Make It Fit is proud to partner with Stockhands Horses for Healing to provide equine therapy to children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Stockhands is located in Delaware, Ohio. Sessions will go for six weeks with one therapy session per week. Equine therapy has a lot to offer children on the spectrum.
Creating the Emotional Bond
Children affected by autism often have difficulty bonding emotionally with others. As the parent of an autistic child, you know that it’s difficult for your child to make eye contact, communicate what he/she is feeling, and express feelings or emotions to those they care about. Rather than verbal communication, children experience physical communication with the horses. They brush them, hug them, and pat them, and by learning to care for the horse, they associate the care they provide with feelings, and an emotional bridge is constructed. This bond can lead to improvement in overall social communication.
Cognitive and Language Skills Development
Children on the spectrum often have difficulty comprehending normal directions. By engaging in equine therapy, your child follows directions through a fun activity that makes taking direction easier to grasp and remember. They will also give the horse direction, which provides them with more opportunities to communicate. Your child is naturally motivated to move; thus, they are excited and motivated to communicate. During therapy cognitive concepts will naturally improve. For example, equine therapists have children throw colored balls into baskets while riding, touch their eyes, mouth, and ears during a song, and identify scenes—all incorporated during riding.
Balance and spatial orientation are experienced through the vestibular sense organs. These are located inside the inner ear and are stimulated through direction change, incline, and speed. Riding a horse helps liven these sensory preceptors, which helps make therapy exciting and motivates your child to continue to be engaged.
Getting Access to Equine Therapy
Equine therapy is highly beneficial to children with autism. It helps them develop natural, core skills they need to function in society. Unfortunately, equine therapy is one of the most expensive therapies available for autistic children, and parents can find themselves paying over $5,000 annually to enroll their autistic children in these programs.
There are numerous expenses associated with the care of a child with ASD. Thus, adding on the expense of equine therapy may seem out-of-reach. Luckily, Make It Fit has partnered with Stockhands to provide equine therapy to families who may otherwise be unable to afford such care at no cost to them.
Your donations make it possible for Make It Fit to continue to provide this service to the community. Without the generosity of individuals like you, we wouldn’t be able to do the things we do. Donate today and help a child affected by autism access this life-changing therapy.