An Autistic Son
A couple of one of CANTER’s students approached us and requested to speak at one of volunteer training sessions. When introduced, the father talked about how hard it was on the family to adjust to an autistic son. He said that their son didn’t say his first words until he was five and while gaining some additional words, he still wasn't communicating at eight years old as he entered a new school. After their son had been at the school for a month and a half, their son came home one Wednesday and seemed to be trying to communicate. The father looked for signs the following day, but there were none. On the following Wednesday, their son came home and again seemed to be trying to communicate. The next day he called the school and asked if they had been doing something new on Wednesday’s. They stated that they had started taking their son to CANTER's Therapeutic Riding Center the last two Wednesday’s. The father stated his embarrassment that the referenced call had happened three years previously. Having said that, he wanted us to know that even though their son’s communication skills continued to improve, CANTER Wednesdays remain the best days they have their son, which is why they had also been having their son participate in our summer program. He went on the say that he knew of many such stories among the families with CANTER students. While CANTER works with all forms of disabilities, autistic students communicate better riding a horse, based somewhat on the reality that while fun, riding a horse is also somewhat scary, which causes autistic students to better focus on the present and communicate with their therapeutic riding team. This is one of many good news stories about the benefits of Therapeutic Horseback Riding.