My son Max has weekly hippotherapy since age 2. Please support my run to help change the lives of more children in NY by giving them access to services and show that we believe in Ability. Read on for more about Max.
It's so hard to believe that our little boy, Max Alexander, is about to turn five, and even harder to believe what he has achieved!
Max was born with a condition called congenital ptosis, which meant he was unable to open his left eye because the lid had scar tissue where there should have been muscle. The same condition affected his right eye less severely, causing it to droop. Max has had three surgeries and will likely need another when he is bigger. Max also has childhood apraxia of speech (CAS- a motor speech disorder), hypotonia (low muscle tone), and gross & fine motor delays. Since putting his surgeries behind us when Max was a year and a half, we have focused on treating Max's apraxia. Apraxia is an uncommon disorder. Children with CAS have problems saying sounds, syllables, and words, not because of muscle weakness or paralysis but because the brain cannot plan the coordination of oral motor muscles needed to produce the sounds of speech. The affected child knows what he or she wants to say, but his/her brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say those words. Max was almost two when he started saying "hi" and for many months, that remained his only word even as his gesturing became more complex. Now Max can say full sentences, but he needs to skip “little words” like articles and conjunctions.
Max has therapy 7 days a week, and one of the therapies that has had a tremendous impact on his life is hippotherapy with a speech and language pathologist. Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational, or speech therapy treatment approach that utilizesriding to develop and enhance neurological and physical functioning by channeling the movement of the horse. Did you know that when you are on horse-back, the horse's walking gait imparts movement responses remarkably similar to normal human gait? The horse provides a dynamic base of support that increases trunk strength, control, balance, and endurance. The effects of horse movement can be used to facilitate coordination and timing, grading of responses, respiratory control, and other skills. For those with primarily communication and auditory processing problems, the horse also offers a unique companion and an extremely motivating reason to communicate. To be able to stop a huge horse with a simple command “whoa” is an unparalleled experience for children like Max.
If you are still reading, thank you for reading this far!!
In tribute to Max, I serve on the board of GallopNYC and have made it my mission to help the organization provide access to hippotherapy and therapeutic riding services to children with disabilities who come from low-income families. GallopNYCprovides full or partial fee waivers to over 80% of the children who ride with GallopNYC.
On April 28, I will run the New Jersey Half Marathon in support of GallopNYC. Please help me support children like Max who are not as lucky as he is to have access to all that we are able to do for him by making a donation through my page.
The process is fast, easy and secure – and most importantly, your contribution will change the life of another child facing challenges like Max's.
Thanks so much for your support!! - and please don't forget to send this page to any friends you think might be interested in donating or learning more about hippotherapy :)