Benefits of Skill Building and Goal Setting for Children with Disabilities

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“No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.” This is a quote from Anthony Robins, an American life coach, self-help author and motivational speaker. Children with disabilities are often frustrated with the amount of mistakes it may take before they see progress.
Children who are at risk are finding success with physical and emotional issues through the equestrian exercises. Therapeutic horseback riding reflects the successful treatment of children with disabilities. This paper will discuss the benefits of skill building and goal setting. It will also explore the physical benefits therapeutic horseback riding has on disabled children.
The family of a new rider and the instructor decide on what goals a child with disabilities can reach. These goals would be like improving posture or increasing speech fluency. Goals vary from child to child as a way to meet their specific goals. “Bobby” stutters. Therapeutic horseback riding can help him by riding a horse around the arena and calling out the numbers that are posted as he passes them. Sammy, a six year old with cerebral palsy, has a goal of sitting up straight. Her goal is to stay on the horse without aid from support staff. As she progresses, Sammy is instructed to move certain body parts that will test her balance.
Finding out each child’s weaknesses helps improve goal setting because goals are based on what they need improved. Beth Fox, director, stated, “We consult with the rider, caregiver, or family member, and determine the goals – cognitive, physical, social, emotional – and then set up the lesson accordingly” (“Horse Riding”). Goals gives the kids something to work for. They feel accom...

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... a sense of accomplishment and they feel as they can do anything they can set their mind to. Students also gain respect for their peers, animals, and the volunteers while riding horse.
When looking at ones physical weaknesses one must know that for every different disability, there are multiple different ways one can be treated for it while being involved with therapeutic horseback riding and each different exercise can be helpful in a different way for each individual.
The mental impairments a child may have can successfully be helped greatly by therapeutic horseback riding, while riding one may learn to speak certain words they have not been able to before, or could even help a stutter or a lisp.
Horses in the wild live in small herds, and domestic horses feel more comfortable if they have companions too. It can be quite stressful for a horse to live alone.

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