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TALKING TO DOLPHINS; Ivan lived in a world of his own until he visited a water par he was..


LITTLE Ivan McGaw lived in a silent world of his own until he visited a water park - and started communicating with dolphins.

The six-year-old has been isolated from human contact since birth because the front of his brain didn't grow properly in the womb.

Parents Wendy, 30, and Alan, 37, said their son - who is smaller than three-year-old brother Shaun and still wears nappies - is forced to live in a world of his own.

He can't talk and often withdraws into himself, unable even to play with toys like other children.

But when the couple took Ivan to a water park on holiday in Majorca they were stunned when the park's five dolphins suddenly swam towards Ivan.

His face immediately lit up and he raced towards the pool as the dolphins pressed their faces towards him, chirping frantically. Giggling like never before in his life, Ivan brought tears to his parent's eyes as he reached out his arm and started gently stroking the dolphins.

The couple from Rosyth, Fife, are convinced the dolphins were able to sense that something was wrong with Ivan - and that they were able to help him.

They now hope to take Ivan to Florida for a specialist physiotherapy course, where disabled children swim with dolphins. The course boasts an incredible success rate of improving basic motor skills among disabled youngsters.

The theory is that the high-pitched voices of the dolphins tune in to the brain differently than the human voice.

Shop assistant Wendy said: "It was amazing. As soon as Ivan appeared beside the pool the dolphins all swam straight towards him. They were chirping at him loudly in their high pitched voices, pushing their heads up out of the water and leaning forward so he could touch them.

"Ivan had a big beaming smile on his face. It was easily the happiest I had ever seen him. He put his hand out and started petting one of the dolphins.

"The dolphins didn't react like that to anyone else. They seemed to connect with him straight away. Everyone who was there noticed it, but no one could explain it.

"It was like his whole personality changed as he realised he could interact with other living creatures. It must be so frustrating for him not being able to tell us if he is hungry or if he is in pain.

"It was almost like the dolphins sensed there was something the matter with Ivan and that they wanted to help him."

Wendy and Alan have known for years that something was wrong with Ivan, but a series of tests failed to diagnose the problem.

It was only last year that an MRI scan revealed the banana-shaped part that connects the left and right sides of his brain was missing. The rare condition, known as agensis of the corpus collosum, means Ivan, who goes to Headwell School, Dunfermline, also an extremely short attention span.

Wendy added: "It would be great if Ivan goes to Florida.

"Despite his problems he's always been a bit of a water baby - he has never been afraid of the water and it would be so beautiful to watch him swimming and talking to the dolphins."


WATER BOY: Ivan with Alan, Wendy and Shaun
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 14, 2006
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