.... the one thing stu and I could not do alone. At this time I began to think about movie I had seen years ago. I so loved the story and wondered why aren't there any therapists who are outdoors with these kids?
Why can't my kid just lay on a horse or explore a farm? Why aren't we outside playing and talking and building life experiences that are joyful and help encourage more interactions like that? Why are therapists in big scary city buildings with about a million and one things along the way that are triggers for most sensory sensitive kids? One night exhausted from my online search I thought whatever I'm just gonna watch horse boy again and relax. I googled the movie and up popped horse boy method. I nearly fell out of my seat. What's this? A parent of autism having created a place of healing and joyful interaction and exploration for children on the spectrum? And even more so proven methods to help with speech that have nothing to do with putting my child through some trumatic exercise? I watched a few you tubes and was sold. This is it I thought. I reached out by email and when I received the reply it included a packet that asked first and foremost what are Indys interests? We want to create a space based on his favorite things. I couldn't help but smile. These people understood, these people cared first and foremost about Indy not "treating autism". We decided to book several play dates and set about getting a rental home in Texas for a month.
I am sitting here in that rental home now, we have three play dates a week at Ruperts families ranch. The experience has been everything I hoped it would be. Vanda, the lead therapist on Indys team has been amazing. She is so gentle, loving and playful in her approach with Indy and with all of us as a family. On our first day Indy painted Clue's (Indys horsey friend) belly and mommy and daddy too! We laughed and played and explored and in the two hours we were there Indy never once asked us to leave, something he normally always does when strangers are around and in close proximity.
Now when we hop out of the car Indy runs out to wave and greet Vanda. He loves to throw dirt at Emily his other buddy and he even casts the odd smile here and there to Jordy and Alex. These are the first people ever to become a part of Indys inner circle and life. He loves them for respecting him as a person, for learning his language and for Taking the time to join him in his world. If you are wondering if Indy now speaks a lot the answer is no he doesn't. What he does now do is happily take Emily's hand during a walk in the woods or trust Vanda to swing him over a muddy puddle. He has ridden a horse and pet a bunny and is for the first time trusting and interacting with many other people rather than just me and his dad. His world has grown. He has been babbling and giggling even more at home and he laughs out loud when we mention Vanda's name in conversations. These wonderful people are a part of Indys tribe now.To me this is all a million times more important than coughing out actual words. Indy is discovering the joys of social interaction and I have no doubt that in time this will play a key component in his language skills.
I hope anyone whose life has been touched by autism takes the time to visit and learn about the incredible work going on at the horse boy method ranch.