The Horse Whisperer: A Ride Of Healing
A kid staring blankly into space. A kid sitting alone while other kids his age happily play and laugh together. A kid that cannot express himself effectively and is unable to grasp others' input. A kid trapped in his own world - a world only he can come to know. You can imagine how terribly difficult it is to interact with someone who possesses these qualities; but for those with autistic children, it's an everyday affair.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), recent studies show that 1 in 150 8-year olds are autistic - and autism is no laughing matter. This disorder is characterized by an inability to interact and communicate effectively with others; what makes it all the more dreadful is its incurability. An autistic child will grow up to be an autistic adult so it is important that we learn how to deal with autism early on.
The Winslow Therapeutic Center in Warwick, NY introduces a new friend for people affected by the curse of autism - our powerful worker and The Lone Ranger's trusty sidekick, the horse. More than pulling wagons, horses can now ease the pain of autism both for the afflicted and his loved ones, thanks to therapeutic horseback riding. According to one of the center's volunteers, "Horses stimulate human body and motion at the normal walk. So what horses can do for children who can?t walk or need assistance walking, is they get that natural stimulation of the muscles moving."
Horses in the Winslow Therapeutic Center go through an intense selection process and undergo special training before becoming "therapeutic horses". They are trained to be more alert and not too jumpy; they aren't easily startled and are afraid of almost nothing. Riding these "special" horses brings a smile to an autistic person's lips, promotes camaraderie, and fosters healing. Step by step, the Winslow Therapeutic Center sees development in each of its patrons' physical, emotional, cognitive, and social well being.
People who have been to the center have nothing but good things to say about its staff and horses. Laura Toro, one of its satisfied clients, says that her son Keelan has shown improvements since he joined the center's animal-friendly therapy sessions.
Serving the public since 1974, the Winslow Therapeutic Center joins many other similar organizations in the fight against autism making sure that its victims do not suffer alone.