Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Counting and Number Recognition

An almost 3 year old didn't want to put his helmet on today (which was unusual) so we walked on the trail with me handing him toy animals to position along the route. His twin brother was able to then find the toys and put them in a bag as he rode his horse. After 15 minutes my little guy not only mounted and rode-he picked up the numbers that I named, out then in a container and then imitated me as I clapped the corresponding number of times (using only the 1,2,3,4, and 5). I was very impressed.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Squeezing clothespins is a great activity to strengthen fingers and develop coordination between the index and middle fingers and thumb. Pulling the pins off the mane is a fun way to engage in squeezing pins and it doesn't hurt the horse! Notice all the postural control my almost six year old client is demosntrating as he reaches for the pins.

Lots of arena designing this week at DivinityFarm as I attached my home made (knit out of trash bags) basket for tossing activities. I have a bag of weirdly textured balls (i.e. koosh, squishy etc) all ready to use.

I made this stop sign out of a red manilla folder. I figure the octagon red shape with the word STOP is pretty basic in terms of learning to read, learn about danger and follow directions to pull/reins and stop. It will be interesting to see if our work during hippotherapy helps one of my clients learn to recognize and respond to the word STOP.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bearing weight on forearms while supine with knees bent

I have never worked on this postion, but it looks great for weight bearing and at the same time the rider can work on head control while looking around.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Motor Planning to Rake

Today was the first time I had an opportunity to involve a client in raking manure. I did the raking but had him place both hands on the pole and he did most of the lifting to reach the wheelbarrow. This 6 year old on the spectrum has low tone, postural control and body awareness. He started leaning on me while mounting the steps and when I moved away he collapsed onto the ground. So it would be fantastic for his body awareness to independently shovel and I think he understood why this needed to be done.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wind Up toys

I came across this little wind up horse and thought- what a great fine motor skill to work on with the 3-4 year olds. I found that I could also work on using the hands together to hold the plate while the horse is dancing. This took some bilateral coordination and postural control while stitting on the stationary horse. but watching thehorse dance was very stiulating and motivational.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Pointing the Way

Hippotherapy is a great treatment tool used to teach children how to point. I began working with a new six year old client this weak who has autism. He knows how to point but seems to not want to bother doing it. He is quickly learning that I stop the horse movement when he ignores my directions and that he gets rewarded with trots when he communicates. I stopped the horse in a position so that he had a choice of pointing to go up a hill (which he likes) or into a fence and I modelled pointing up the hill. He is able to clearly indicate what he wants by lifting his arm up high and pointing. At other times he tried to get away with a tiny index finger point while holding onto the handle. This was only his second lesson, so I think he will learn that if he wants the horse to move, I want a really clear cut arm in the air point. We will work on both pointing to go places and pointing to choose and remove pictures from a velcro board.

These same principles of demanding that the child work to the best of his ability is beautifully elaborated in the book The Verbal Behavior Approach. Mary Barbera explains that once the child demonstrates the ability to articulate words, we should never settle for sloppy approximations. I also strive to have the child increase the volume so that the horse can hear "go" and other directions.