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Anybody taken their children to horse boy camp (ASD)?

(43 Posts)
clpsmum Mon 29-Oct-12 22:57:22

Thinking about doing this and wondered if anybody else had tried it and their thoughts on it

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 29-Oct-12 23:05:43

My thoughts are that his film and story was not about horses, nor his conclusion.

The horse thing is a business built on the back of it. Having said that, the charity arm does seem to be impressive and I certain,y believe in a potential for a therapeutic effect.

CwtchesAndCuddles Tue 30-Oct-12 18:04:58

I've read the book and watched the film but not done one of the camps.

I'm still not sure how I feel about it - it seemed to me that spending time with their child through a shared interest was the key thing that led to the changes.

If a child has an interest in horses I'm sure it would be helpful but I couldn't see myself doing it with my son.

saintlyjimjams Tue 30-Oct-12 18:18:24

We did it, but before it was run by Gillian - it's changed a lot since then.

It was lovely to camp with 5 other families of severely autistic kids (and our camp was mainly severely affected kids) although I felt sorry for the parents of the 3 year old seeing what lay ahead. Ds2 (NT) LOVED it. He did not want to go (hates horses) and cried when he left.

We're still in touch with the organisers - one in particular, and a family that were there at the same time, we met up a few times this summer (despite being opposite ends of the country). In fact for that boy it has led to a lot more horse contact - he rides really well now.

For ds1, not so much, but horses have never really been his thing. To me horse boy camps are an outdoors camp accessible even to those with severe autism. We couldn't go on a typical horse camp but we could do a horse boy one. I have some photos somewhere - will link later when I'm back on a computer.

AMumGoingMad Tue 30-Oct-12 20:34:26

Its not the same in that its not a camp but its similar. My ds does horse therapy on a weekly basis and has been going for a year or so. He goes to a place that is like a small holding and he has a 1.5hour 1:1 session. In that time he rides and he also cares for all the other animals there and does other jobs about the place. All initiated by him as well. When he started going he spent most of the time getting within 1m of an animal and then pelting in the other direction screaching. He did sit on the horse then but that was it. It became that he spent about 70% of the time careing for all the other animals (feeding / petting / cleaning out etc) and 30% riding after about a month. Now he is at about 50:50. He gets so much out of going. He had poor balance before and was sustaining quite bad injuries (concusions, broken arms) because of it. Now his balance is like most other 6yr olds. He self saves now as well which he didn't used to. His physio has noticed massive improvements. Socially he's starting to apply the rules of social engagement he's learning around the animals in the playground so he doesn't hit or bite as much and doesn't run off screaching as much. He's beginning to start to understand his emotions and more surprisingly understand that his actions affect others emotion. We notice his behaviour deteriorate when he doesn't get to go for his weekly session.

saintlyjimjams Tue 30-Oct-12 20:40:02

some photos (and click through the next few days as well as there are more.

DS1 doesn't really relate to horses, but regular surfing has had some of the effects described by amumisgoingmad for ds1.

I think there are different reasons for going on something like a horse boy camp, and they're going to be different for different families. We didn't go in order to treat autism really, we went to have a family holiday that was accessible to all three boys where the activities were set up for ds1. We're hoping to do the same sort of thing next year with the Calvert Trust.

Ineedalife Tue 30-Oct-12 21:26:53

Amazing pics saintly your boys are gorgeous. They look so happy.

I thought of you when Dd3 and I went away with the canoe club and two lovely chaps took Dd3 surfing on their stand up paddle boards. She absolutely loved it.
[Sorry for the hijack clps]

We are hoping to try riding soon with her too.

saintlyjimjams Tue 30-Oct-12 21:58:58

Glad she liked the SUPing smile

bialystockandbloom Tue 30-Oct-12 22:43:24

Is this the thing championed by that dad (can't his name) claiming his son had been 'cured' by spending time with some horses and shamen in Mongolia or somewhere? Was widely promoted a few years back. Or have I got this totally confused?

I was always sceptical about that ^ ^ but this, on face value, looks lovely, especially seeing your pics and description jimjams - and if nothing else a weekend in relaxed, understanding surroundings with experts helping a child to ride sounds good.

lisad123 Tue 30-Oct-12 23:29:59

We did weekly horse riding therapy with the girls, it made a difference to dd1 mainly but only while she was there sad
Her horse died and we haven't been able to get her to go back since sad

saintlyjimjams Tue 30-Oct-12 23:35:57

I don't think Rupert ever claimed it cured Rowan - don't think it did anyway although he may be calmer with horses in his life. Although he was keen to meet the healers and take the journey - who knows how much of that was for the film though?

I do think of it like surfing. Surfing has completely changed ds1's life, in ways I would never have forseen. It's had a profound and (touch wood) lifelong affect on his life (and mine too tbh). But he's still as severely autistic at the end of a surf as he is at the beginning.

Warning - because this links to a blog and I know not everyone wants to read blogs, but I have written about this before wrt surfing, and I think things like horse boy/horse riding etc are the same.

ProjectVangard Wed 31-Oct-12 07:53:38

To all Lambeth, Wandsworth, Southwark parents interested, we are a group of parents working with Lambeth and the National Autistic Society to set up a secondary school for children on the autism spectrum. Focus on skills for life through active partnerships with the community. If you have an interest, we would love to hear from you.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 31-Oct-12 11:23:22

I'd be possibly interested, but keen on evidence-based approaches. Will this be your approach?

bialystockandbloom Wed 31-Oct-12 15:21:17

Ah I remember hearing him on R4 some years ago - perhaps time has clouded my memory but I thought that's how it was presented. But maybe it was just cos it was on Woman's Hour which I find teeth-grindingly inane much of the time anyway grin

Every time I see you mention the surfing jimjams I wish we lived by the coast. We spent a week in South Pool last year and went to Bigbury a couple of times, it's gorgeous.

bialystockandbloom Wed 31-Oct-12 15:21:51

ProjectVanguard how do we get in touch? Do you have a website or anything where we could find more info?

saintlyjimjams Wed 31-Oct-12 15:50:36

I think it's what happens when you get involved with the media baily. For example the article linked to in my blog. I wasn't asked about surfing as 'therapy' and had I been I would have worded my response very carefully, but the article has been written as if I am presenting a case for surfing as an autism-therapy. Something can be life changing without affecting the severity of autism at all - I think this is something journalists would struggle to understand! grin

Strongecoffeeismydrug Wed 31-Oct-12 16:12:10

DS is scared of horses,but if ever there's a tiger camp DS names at the top of the list smile

bochead Wed 31-Oct-12 16:56:21

Another one interested but ONLY if the pedagogy is going to be properly evidence based (eg 5P approach, ABA) and not more of the same ol' god awful "eclectic" crap that is often just very expensive baby sitting posing as "education" I've seen so far.

The same goes for staffing. I'd expect to see a HUGE commitment to ongoing staff training as a matter of course for all staff. Preferably with organisations such as ambitous about autism, who as I see it are currently leading the field in providing cost effective useful training to school staff.

moondog Wed 31-Oct-12 19:00:48

My view reflects Jimjams. These things are great for what they are.
The problems start when people describe them or expect them to be mysterious 'therapies'.

There's been a disquieting vogue for this in the SEN industry.
Rebound therapy = messing about on a trampoline
Sensory room therapy = shut away in a very expensive padded cell.

It makes sense that all of this stuff is good for humans and that there may be added benefits for kids who find interaction and communication difficult.
I find my runs beneficial. They cost nothing and I wear old ripped running tights and ancient trainers. I don't need an expensive training regime and all the other whistles and bells that go with it.

I am interested in this but mainly because my parents lived in Mongolia. Their take on meetings with the shamans is amusing. The mother came to our university. I din't meet her but colleagues did.

I am in contact with a PhD studenit in the field of ABA who is carrying out some very interesting research into what might be loosely termed 'equine therapy'.

saintlyjimjams Wed 31-Oct-12 19:56:21

I suspect some of the drive to turn these issues into therapies is because you can then apply for grants etc. Tbh that isn't always necessary. We managed to get our council to fund 4 surf sessions for ds1's respite centre last summer because they have a budget specifically for activities for disabled kids. The only evidence the council needed was that a) it was fun and b) there were willing punters

mymatemax Wed 31-Oct-12 20:08:07

We are still looking for ds2's "thing" something that he cna enjoy, egage in. get pleasure from, relax doing, get excited by... any of the above.
I'm not sure initially its about the activity as such, but the experience has to be right for the child in order to get them going back.

We've tried horseriding, swimming, karate, kitedancing/flying group, forest group. etc etc.
if ds2 had taken to any one of them then i'm sure we would of viewed it as a therpay as much as a hobby as with autsim any engagement & interest is a way to develop other skills.
No different for ds1 (nt) really, he would sooner read a book about football than anything else yet we dont view his love of football as therapy, as we are not so desperate to help his development.
Not sure if any of that makes sense , but I know what i mean confused

moondog Wed 31-Oct-12 20:15:34

Makes perfect sense Mymate (as does Jimjams comment about funding).
What happens in forest group?
Why did nothing take do you think?
Every kid can blow hot and cold about stuff.
Mine do karate and I think it has been utterly brilliant for them.
Calms down the loud impulsive one and boosts the confidence of the quieter dreamy one.
They still moan and groan sometimes but they understand it is a commitment.
(That might be harder to convine a child with less language about but it could be circumvented with some careful planning.)

Being part of a group/crowd/gang is a good feeling.

mymatemax Wed 31-Oct-12 21:07:29

Forest group, they make camps out of branches, climb about, forage, look under logs, in swampy bits. Just a bit of an outdoorsy tree huggy sort of group where you can be as involved or not as you like.

I think Moondog, all are the activities are things we have taken him to for him to try, he has never initiated any. He would sooner stay at home, he doesnt see going out as an enjoyable experience.
Some of the activities we have presevered thorugh tears & tantrums in the hope he would get to enjoy it, others we have tried the gently breakign him in to it approach.

In the end it comes down to he really really doesnt want to go and its meant to be for enjoyment.
So hes 10 now and still just goes to school and comes home and has no outside interest whatsover or no desire to spend a moment longer outside the home.
I'm not sure its the fact that he hates the activity just that he likes being at home more.

mymatemax Wed 31-Oct-12 21:08:37

sorry about the spelling and the gibberish grammar

moondog Wed 31-Oct-12 21:12:27

That sounds great( I am thinking completely of myself mind you).
Some people are homebirds.
I suppose it depends on whether that is perceived by you ando thers as a problem.

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