Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy has worked with many people on the Autism Spectrum. From children as young as 4, to teens and even adults, work with horses can offer many new and potentially powerful experiences for those on the spectrum.
Reading this touching story in the New York Times, by Cammie McGovern, about her son, Ethan, reminded me that we not only need to be ‘realistic’ in our expectations for our special needs kiddos, but we also need to never stop dreaming big. Without offering them the opportunity to try new and sometimes challenging things, neither they, nor we, can know what they are capable of and may enjoy.
Kids on the spectrum can be resistant. Getting them out the door, even to go to school, may be a challenge. They may have repetitive behaviors that interfere with doing things that have a beginning, a middle and an end. The good news is that in our program, we can start anywhere that is the right place for our client! Maybe the first session they meet a horse, feel their coat and watch while a Qualified Mental Health Associate grooms the horse, name the tools that she is using. Heck, with one kiddo, who was so impulsive that we had a hard time keeping track of him and his horse at the same time, we got him up on his second visit (NOT our usual path!) so that we only had one moving object to manage – AND HE LOVED IT!
I do want to say, that our program is not a traditional ‘Therapeutic Riding Program’. We do not have side walkers or horse handlers, so our program is not always a good fit, but, if we discover that this is the case, we are happy to refer families on to other programs in our area. But, we absolutely invite you to call or email to schedule a visit to see if we can help you and your child/teen/young adult experience the joy, growth and learning that horses have to share!