I started riding with a Therapeutic Horseback riding program called “One Step at a Time.” I started riding because I enjoyed watching my sister ride, and it seemed challenging and fun. Jo Wood was my riding instructor. Working with horses helped to increase my self-confidence, and self-esteem. I also developed better relationships with people. I improved my social skills as well as riding. I also found a connection with an amazing animal that was very forgiving. Horseback riding became my passion. I rode with Jo for seven years. I participated in the Special Olympics, for Bucks County. Everyone at the Special Olympics has some type of disability, and find joy in doing what they love. The smiles are like nothing you can imagine. It just opens your heart up to people.
I not only participated in the Special Olympics as an athlete, but I went as a volunteer in 2009. I worked with many of the athletes. I helped the athletes get ready for bed at night, and I talked to ...
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...be able to step out of your own shoes, and walk in theirs. There is no manual, to working with children with special needs. Every child is different. You cannot pick and choose who you want to work with. You take what you get. You need to have control of your own emotions, and feelings. If you mess up, or become unfocused, there are going to be consequences. You need to be patient, and take each moment as it comes. You also have to be able to plan, ahead of time. You need different activities, and learning tools. Most of all working with special needs kids you need to have compassion. You need to set aside your own life and own problems and put all of yourself in to what you are doing. It is difficult, because sometimes you just want to do it yourself, because its easier. The point is to teach these children how to live, and accept themselves for who they are.
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