Thursday, April 29, 2010

I recently came across a web site and blog that provides hippotherapy information and activities. This is awesome sinc I couldn't find this when I started out 4 years ago and we therapists love resources. check out:
Horses can Help
and the following picture game used during a therapeutic riding lesson.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The kids were all happy today despite the hayfever that is driving me crazy and the cold, wet weather. One little 4 year old was not feeling well, so I didn't push her do to a lot. We spent some time letting her talk into my recorder (that I use for notes) and she was totally fascinated with listening to it. Maybe I will be able to use this as a reinforcement down the road in exchange for doing some challenging work with me. Another little girl with balance problems and gravitational insecurity was willing to stand on top of the stationary horse while we played a game of -she gives me high five/ I make an animal sound/she names the animal. I also do a similar game where the child faces sideways facing me, rotates to give the sidwalker a high 5 who then makes animal sounds. Doing this game while walking in circles (child facing outside the circle) is great for building trunk and abdominal strength.
Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I haven't been working at the farm this week because I travelled to PA to give a presentation at Austill's Rehabilitation Services. But I still have horses in my life. Last weekend I met this horse (not to close because he bites!) while walking through Boston.

....and this week I came across this pony working in Philadelphia.

Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Research on Effects of Equine-Assisted Therapies

Parents observe how hippotherapy and other equine assisted therapies help children with autism. But here is a report of some results using evaluation tools that examined sensory processing and social skills before and after treatment. The results are encouraging.

Also check out the site that supports this research:

Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Objectives For Treating Sensory Processing Disorder | LIVESTRONG.COM

Objectives For Treating Sensory Processing Disorder. Sensory processing disorder SPD impacts a persons abilities to interpret sensory information such as touch, movement or whether or not two shapes look the same. Individuals with...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Here's a fun slide show-but I recommend wearing a helmet and do NOT lie down in front of a horse!!

Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Recycling Occupational Therapist is now on Facebook

Come join my Facebook page. I am not sure how that differs from a blog but it seems to be the social trend.......The Recycling OT on Facebook.

Disorders Similar To Sensory Integration Disorder | LIVESTRONG.COM

Disorders Similar To Sensory Integration Disorder. Dysfunction in sensory integration DSI impacts the brains ability to organize information from the sense organs -- such as the skin and muscles -- and use it to interact with th...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

mhorselover said...
The tree faces are a wonderful idea! I actually have one of those on a tree at my house... that just might go missing ; ) What other kinds of things do you think I could suspend from those arches? Would a pole set in the ground with a box on top to hold sand or bird seed be ok? To hide toys in? Then when they birds eat it we can just refill it...

I would love to have a mail box to either open and see what's inside or have the kids deliver toy mail. If you have a box with bird seed or sand for a tactile activity-that's cool. You must know pretty well what your horses will tolerate. Where I work they have horses on the trails (not the hippo horses) that don't like new objects- so they don't allow activities like the ones you are looking for. I would look at suspending containers that the kids can insert objects into- maybe objects that they can bat at and make noise, or bat at to make leaves fall, depends on what your horses can tolerate. Suspend a groan stick and they can flip it over. Will think of more....
mhorselover said...
Hi! My name is Megan Manning, I have spent the last couple of days reading through your blog and thought I'd post a little comment here, on completely catching up! I am a registered Therapeutic horseback riding instructor in Texas, about an hour from the big city of Dallas. I am currently studying to get my Occupational Therapy degree. As I was reading through your blog I can across some surprises... Your blog from August 17th, 2009 is a picture from our center! The horse pictured is named Sultan, and he has since been retired, but is still living with us there. The center's name is All Star Equestrian Center you can look us up at Another neat surprise was from your post on February 18th of this year. I personally know Michael Richerdson. He helps to just a horseshow called Chisholm Challenge for Special Riders that is held every year in Ft. Worth that our center participates in, a long with many other centers. It was neat to see him up there! He judges the trail sections of our horse show for us. At All Star my summer project is to get out sensory trail up and running... so far I have about 6 big arches placed out on a trail. They are about 8 feet off the ground I think... I was wondering if you have any ideas that I could use for the trail? I was thinking about a pool noodle 'car wash' as well as wind chimes in trees, with possibly a tree that has different door bell chimes up in the branches, so you can push the door bell button down on one of the arches and listen for the chime in the trees. Any suggestions you could give me would be marvelous! I will continue reading and look forward to any more new ideas you come up with! : )

I'm glad that you are enjoying the blog and that you like the picture of Ben-that his father sent to me. I had written several book reviews on Saving Ben. I love doing hippotherapy with the kids on the spectrum. You may have noticed that most of my pictures are from outside of where I work-that's because I am not allowed to take pictures that show my clients or the farm. But I do photograph my activities without showing the kids. I have lots of ideas about setting up a sensory trail-but another source of frustration is that I can't do this at my job. But I am in the process of starting a new business with 2 riding instructor friends and their ponies.
As far as the sensory trail goes-here are my fantasies-I would place lots of toy animals and take photos of them . Then I would show a photo to the client and ask her to ride and pull the reins when she finds the toy- . You can bring rings along with you on the trail ride and place them over poles or gather rings on the ride and bring them back to the arena to do a ring stack activity. I would love suspended banners or balls to whack. Chimes and noodles-love that idea. I've seen eyes, nose, ears and mouth sets that can be pushed into the tree. Then you can touch a feature and have the child touch her own. Have numbers posted along the trail. Then when you stop there ask the child to do that number of motor acts-sit ups, push ups, post etc. My ideas go on and on, so frustrated.....

One more thought- if I had permission to post photos of your sensory trail on my blog that would be great and then we can all benefit from your creative ideas. I love the photo on your site of the girl reaching for the animals (lizards or something like that).


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Stabilizing the Hands

I made this for a little boy with CP who needed two handles to grasp to help stabilize and put his arms in some elbow flexion, breaking up the spasticity. This worked very well but the handles are too wide for his little hands. I bought some detergent bottles with smaller handles so I can try it again.
Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Check out this dancing cow boy!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A 45 minute Session

Sessions are typically 30 minutes where I work. But I asked to have a 45 minutes session with one little boy who has CP. He started out with such high tone, I was unable to abduct his hips to even sit on the withers. Here is why the longer session was so important: 10 minutes facing sidways, 10 minutes facing sideways the other direction, 5 minutes facing backwards with hips partially abducted, 5 minutes with a beautiful straddle facing backwards, 10 minutes facing forwards with feet in stirrups and grasping the handle, 5 minutes with a hand activity. He was able to grasp the handle to a bottle while I helped him (hand over hand) to pull off toys attached with velcro and insert them inside. I realize that the bottle was too high for him and if I had a bottle with two handles resting on the anticast handle- his posture would have been almost ---perfect! Now to create........
Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L

Monday, April 5, 2010

I have mailed out 50 letters to local special education depts., clinics and early intervention programs hoping to generate referrals to my new hippotherapy program at Divinity Farm at Stone Ridge.
Meanwhile, I adapted the anticast I bought with a thick soft piece that attaches with velcro under the handle. The anticast I bought was too large and this makes it fit the cute small ponies we will be using. It was a time-consuming project but kept me out of the potatoe chip bag while watching a movie.