Sensory processing issues can make life tough! We expect kiddos to learn through 1 or 2 senses...usually....visual & auditory.
We've been taught about the basic 5 senses; visual, auditory, olfactory, taste, and touch. What about vestibular and proprioception? The Vestibular sense gives us information about where our head and body are in space. It keeps
us upright! Proprioception is body awareness in space, it helps us to not crash into each other in line, or crush an egg while holding it. Can you think of kiddos who are really struggling here? If they are tapping their foot, trying to get out of their desk to meet their sensory needs, how can they focus strictly on visual and auditory spelling words being taught? What about engaging this sensory system in an organic motivating way [HORSES]?
When children experience something it builds a pathway in their brains. If one sense is used in learning, one sensory system is activated in the brain. If more than one is activated, multiple sensory systems are activated! We want our kiddos to use MULTIPLE senses and form MULTIPLE connections! It makes these pathways more accessible, and makes learning and comprehending EASIER for our kiddos!
SO HOW CAN HORSES HELP?
Riding on a horse provides intense vestibular, proprioceptive and tactile stimulation-as the rider experiences up and down (vertical) movements, side to side (lateral movements) and diagonal movements in response to the horse’s gait (Smith, 2020). The movements are also patterned and repetitive allows us to feel safe.
Smith, B. (2020). Hippotherapy: How a horse helps children with sensory processing disorders. https://2019.recyclingot.com/how-hippotherapy-promotes-hand-skills/#.Y8hFVHbMLic