Sometimes therapy services reach far beyond a doctor’s office.
“Stars and Strides is therapeutic equine center. We work with children and adults who have cognitive, physical, social struggles. Most of our children are on the autism spectrum. We also work with children with down syndrome and a fair amount of our children are victims of trauma,” said Rebecca Flanagan, executive director.
Stars and Strides Therapeutic Equine Center is a non profit organization that uses animals to connect to children and adults on all levels.
“It is a physical and emotional connection. Some of the children we actually do activities that will improve their fine motor or their balance or their strength. And a lot of it is communication,” explained Flanagan.
Flanagan said the connection children make with the horses can be immediate.
“He wouldn’t make eye contact and we was very disinterested any anything but the minute he sat on the horse his demeanor changed and within a few minutes of being on the horse he started engaging and he started reaching forward to touch the horse and was laughing and clapping,” said Flanagan when describing a child’s reaction to the therapy.
Flanagan added that at Stars and Strides one of the biggest things that people can do to get involved is volunteer their time.
“The biggest requirement we have is the people who just assist with keeping the child safe on the horse,” said Flanagan.
Stars and Strides will host its biggest fundraiser of the year next Saturday on March 24. For information on ways to donate and get involved with the organization, visit the Stars and Strides website.