Our trip to the Horse Boy Camps in the UK

In the summer of 2017 my son, Max and I (a single, self employed mom) received a grant from the Horse Boy Foundation to go on a trip to the UK and visit two centres for a Horse Boy camp: New Leaf Triangle and Equine Learning CIC. A truly great opportunity for Max as well as for me as a Horse Boy Method and Movement Method trainee trainer and an autism parent.

Max is 8,5 and has Wiedemann Steiner Syndrome (http://www.wssfoundation.org/wiedemann-steiner-syndrome/). WSS is a broad spectrum genetic disorder which for Max results into a short stature, hypotonia, developmental delay, sensory processing disorder, feeding issues, dental abnormalities, anxiety, constipation, a strong autism component and some behavioural challenges. That being said, Max is an absolutely delightful child. He’s funny, loving and smart. He loves music, animals, trains, elevators and going to school. Though Dutch is his native language, he learned to speak English quite well through watching Peppa Pig and Ben and Holly’s little Kingdom. He thrives under one on one mentorship and surprises us daily.

Going on this trip was a big adventure. I must say, I felt a bit apprehensive about the flight, the whole camping-sleeping in tents-thing, the food being different, everything being different. Luckily our friend Laura, who happens to be a Horse Boy Practitioner joined us. Max was really excited about the train ride and the flight, but also a bit anxious. He was really scared during the flight, but we got through it. We had a rental car at our disposal, which made traveling more relaxed and less stressful for Max as well as for us.

At both locations the employees and volunteers were well prepared and created all kinds of fun and educational activities using Max’ interests and likes. The inviting atmosphere made us feel right at home and despite of some challenges we all had a great time.

The most important thing this whole trip brought was the realisation that Max is much stronger and more resilient than I thought. And you know what? So am I. We both got to experience our own adaptability and independence. It made our bond stronger and created possibilities and more freedom for his and our future. It made me a better parent. And we had so much fun. Laura being there with me and later also Laurence gave me some much needed hands free time.

Max is showing more functional social interaction, more functional play, less meltdowns and more functional verbal interaction. He gained more skills to manage his anxiety and faces most challenges head on.

Pretty safe to say it brought us a lot and we’re really grateful for the opportunity we were given.

Thank you.

New Leaf Triangle, Troy & Lorraine Shaw, staff and volunteers https://www.newleaftrianglecic.co.uk/

Equine Learning CIC, Nicola Hepburn, staff and volunteers https://www.equinelearning.org.uk/

Sincerely, Margje Vleck


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