Angelmans' Syndrome is a chromosomal disorder in which part of Chromosome #15 is missing. Generally children with Angelmans' Syndrome are non verbal and very energetic. These children need a lot of movement stimulation which is provided by the movement of the horse.
Because Angelmans' Children are so energetic, the warmth of the horses' body along with the rhythmic movement of the animal is very calming to these children. The sensory stimulation sent to the brain offer a kind of "organizing" affect in the attention of the kids. Many times children with Angelmans' Syndrome will have low muscle strength in the torso as well as weak head control when they are young. The gentle movement of the horse helps the children work their weak muscles and gain strength in those areas.
One of my students has Angelmans' Syndrome. Each lesson she arrives at REINS with an enormous smile on her face eager to ride. As she rides we play with bumpy balls and musical toys that will stimulate her tender touch and animated personality. As the horse settles into a rhythmic gait, he offers her the brain stimulation she needs to try and focus on the task at hand. Each lesson she finishes by giving her horse a yummy treat of carrots and leaves with an even bigger smile on her face than when she arrived. Over the years her strength and control has improved more than I ever thought possible. For 5 years her mothers Christmas wish was to see her daughter walk. Last year she got her Christmas wish, her daughter at the age of 8 finally took her first steps. I am again reminded of the miracles horses give their riders here at REINS.
Kaitlyn Swenson is a NARHA Certified Instructor and has been an Instructor at REINS for over 6 years.
Written by Kaitlyn Swenson Last Updated on Thursday, March 04, 2010