Autism awareness Month
Every year we welcome guests from all corners of the world, all ages and backgrounds. It’s definitely the thing we love the most about what we do, rivaled only by sharing and preserving the Western lifestyle. We receive many inquiries throughout the year and there’s quite a few that stand out. Recently we’ve received a couple of inquiries from families with children with Autism asking if we would be a good fit for their horseback riding vacation. Our reservationists and owners always respond with a resounding “you bet!” Not only do we welcome, but we embrace these families and do whatever we can to ensure a successful horseback riding vacation. April is Autism Awareness Month so we thought it was the perfect time to celebrate the many people affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder.
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. We now know that there is not one autism but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences.
The term “spectrum” reflects the wide variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person with autism. Autism’s most-obvious signs tend to appear between 2 and 3 years of age. In some cases, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Some developmental delays associated with autism can be identified and addressed even earlier.
horseback riding as therapy
One very successful, key therapy used in helping those affected with autism is equine therapy – technically referred to as hippotherapy (derived from the Greek word hippos for horse). When a horse’s movement is transferred to a person, it produces a combination of sensory, motor and neurological input. Horses create this dynamic, three-dimensional movement that cannot be reproduced in any traditional clinical setting. The gait, or stride of the horse, coupled with the animal’s warmth, provides numerous benefits to its rider.
While we support and applaud therapy on horseback we are not clinically certified, but what we offer is a horseback riding vacation full of acceptance and support. Sometimes fresh air, quality time with loved ones, and saddling up for an adventure is the best treatment.
Note: The above image features Dave and Janet Leishman’s nephew, John, smiling ear-to-ear during his equine therapy session with Sully the horse.