What is CALMs?

Cognitive Alpaca Learning Methods is a formula in which we harness the calming nature of our alpacas to work with children and adults with special needs.
Our methods are highly suitable for Autism, ADHD and Asperger's conditions and we have also seen great benefits when applied to those with behavioural, learning, social or communication difficulties.

Our CALMs sessions are run by Chris who brings along his many years of management experiences together with his energy and passion for alpacas and students alike. He insists that the course is guided around the students and not the students around the course.

Since launching CALMs in early 2015 we have been given feedback of significant improvement in the behaviour, attendance and learning of core subjects by students using our unique form of Intervention Therapy.

What do we offer?

Our sessions are available to children with moderate learning difficulties and a statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education, Health and Care Plan.  We deliver the course either on an individual basis or we can work with small groups.  The CALMs course is designed to fit into six sessions which we have found works most effectively spread into weekly visits over a six week period. This gives time for the experiences to be absorbed and sets a routine for students. We have seen many children returning for second and third sessions.  

What is an alpaca?

Alpacas are a part of the camelid family.  Close to llamas but much smaller.  They have a completely passive and non aggressive nature and are in themselves so calming to be around.  With an average weight of 60kg and height in the region of 1.5m our alpacas make a very suitable and easy to handle learning aid.  All of our therapy animals have received extensive practice and training to ensure they are suitable for children aged 10-19.  

An alpaca is a sensitive creature, they will pick up on any fear or aggression coming from the handler (even if well hidden) and will respond to that. During the course we explain the alpacas movements and temperament to the handler and give them an opportunity to recognise that their fear / frustration is coming from the inside.

What is our aim?

Over the six sessions we introduce alpacas, explaining and demonstrating their passive nature and totally non aggressive aura.  Students will see, sense and understand that the alpacas are non threatening.  Students will learn to take responsibility for the animals and learn how to feed, halter, walk and train the alpacas.  

Results come surprisingly fast and after only two or three sessions we begin to see students absorb the alpaca's calming aura and become more subdued and tranquil.  This provides a perfect platform for children to attend their next classes in a condition that is noticeably more manageable, relaxed and receptive leading to an improved learning experience.

Students & carers will learn to...

  • relax and enjoy their time with us

  • visualise their own feelings through the alpaca

  • let go of any anger, fear, aggression and/or frustration

  • see the positive effects of that release on the alpaca

  • take responsibility for an animal

  • take away and keep some 'alpaca calm' freely given

How do we operate?

We work very closely with schools and partnerships to ensure we meet the needs of each individual student.  Our course is designed to flex to the personalities of any given students on any given day.  We have a learning plan designed with fluidity in mind, this is so students feel a sense of freedom as well as achievement when participating.

We always insist on a chaperoned environment with either relatives, carers or skilled school staff present during sessions.

Chris has a naturally calm but assertive approach which falls neatly into step with the alpacas and creates a real life altering experience for attending students. We find that this endears him to all of those attending CALMs. Working with Chris and the alpacas has a real impact on students, enabling them to move forward and progress positively in the classroom learning environment.

Warning: Expect alpaca chatter from students for a long time after the course has ended!