Monday, May 2, 2011

Theraputic Riding

Since moving to Oklahoma and researching the different therapies available for Little Bean (diagnosed with Autism), we have had to get a little creative. There are a ton of really nice therapy places that offer social skills therapy, ABA, occupational therapy, but unfortunately, they are all WAY on the other side of town. Well, technically, the town over from the other side of town. ;) We kind of live on the older side of town, so I'm guessing it's just not the place for young families to be, which is where the therapy would be too. :(

While therapy is important to Little Bean's progress, I have to also be realistic about our lifestyle and how far I am willing to travel for therapy. Of course cost is a factor as well, and so we really can't make too many decisions until our permanent insurance kicks in this summer. This move has been good in that it has forced me to research ALL the different therapies available because there was no one like a therapist or social worker to give me recommendations. We are putting together a plan that I think will be great for all involved. So we are just starting out in our path to find the right therapy for him, that both is beneficial and allows us to maintain our peaceful (aka not hectic) lifestyle.
To start, Little Bean will be going to a therapeutic riding class--yes, horseback riding! Therapeutic horseback riding is great for children, teens and adults with all different kinds of problems, from Down Syndrome and Autism to Cerebral Palsy. The center we are going to serves over 180 children in the OKC area a semester! The only sad part is that because Little Bean is "so high-functioning" he is not able to have a regular slot in the class--he is an alternate that only gets to go when the regular kids are absent. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad he is "high-functioning"and am thankful for him being at least an alternate, but I think there is the mistaken notion that just because a child is mobile and verbal that they don't have as many "problems" or struggles as other children who are non-verbal. Being able to get along socially, control your emotions, control your impulses and make friends is just as important in my mind as learning to talk. I mean no disrespect to families who have a child who is non-verbal or has a physical disability, but I do feel sad that it seems to be the case that because Little Bean is so intelligent that his problems get underplayed and he then becomes less able to receive therapy that he NEEDS. We ran into the same thing with our last insurance company when it came to occupational therapy. Because sensory issues aren't "medical", he doesn't qualify for occupational therapy because only "medically necessary" OT is allowable. So he was only allowed 5 sessions of OT. Not much, and certainly not enough to help him overcome his sensory issues. I feel the same way about that; sensory issues are just as big a deal as being able to write legibly or throw a ball. At least with the therapeutic riding, he is getting some practice with occupational skills and with social skills, even if it isn't regular at this point.

We can hope and pray that this center will have a regular opening for him in the summer, or that another center that offers the same service will pull his name off the wait list. Until then, we can only be thankful for what is offered to him.

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