Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Dumped from Hippotherapy


Two letters came in the mail, one for Masha and one for Kimani. Masha’s letter welcomed her back to the spring session of hippotherapy and invited us to set up her riding day/time...

The other letter informed us that "it has been determined that your child could benefit from a break at this time due to safety issues. You may reenroll at a later date if it is determined that Kimani is able to demonstrate safety necessary to be in the arena and on the horses."



I am crushed. This is a program designed for kids with special needs. Aside from pool therapy which ended with pre-K, this is the only therapy that Kimani has shown interest in and even clearly enjoyed. And she benefited greatly from it. We saw her begin to use her right hand, as well as begin talking again. She would get so excited when horse day arrived. She’d bring me her horseback-riding PECs card and her shoes. She would vocalize all the way to the barn and back.

I am angry. How dare they dump her because she requires more support, more effort on their part. This is not about safety but rather about her being a lot of work. She never did anything wrong toward the horses (other than try to eat their after-ride snacks). She never ran off in the arena. And though she sometimes leans to one side while on the horse, she never jumped off or threw herself off the horse. And how the heck are we supposed to “demonstrate safety necessary” if she has no horse to practice with?

Yes I am going to try to change their minds. Yes I am going to try to find another program. But damn, I am tired of fighting the “normal” system and now I have to fight for her in the “special needs” system too? And the reality is that she probably will not be able to get back into this program or any other hippotherapy program any time soon.

10 comments:

I Just Love You said...

oh sweet girl. sweet, girl. i am so sad.

Anonymous said...

So sad for Kimani - I know how she loves this therapy.

~D

Alyssa Pantilieris said...

This makes me angry. How can therapy for children with special needs deem that her needs are "too special" to warrant help. I'm seething for you, but I know if anyone fights hard for her children it is you. Fight hard wonderful mama, fight hard. Xoxo alyssa

Sandie Flannery said...

This infuriates me!!! I'm tired that only the 'good' kids with disabilities are allowed to participate in programs!!!I know exactly how you feel! I helped a local special needs residential camp (Camp NJ Jaycees) start a day program after years of paying residential fees for Jillian to attend only during the day! Last year they informed us THE DAY JILL"S DAD SHOWED UP WITH HER that she required TOO MUCH supervision to BENEFIT from being there!!! The Camp is between her Dad's house and mine. She passes it every day and twists her neck and vocalizes as we pass. She loves the lake, the boats and watching the other campers!! Who is to say that she is not benefitting!! We had just lost our son and had no fight in us!! This year I down loaded the applications and am prepared for a fight!!! I am so sorry for you and Kimani.!! Oh and to add insult to injury- the Jaycees had given me a scholarship back in 1972 to attend the University of Florida and major in special ed!!!! Just because some of our kids don't all progress the way they'd like doesn't mean they are not entitled to the same therapies and recreational activities as the other kids!! AHHHHHHH!!!!

Kiki said...

So very very very unfair! You should definitely ask for specifics on how *exactly* Kimani demonstrated *unsafe* behavior on a horse.

(My bloggy friend who blogs at Days of Wonder and Grace has a little girl with CP who does hippotherapy -- despite the fact that it took nearly 6 months to get Joy sit on the horse for 30 consecutive minutes!).

Anna Theurer said...

I am angry and heartbroken for Kimani. Seriously? Safety issues? They sent it by letter?! I would ask for some documentation on these so-called "safety" issues. I don't get it. . . I thought that this type of therapy was for those with special needs. I just don't understand and if I don't understand, Kimani won't understand either :(

Kim Ludwig-Sharpe said...

Not cool...I am surprised that they would not talk with you first about their concerns...this seems very impersonal and unprofessional...I am not sure I would want to stay with that program...but I would want to stand up for my girl and make them see their flawed thinking...I am bummed for Kimani and her needs and desires...and I feel for you...this must be tough and rough and makes my heart hurt...hugs

Becca said...

Whoa...that makes me angry, too. Unbelievable! I hope you push back, HARD. I'm so sorry you have to go through this, and that Kimani can't do what she clearly loves and benefits from. :-(

Tara said...

The therapist in me is irate! And I'm so sad for you. I get it. We fight all the time in the real world. How dare they make us fight in the special needs one, too!

Astrin Ymris said...

Has it occurred to you that the underlying issue could be liability? If it takes two people to keep her on the horse, they may be worried about the possibility of Kimani getting injured by a split second of human distraction right when something startles the horse. In fact, their insurance provider could be the one who ordered her booted from the program.

Perhaps this could be addressed by getting Kimani a specialized saddle and safety equipment that is appropriate for her needs? I know hippotherapy is provided for kids with cerebral palsy, so the gear must exist.

Here's hoping something can be worked out!

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