Like most parents of kids with special needs, we were told that early intervention can make significant difference. Mia started therapy at 3 months old and has continued to her current schedule of 3 to 4 hours per week not including home based exercises and revision.
Whilst Mia has progressed far in her sweet 6 years, she still has many challenges. The key for Mia is the frequency and intensity of therapy. The challenge for us as parents is to find the “sweet spot” where we continue to develop greater capacities and skills, whilst avoiding “burn out” and the inadvertent introduction of behavioural or emotional issues.
This is where the program at Tall Timbers is nothing but pure magic.
Whilst to the trained eye it might seem like through riding and the associated games we are improving the poor integration and modulation of Mia’s vestibular-auditory-visual triad, mediating her postural tone and regulating her arousal states, but for Mia… well for Mia it’s FUN. Challenging but Fun. We have never had a meltdown or experienced avoidance about going to riding. And it’s fun for us too.
The difference in Mia from her first day riding less than 12 months ago to her most recent ride this Saturday past is so noticeable. She is a different child. Her body and movements become engaged. She is calm with improved self-regulation. She demonstrates improved sequencing, planning and overall organisation. She has improved attention skills and awareness. But perhaps more importantly, she is proud of her self. She feels accomplished and self-empowered. The award for most improved rider is a bonus proudly hanging on her wall, and talked about to anyone who will listen.
I can’t thank enough the support team of people and horses who meet us on Saturdays, and the many people and contributors behind the scenes.