Thursday, January 22, 2015

Kyle, Kyle, Ride and Smile

Kyle and Kaylie hand-in-hand at Hilltop Equestrian Center 

Life is different with Kyle. 

It’s a kind of different that many other families understand, though. And those are the families Jacob’s Fund serves. 

Kyle is one of “our kids;” he receives hippotherapy at Hilltop Equestrian Center in West Alexandria, Ohio. Kyle is 8-1/2, but his severe autism means he and his entire family are “stuck in toddlerhood.” He’s still nonverbal and, though a tall boy from two tall parents, he still needs his diapers changed. Unable to communicate, he often becomes frustrated.

Stressful? Yes. Challenging? Certainly. And to be honest, sometimes sad. But Kyle isn’t a burden, as his mom, Kelli explains. Her blog about life with Kyle is titled “Not Just Anyone” because Kyle is not just anyone, but an exceptional blessing.

Little sister, Kaylie, pushing Kyle in his stroller

Your support
So what has your support for this exceptional blessing meant over the last year and a half, and what does it mean as he continues hippotherapy at Hilltop Equestrian Center?

Well, we’re rooting for Kyle to become verbal, both for the delight of hearing him communicate and because it will greatly lower his frustration level. And since he’s been receiving hippotherapy, he’s begun to enjoy vocalization and he has started to refer to people and objects using the same vocalization each time. He’s also recently learned to wave “Bye.”

Hippotherapy reinforces Kyle’s learning at his new school for children with autism. Amy, his therapist, is excited about Kyle’s progress. “He’s made so much progress! Especially with sequencing and attention to task. Now we’re working on letter identification.”

Kyle and Dad

Kyle is delighted by his favorite videos, riding under bridges and through tunnels, eating pizza, laughing and screaming as his family makes calls on him with the referee penalty flag he got for Christmas. He enjoys his special needs Sunday School class (and the elevator ride he takes to get there). And he delights in giving hugs and affection, sitting on Mom and Dad’s laps. When Daddy tickles him and “wrestles” with him, his laughter delights his family as well.

And he’s a speed demon, always wanting his horse to go faster. Amy, his therapist, has had to change his horse because he needed more horsepower. 

Kyle’s progress is exciting. His continued hippotherapy is an essential part of his ability to make gains with verbal, mental, and musculoskeletal skills.

Your support helps Kyle move forward, be it with the great speed that Kyle loves to ride or in smaller increments. You play an important role as you continue to support Kyle and all our Jacob’s Fund kids.

We’d love to hear your ideas on how we can work together to reach more people like you, who support children with disabilities through hippotherapy and therapeutic riding. Just click on Post a Comment and give us your ideas.

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