Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tundra to Thailand

Here's an interesting blog with pictures of hippotherapy in Thailand. the pony look sooooo small to me making it look easy to do therapy with the child. I also like the activity ideas- such as counting how many items in a picture to work on cognitive skills.
Tundra to Thailand

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Elaina said...
this is wonderful! thanks for sharing! :-) I'm more and more considering moving to GA, getting my masters in Speech Pathology in Valdosta, and starting a hippotherapy practice somewhere south of Atlanta! :-D

You are very welcome! Writing these articles is a lot of fun.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How to Treat Autism Using Horses |

How to Treat Autism Using Horses |

Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L author of, The Recycling Occupational Therapist

Monday, January 25, 2010

Fixing Faces

A two year old girl with low tone was able to do 3 squat to stand repetitions while the horse was walking. I have done this many times with the horse standing still, but this was a first. Of course it was more challenging and exciting and she did quite well. She and her twin are very willing to try everything and anything!
I made some face form-boards-by printing 4 pictures from the internet. I glued each to a manila folder. Then I cut cut out either a nose, eye ear or mouth and attached one of them somewhere on the picture with velcro. Then I asked the child to fix the picture by putting the nose where it belongs-as shown.

I will try to incorporate this activity into a session where I sing Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.

Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L author of, The Recycling Occupational Therapist

Friday, January 22, 2010


lauren said...

That is a wonderful activity!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Stand for a ring

Only three children came due to the storm. I used a natural ride tack instead of the usual anticast that has a larger handle. I usually prefer the anticast because the attached stirrups work well and the natural ride (where I work) comes with clumsy boots that children have difficulty keeping their feet insid. But with the small natural ride handle- it was much easier for children to transition from facing forwards, to sideways and backwards. The other huge benefit of the smaller handle was seen when a little girl with CP went into a quadruped and then kneeling position. I had thought it would be easier to do this while grasping the larger handle, but with the smaller handle she didn't try to put all her trunk weight on it and instead put weight on her hands and arms.
We don't have any suspended or high objects where I work. I hold up materials for all reaching activities. This video shows how useful a simple stand that holds a ring can be.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pretend Play on the Horse

I saw my Wednesday kids today after being away for 3 weeks. Three kids were brand new, all cute and little. One has CP and was so tight I spent all my time with him facing sideways, prone and supine over the horse's barrel and sitting on the withers facing backwards. He was able to grasp the circingle handle. I couldn't find a hippity hop ball, but that would have helped him to open up his arms and support his trunk.
A three year old I have been working with for over a year stood on top of the horse and turned himself around. I guess we can call that a "standing around the world". It took great balance although we held his hands. He also tried the half flag (grasping handle while on knees, then extending one leg back) which was very difficult for him to coordinate. That will be great for strengthening his legs.
My last client was an adorable girl who was tired and not happy. she LOVED feeding toy bugs inside the sock I sewed inside the horse puppet. First we played off the horse, then my puppet told her he wanted to go ride- she cooperated. She also loved the pretend play of reaching in 2 point stand for the mommy animal picture, then reaching for the baby animal picture I stuck on the croup. She attached the baby to the back of the mommy picture with velcro. They are shown here. She was also able to independently pull the reins to stop in front of the next animal picture she wanted and do this sequence again.

Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L author of, The Recycling Occupational Therapist

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


lauren said...

what a great idea to sew a sock inside the puppet!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Feed the Puppet

I love working with occupational therapy students. One told me today that another therapist used a puppet- pretending to eat the little toy bugs the children placed inside the mouth. I loved that idea so I cut a slit inside this horse's mouth and sewed the open end of a sock so that children can insert food items and watch the horse munch.

The OT student also shared that the therapist plays a game called "oopsy daisy". She tells them that sometime when they least expect it she will give a little push and they have to be sure to stay balanced. then she sings a special oopsy daisy song which I can't quite remember. But what a versatile game that can be played in all different positions.

Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L author of, The Recycling Occupational Therapist

Hippotherapy Helps Child Walk

After 6 1/2 years of crawling and one year of hippotherapy.....

Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L author of, The Recycling Occupational Therapist

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wildlife in Florida

It was the coldest week I ever spent in Florida. But we had a good time filming wildlife in the park.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Hippotherapy promotes language

A great example of hippotherapy promoting language skills.
Great video from New Hampshire Horse Talk

Hippotherapy Research

Research Results indicate benefits of Hippotherapy

Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L author of, The Recycling Occupational Therapist