Houston Abilities Expo Event

We get by with a little help from our furry friends

Animals have become an intrinsic part of the disability community. Some are essential to the healing process, while others help their human partners become more independent.

Here's what we did in 2013. Stay tuned for 2014!

Assistance Dogs DemonstrationAssistance Dog

More than ever assistance dogs are meeting the needs of people with different disabilities. Meet several assistance dogs and their human partners. Watch them demonstrate the many ways they work together to achieve independence in various areas of their lives. Following the demo, join us to learn some of the basic commands for the dogs.

Horse Boy Method

Assistive Horses

Horse Boy Method was pioneered by Rupert Isaacson, an experienced horseman and father to Rowan, who had been diagnosed with autism. Rupert’s adventure began when he noticed his son’s drastic improvement while riding and worked with Rowan and their Quarter horse, Betsy, forseveral years. His family’s quest to connect with their young son—which took them a half a world away riding across the Mongolian Plateau—is told in the bestselling book and film of the same title, The Horse Boy.

After refining the techniques with his creative partner Illiane Lorenz, Rupert discovered that Horse Boy Method gets results. More specifically, it gets communication.

Don’t miss the opportunity to meet Rupert at Abilities Expo and see how this groundbreaking method works.

Assistive Horses

If there is one thing that defines autism, it is the difficulty of relating to the exterior world. The horse can carry a person effortlessly and without resistance into the exterior world. It’s a simple six stage process.

  • First they create an environment that is delightful for the child.
  • Next they address the child’s sensory issues.
  • Then when the child lets them know that he or she is ready, they begin ridden work. The rocking of the hips causes the learning receptors of the brain to open up and promotes the production of Oxytocin (the feel good hormone) in the body. The instructor rides with the child to help him or her explore the exterior world. Combine this with the deep pressure of holding the child and rapid prompting in the child’s ear and you have a living, breathing environment in which the child can receive and retain information.
  • Move on to perspective-taking and rule-based games like “Tag” on horseback.
  • Teach actual academics on horseback.
  • Finally, teach the child to speak for his or herself (self-advocacy).

The genius of the Horse Boy Method is that it doesn’t actually HAVE to incorporate a horse. Play equipment like swings, slides, climbing frames, etc. can be adapted to replicate the experience with the horse.

Check back soon for more information.

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