Mary Cusack has been raising her son who has been suffering from autism for eight years. Her son suffers from repetitive hand movements, also known as “stimming,” that are commonly associated with his condition. If the hand movements are not treated and curbed, they can begin to interfere with his everyday life. However, the family was able to find a solution to the problem -therapeutic horseback riding. The reasons behind the treatment are not fully understood at this time, but his hand movements seem to disappear when he rides the horse.
“Stimming interferes with his abilities at school,” said Cusack. “But I always say, ‘Don’t worry, as soon as we get him back on the horse I can guarantee that for every month that he hasn’t been riding, it’s going to take one week and then we aren’t going to see the stim again.’”
It is an interesting take on how to treat the condition. There are many treatments available to help lessen the repetitive hand movements that are normally associated with autism. Cusack’s father said that the therapeutic horse riding is the “one therapy we would never give up.”
In the program, children will have one session per week and will horseback ride indoor and outdoor ring at a varied pace with the same horse every time. Allowing the children to bond with the horse is a big part of the program. They are also accompanied by a trained instructor and a volunteer to ensure that the children remain safe during their ride.