HELPING HANDS by Suzanne Haldane


How Monkeys Assist People Who Are Disabled
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Age Range: 8 - 12
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 Since 1977, ``Helping Hands'' has been training capuchin monkeys as assistants to quadriplegics. Briefly summarizing the program's genesis as the idea of psychologist Dr. Mary Joan Willard, Haldane describes the monkeys' upbringing (they spend four years in a foster home before formal training begins), their education, and their capabilities (they can not only fetch small objects but perform more complex tasks like inserting computer discs). Much of the book is devoted to the monkey Willie and her introduction to Greg, a teenager whose quadriplegia is the result of a diving accident. In addition to detailing the ways Willie aids Greg, Haldane points out how great the emotional support of such animal friends can be, and how their presence can also lead to approaches by people who might otherwise hesitate to speak to someone in a wheelchair. The many b&w photos effectively convey the range of Willie's help and the appeal of the intelligent, mischievous, hard-working capuchins. An excellent report on a relatively new program. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-525-44723-7
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1991


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