafe. Also a tractor ride available for a couple of £ you can even feed deer.
We’ve had several birthday parties here (so have my nephews and nieces age up to age 12!) and everyone loves it.
Considering the price of most family days out, I think Farmer Palmers is actually very good value for money, it’s a far cry from a theme park (thank goodness!) and I love spending time with my kids here throughout the year be it rain of shine!
Will be renewing our annual pass for the 3rd year this summer!
Thanks for endless entertainment!
W Beth 2019
Not a theme park a wonderful family farm
"Good place for the family lots to see and do. Clean and staff helpful. Could spend a day there with the kids and have a great time. Would recommend to everyone."
"An absolutely lovely farm, with the most perfect helpful, knowledgeable staff. We had an amazing day."
Allergy Awareness "We come and visit you every week and I was so pleased to see the "no food" notice up in the soft play areas. My son is anaphylaxis to dairy and peanuts. Thank you for raising awareness and helping my son to not be at risk!"
"The imagination and creativity with the play areas is just perfect. Today we fed the lambs and it was such a special moment, I've always wanted to do it and loved it!"
"The passes are fantastic value for money and whenever we come to Farmer Palmer's my children never want to leave. Staff are always very friendly and helpful."
Annual Pass Holder
"Even when it's pouring down, FP is a great place to come. Plenty to do under shelter and who doesn't love to put their wellies on and splash in muddy puddles! And for the mums and dads, the cake is amazing :)"
Sarah says "Food in the restaurant was lovely and the staff were friendly"
"A rare treat, a full day out and change!"
Value for money!
"We keep coming back with our grandchildren"
"We are big fans!! My little boy wakes up most mornings asking if he can go to Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park!!"
"It was amazing. From organisation to the staff,
who were fantastic, we were very pleased"
Team Farmer Palmer Fan
"Great family day out. Highly recommended!"
Holiday visitor to Dorset
"I can't recommend this wonderful place enough. It's an amazing little piece of paradise in Dorset."
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