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Horse therapy summer camp for children with autism

Horse therapy summer camp for children with autism

The first ever Irish  Horse Boy  Therapy  residential summer camp for autistic children gets underway in Stradbally, Co Laois on July 25th.

Riding instructor Maggie Whelan who trained in the Horse Boy technique to help her own autistic son Merrick,  is now offering the therapy to other autistic children and their parents.

The three day residential camp will be run by three qualified riding instructors who are all mothers of autistic children and who are trained in the Horse Boy method and Equine Assisted Learning.

Apart from the horse therapy the camp will include nature trails, organic gardening, arts and crafts, dance and drama, drumming and camping.

It will also include an outing to Roll and Bowl or the swimming pool in Portlaoise as part of the camp farewell.

Maggie has used the Horse Boy method successfully with a group of autistic children through weekly riding sessions at her Stradbally home but this is the first residential camp.

She found the Horse Boy technique had a very calming affect on Merrick who has ADHD and Aspergers.

It has also helped other autistic children make great progress and one little girl in her riding classes who was non verbal has started speaking.

The Horse Boy technique  was developed by American Rupert Isaacson who noticed his own autistic son’s communication improved around horses.

The Isaacson’s travelled across the world to a Shamanic community in Mongolia – the oldest horse culture on the planet – to see if they could help Rowan.

Their experience led Rupert to set up the Horse Boy Foundation to teach other parents and autistic children about the benefits of working with horses.

The Stradbally horse therapy camp will run from the Monday afternoon to 5.30pm on the Wednesday.

The camp will cater for a maximum of six autistic children and their families are invited to come too.

One parent will be needed as a volunteer for each activity so that their child is relaxed and comfortable with each instructor.

The course costs €750 which covers all activities, organic meals and tents for two adults and up to three children per family.

A discount of €250 applies for one adult with one autistic child.

Families can bring their own caravan if they wish.

Maggie can be contacted through the Laois ARC Facebook page or Tel: 087-9217467

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