HORSE BOY is a program for autistic families to experience either at Play Dates or stay over camps. There are 6 Horse Boy Methods: Environment; Sensory Work; Back Riding; Academics; Theory of Mind/Perspective Taking; and Self Advocacy.
Parents and siblings join in the activities. Or, sometimes parents sit back enjoying a cup of tea while they enjoy their children at play under the watchful eye of our volunteers. The volunteers are uniquely trained in Horse Boy methods. Small children are back ridden and older children are ground driven astride their horses. Children are shadowed and engaged in activities at all times. Volunteers are masters at transition and sensory work. The joyous experiences allow communication to develop and children’s social skills begin to emerge without stress.
Activities at the farm take place all out in nature or in the stable as much as possible. A pea gravel filled dory boat is equipped with sand box toys and trucks overlooking an excavation company neighbour. Kids splash at the brook’s water fall. The pond provides fishing, inflatable boat rides — and in the winter, skating. The autism friendly paddock fence has letters and designs and balance beams to walk built right into it. The paddock encloses the horse painting station, a spring free, netted trampoline, tire swings and a campfire pit. Activities are seasonal. The games include turn taking to teach socialization. Riding and driving is always part of the program which runs from a 3 hour play date every second weekend to a weekend camp once or twice a summer. Horse Boy Play dates with the horses can also take place in other locations.
The following are mandatory for anyone to join the Horse Boy Tribe:
- family assessment for suitability of the program
- doctor’s written referral
Funding to participate is available through Pro-Kids, Kids Start, NS Sport Association, PC Children’s Charities and other service clubs for families needing assistance. However, families are required to apply directly for funding, since Hinchinbrook Farm is not permitted to apply on your behalf.
Change your life — Watch this video
The Horse Boy (3.5 minutes)