I love spring. Especially the smell of flowers everywhere. And the sound of bugs at night. Love that.
The girls and I took these photos on one of our daily walks.
Lilacs are one of the best smells of spring, don't you think? Mmm...
At therapeutic riding, Ashley's instructor has been taking the class outside. Here is Ashley above.
This photo (above) makes my heart sing. ♥
Here she is doing one of the activities.
But of course her favorite thing to do is trot. She loves it. Although riding without the saddle may be tied for first. Without the saddle Ashley sits sideways and rides backwards, even laying down! It makes her so happy. And that makes me so happy :-)
The coordinator, who I adore as much as Ashley's instructor, asked me to write about Ashley's experience at therapeutic riding. I'll share that letter with you now.
My name is Kelly, and I have a seven-year-old daughter named Ashley. Ashley developed autism when she was a baby. She didn't speak in sentences until she was four-years-old, and she didn't play or have any interests until she was at least five. Her sister, who is two years older than her, has excelled in martial arts, drawing, reading, writing, and more, from a very young age. We wanted to help Ashley find her own passions as well, but we don't always know what Ashley is feeling. More than anything we want her to be happy and confident. When Ashley became very interested in horses we saw an opportunity for her. Finding something that Ashley was interested in doing was so exciting for all of us.
On Ashley's first few visits to CTRC she was understandably impatient to ride a horse. She had to be lifted onto the saddle, and when the instructor tried to put her feet in the stirrups, Ashley refused and became upset. The instructor was later able to get her feet in the stirrups, but for the following six or more classes, Ashley did not participate in any activities during riding class. Although she obviously wanted to ride, she didn't give her horse commands or interact with others.
During the week when Ashley was not at CTRC she began talking about riding her horse. It started when my husband, Andrew would talk to his mom on the phone. He would tell his mom about Ashley's riding, and Ashley would listen and watch. Then Ashley began asking Andrew to, "Tell her!" when his mom would call. Gradually this progressed to Ashley saying, "Tell her about my riding!" and eventually Ashley herself would get on the phone to answer, "Yeah!" to all of Grandma Patti's questions, such as, "Do you like riding?" and "Do you go every week?"
Towards the end of her first semester, Ashley also made an enormous leap in progress at CTRC. I will never forget the day when after class Ashley's instructor came over to me with a big smile across her face. She said that Ashley had participated in all of the activities, and given her horse commands throughout the hour long class. We were all overjoyed.
Since then Ashley's enthusiasm and progress has only continued. She tells everyone she meets that she goes to riding, and she practices giving commands and trotting up and down our street at home. In class she joins the others in giving commands, stretching, activities, and she even began getting on her horse by herself last week!
A whole new world has opened up to Ashley with horseback riding. She counts down the days until she goes to class each week, and she is so proud of herself. Seeing her passionate about riding, and making progress at CTRC is such a gift to me and our family. We are so grateful for this program, and for what it has done for our Ashley. We can't thank everyone who works and volunteers at CTRC enough.
You can read more about CTRC on their site HERE. And please feel free to share your own therapeutic riding experiences in the comments.
Also, I know a lot of you are wondering if Ashley is still chelating. The answer is yes and no :-) Ashley did not react well to DMSA the last time we did it. In fact, I'm feeling very angry with DMSA right now, because of the trouble it's caused. But I have to remind myself that although we won't be using it ever again, it was after her first round of DMSA that Ashley was able to talk. So it was good in the beginning, but not so good anymore.
But Ashley is still detoxing thanks to the Kombucha we've been making and the Krill Oil that has been rocking her world. (I call her krill oil the "magic talking juice" :-) I am also looking forward to the day that OSR is available again. (Love Boyd Haley!)
Read more posts about Ashley's story under the label, "Recovering Ashley" HERE.
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