Communication Through Body Language and Touch
The entire last school year I have spent volunteering at Horses for Hope at Grays Harbor Fair Ground. This program is affiliated with 4-h through the University of Washington extension office in Grays Harbor. Its membership is reserved for children with IEP’s in the local school district.
The people that participate have challenges. Sometimes the challenges are physical, communication, or learning. Quiet often it’s physical, verbal, and neurological.
For a short time on a horse the children are free. Through the language of touch an agreement is formed based of mutual respect. These majestic gentle giants bring great joy, freedom, and acceptance.
While waiting for the riders to go through I often was given a chance to visit with these warrior parents. More often than not the expressions of fatigue were present. The time for the rides is from 6 to 730. The parents would get off work make dinner and bring the children to the rides. When speaking with parents, the fatigue turned into a spark of excitement that grew as they explained what these rides meant.
Child behavior changes
The rides had a lasting effect in the quality of life improvement that lasted 5 to 7 days. The change was noticed in the school setting. The observed improvements were in behavior; concentration, social interaction the classroom setting. The children who were hitting and kicking parents out of frustration at the beginning left calm and happy after the ride was done.