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"The Barn Cat"
I have known "J" since his birth. He is a very bright child with a severe speech and language barrier that prevents him from communicating with others. He has apraxia. I consulted with his speech language pathologist (SLP) to continue the same type of program that she had been using. "J’s" SLP gave her blessing. I talked with "J’s" family and we began riding lessons in June of 2016. "J" was saying limited single words and for the most part not understood by family or friends. However, by October of 2016, "J" has advanced to saying three word sentences with meaning.
I have been a speech language therapist for 36 years in the Ada public schools. I began volunteering at Leap O Faith because I grew up with horses and wanted to combine my love of teaching speech and riding. I have worked for years the traditional way with other children before seeing these same type of results that "J" is having in so short a time. He will ride for an hour, totally engaged in the lesson. He has gone from not saying anything, to signing, to now saying, “Walk on” in only 5 months! When I heard him say, “Walk on” for the first time I wanted to dance, cry, and leap for joy all at the same time. Lately, he has advanced to saying, “Me ride Red” (one of the therapy horses) or “My Ted” (one of the volunteers.) I believe it is the action of riding or the natural crisscross pattern of the horse’s steps they helped "J's" motor planning with his apraxia. While he is riding, he is bombarded with a phonetic sound that his SLP has assigned for the week. I know each individual is different but "J's" progress is truly a miracle!
Speech Language Therapist
When "L" was four years old, she was diagnosed with anxiety, depression, conversion disorder, PTSD, and Trichotillamania. She was very clingy and would cry when being dropped-off at school as recently as this past year. "L" also had no eyelashes or eyebrows due to her pulling them out to cope with her feelings.
Then I heard about the Leap O' Faith program in Ada for kids with disabilities that used horses to help them cope with their disabilities. This program, and Kathy in particular, have been such a blessing for "L". She is off her medications, her eyelashes are growing back, and best of all, she smiles all the time now!
Leap O' Faith and Kathy have done what other therapies have not and given "L" her life back.