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Whatever is available to all should also be accessible to the handicapped

The MIRA Foundation is totally dedicated to helping disabled individuals by teaming them with dogs bred and fully trained to respond to their adaptation and rehabilitation needs. All of MIRA’s services are made available free of charge to individuals with one or many visual or motor disabilities, and to children presenting Pervasive Development Disorders such as autism.

At MIRA, we subscribe to a principle of physical equality. Namely, we believe that anything that is accessible to the public at large should be accessible to handicapped individuals. Our work consists in helping individuals with one or many disabilities to adapt to life with these disabilities. We concentrate our efforts on improving the functional abilities of individuals, in particular in regard to mobility and orientation, so that they can get around freely in their living environment.

If the old school of rehabilitation was long obsessed with the idea of keeping all people with the same problem in one place, we, on the other hand, repeat tirelessly that deficiencies are not diseases. Each individual must make his or her place in the world, be at home, at school, or in the workplace, on a normal basis. Our approach is global because it stems primarily from a detailed analysis of one’s true autonomy and the real need for getting out and functioning within social and professional circles before actually getting into action. Identifying physical obstacles and social resistance in the lives of each one of our clients is also an important part of our job, as much as a guarantee of our success. ln our endeavour to make complete rehabilitation possible, we work hard to eliminate certain fears in schools, to bring people to accept dogs as tools in children’s development, and to fight against unjustified, often misplaced, apprehensions in having seeing-eye dogs in public places or transit.

This approach ensures that all requests for services are considered on an individual basis, so that solutions are designed according to the specific needs of each person. Whatever the difficulties encountered, or the complexity of the problems involved, we have never hesitated to adapt our methods to the particular needs of an individual. Whether that person is a blind child, an adult suffering from multiple deficiencies, a physically handicapped or deaf and blind person, they all find their place among us. Sharing with everyone in the social context of the beneficiaries, from their families to various institutions specializing in rehabilitation, is a principle essential to the MIRA Foundation’s strategy and it remains the cornerstone for the development of all our future programs. The know-how acquired through the training and understanding of dogs, as much as the understanding of the handicapped of the needs, puts the MIRA Foundation in a unique position to explore new areas of application (hospitals, for example) in the use of guide and companion dogs. Our insatiable to go forward comes from the profound passion that drives us, a passion that grows wild as weeds, ignores barriers and upsets conventional ideas. It is this passion that gives us the strength to move forward into the future, towards wider and wider horizons. And whatever the case may be, our aim will always be to devise tools that will allow the physically handicapped access to all facets of the human experience.

To all benefactors and to the many, many supporters who believe in our work since the beginning, we express our deepest and most grateful appreciation.

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