3 day sponsored camp for families with autism — July 8, 9 & 10, 2016
Sensory Input | Movement | Horses:
- An autism friendly environment where children are allowed to choose activities
- Each kids has a mentor who helps keep it safe
- Sensory experiences provided by activities and games, toys and critters are designed to help easier processing.
- Back riding or long lining with the horses or any rocking movement which produces the joyful hormone oxytocin and eliminates the melt-down hormone cortisol.
- Movement Method of learning by doing (instead of teaching) while playing games and doing crafts.
- Perception Taking – Theory of Mind games and discussions around the campfire, in the woods, on the trampoline or while riding.
- Self-advocacy practice at all times with trained mentors so children can learn to speak up for themselves.
What to expect and what to bring
- Nutritious snacks and meals prepared on site with the families and staff. Any special diets require that the parents bring their own food.
- Some Camping gear provided if necessary otherwise families are expected to bring their own tents sleeping gear and personal effects.
- Use of screen devices is discouraged but understandably required at times for communication with staff on the property and the outside world.
- Activities include water play, Springfree™ Trampoline, Painting or chalk art, memory and sensory games, climbing, swinging, music, crafts, bread making, horseback riding, goat herding, campfires and what ever the kids come up with.
- Special Guest Chris Ulmer from Special Books by Special Kids will be visiting and taking interviews.
You might know him from this video (or the Facebook page he created for his students.)
He is also the keynote speaker at this year’s National Autism Conference.
Autism is not a Problem it is an adventure
Hinchinbrook Farm programs are designed to work with a few autistic families at a time on a small 10 acre hobby farm on the South Shore of Nova Scotia in Lunenburg County. This sponsored camp is maxed with three families.
DAL Agricultural Student Reina Fennel spent a week at Hinchinbrook Farm in February 2016 volunteering. This is her beautiful video essay of her week at the farm.
Hinchinbrook Farm applied for a Teen Physical Activity Grant through the ParticipACTION Teen Challenge.
Horse Boy play dates are a great way to keep moving – unless the weather doesn’t cooperate, all Horse Boy play dates are held outside and allow the kids and volunteers to reap the benefits of the great outdoors!
Here’s a link to the story we submitted to the ParticipACTION Teen Challenge: http://www.participaction.com/teen-challenge/story/130413/
Please read and share!
Hinchinbrook Farm organized another Silent Santa at the Bridgewater Mall this past Sunday.
12 kids and their families came and enjoyed a peaceful visit with Santa, Snoopie, a dwarf bunny, and Kelly, a Newfoundland dog.
Silent Santa provides a comfortable space for kids on the autism spectrum to meet Santa on their own terms.
It was great seeing you all there!
Read the full article here: LighthouseNow – Silent Santa offers safe space for kids with special needs
December 5 – Autism Friendly Shopping for Tots
December 13 – Autism Friendly Visit with Santa!
December 24 – Christmas Eve in the Stable
On October 20, 2015, our own Silver Bell was nominated Therapy Horse of the Year for Atlantic Horse & Pony Magazine. Here is the text of the nomination:
At the bottom of the page is the Facebook announcement of her winning!
It is with great pleasure that we nominate Silver Bell of Hinchinbrook Farm Society as the Atlantic Therapy Horse of the Year to the Atlantic Horse & Pony magazine.
We nominate Silver Bell on behalf of the hundreds of individuals to whom she has brought strength, peace, emotional highs and life-giving understanding.
With over a quarter century of service as a therapeutic riding horse, Silver Bell still fills each lesson with patience, skill, and respect for her charges. She is now getting on in years, yet is ready whenever called to ease and to aid those with special needs. As one young rider said as she pocketed some of Silver Bell’s mane hair released by grooming – “when I get anxious I smell her hair and it calms me”. Twenty-five years giving therapy.
Silver Bell is a Liver Chestnut registered Morgan, foaled June 23, 1988. She began her career in Therapeutic Riding in 1992 (four years old and already a rock-solid, bomb-proof mount) for Lucky Harvest Project -Recolte Chanceuse, (www.luckyharvest.org). She worked at Lucky Harvest until 2004 (with a short five months of “maternity leave” for the birth of Dandy (June 1996)). In 2006 Silver Bell became the foundation mare for Hinchinbrook Farm Society’s Therapeutic Riding program in Blockhouse, Nova Scotia. And today, she continues to be the lead, caring for those with special needs (and for those of us near her) in untold ways.
Silver Bell is the Matriarch of Hinchinbrook farm. She is referred to as the Princess of the Barn – a.k.a. the boss. Dandy, her son, is also a top-notch Therapeutic Riding horse at Hinchinbrook. Silver Bell was his first teacher, and still keeps him (and the other animals at the farm) in line. We have never known of another horse for whom the riders had so many names: “SB, “B”, Belle, Tinker Bell, Stinker Bell, Bella, Silver Light, Silver McGill …. and, of course, “the Princess”.
Silver Bell is versatile – she uses ‘no bit’ or English, or Western aids. She works in auto-pilot in English or Western tack, and in neck ring. She does some cool tricks (with treats expected!). She has helped riders working at therapy vaulting and hippotherapy, and she drives in any weather using the Meadow Dale Cart. It is a wondrous sight to see prancing down the trestle trail with six or so riders shrieking with glee.
And she is painted! Children love to paint Silver Bell – the confidence and power she gives to these children is not something anyone can buy. As one helped individual put it – “it is Silver Bell who helped me learn to do math and reading”. (Now how did Silver Bell do that? We guess it is between SB and her young charge.)
It is not hard to believe that Silver Bell has had more special needs people than any other living horse (due to her, hmmm, advancing senior status). Most therapeutic riding programs have one or two afternoons a week in a regular barn. Silver Bell has worked every time, every day, she is asked. She is a wonder and a worker (a whinnier not a whiner). Her rhythmical swaying has moved many a rider’s body. To see children loosen up, and begin to sway with her, brings tears to many of their parents’ and caregivers’ eyes (and ours).
Why is Silver Bell unique and deserving of the “Therapeutic Horse of the Year”? All therapy horses help individuals with special needs improve in strength, flexibility, and confidence. And thus all therapy horses need to be recognized for they are all deserving. What is unique about Silver Bell as a therapy horse is her influence on the well-being of all those near her. Silver Bell is often chosen over other horses as the therapeutic mount because of, uniquely, her co-operative ways with the varying handlers. The parents, siblings and caregivers of those with special needs are all affected by Silver Bell’s calm, respectful, giving spirit. They come with their special needs child or sibling and Silver Bell projects and calms the caregivers too. And all for pats and treats! She also eases the day-to-day woes of the volunteers. “I just feel better when I come home from volunteering”- is commonly voiced. “Magical” is how another describes Silver Bell’s body language: “I was asked to work at Hinchinbrook to teach horse communications to help the volunteers with Riding Therapy. It was with Silver Bell that the magic happened effortlessly. One exercise was to learn to ask the horses to relax and close their eyes without the volunteers touching the horses. Each volunteer had their horses lowering their heads, yawning or closing their eyes. As I looked across the ring, I saw the volunteer with Silver Bell, sitting on the ground and Silver Bell’s eyes closed and her head in the volunteer’s lap. I was overwhelmed to see their connection. The person sitting to my left shook their head and said, “I can’t believe what I’m seeing.” The person to my right just looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “That is just so beautiful”. I said, “That is Silver Bell”.” Silver Bell, the wise lady (or Princess SB), works not just with the special needs individual but with all of us. Silver Bell is unique.
As a now deceased, famous movie star, Governor and President once said “I’ve often said there’s nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse.” Silver Bell has given the “outside of a horse” to hundreds of thankful people.
We are nominating Silver Bell of the Hinchinbrook Farm Society to thank her for all her work over 25 years for individuals with special needs. Silver Bell is 29 years old and somewhat stiff in the mornings (like many of us!). The children still hang onto her, lie on her, paint her, ride her, groom her, and it is time for her to be recognized as what she is, the Therapeutic Horse of the Year.