We took him to the The Bronx Equestrian Center. I can't tell you how often we've driven past and said, "We should take The Boy there..." We point out the horses and the The Boy looks impressed.
When we asked The Boy if it's something he wanted to do. He yelled out yes and it's all he talked about. I'll be honest, I was skeptical. I mean, The Boy won't even go on the carousel. I wasn't sure how he'd react to a pony.
We parked the car and walk through to the stables. The Boy made me laugh because he put his fingers to his nose - I've never seen him do that before. But I guess the smell of horse manure will do that to a kid.
As The Husband lifted The Boy to place him on the pony, The Boy started to protest. "No no no. Get me outta here!" The stable man assures us this is normal and that once The Boy starts, he'll be fine.
As soon as The Boy is seated, they are off. Within seconds The Boy is smiling. After the first lap, he tells the pony to go faster. And after the third lap - The Boy insists on another on another ride. We happily oblige. I think I would have let him to do it all day but it was super cold. We promised The Boy we would return.
And I don't know...that afternoon, The Boy seemed calmer. Able to concentrate and focus. I wondered if it had anything to do with the pony.
I'd heard about hippotherapy before and kids with autism. I knew a girl who went riding - her mother swore by it - and I met someone from GallopNYC and we spoke about the benefits of therapeutic riding. But I'd never seen the results.
When you have a kid with autism, you want to try every and any kind of therapy you think may help. And I've put this one off for a while because I was uncertain. Because it can get expensive and there's always the time (because who has time for another therapy). But The Boy isn't in any extracurricular activities and if this is one that he'll enjoy and can benefit from - then I'm willing to make the time and find the money.
Would love to know if you've tried therapeutic riding? What differences have you seen?
|The Husband & The Boy|
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AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.