Hello friends, and welcome to a rare Sunday edition of “Square Peg in a Round Hole.” I had an opportunity for some quite time by myself this morning, so I decided to run with it. Literally. I wanted to tell you about an experience that my family and I had yesterday, and how we will work through it…because after all, we are a family.
Yesterday, my son had his Hippo Therapy (equine therapy) evaluation, and I wish I could say that it went well. It went the polar opposite way. It went horribly wrong (sigh). Here is our story.
When Willy woke up yesterday morning, he was so excited to see horses. He kept reminding us all morning where we were going, and I was so excited for him. I really was! It was a 45 minute drive to the ranch where his evaluation was, but I didn’t mind. This was going to be great for him. When we got there, my son was so excited that he could hardly contain himself, which means that he was raring to go before we even got there; with sensory overload and blinders on. He wanted things his way or noway, which is a terrible way to start any kind of new experience. I reminded him to use his best listening ears and to have a calm body, but he was already way past gone with his own agenda. This is never a good sign.
When we checked in, Willy was asked to put his new riding boots on, but they didn’t fit (strike one). They were too tight, and Willy was already upset that he couldn’t wear them. So, he wore his crocs instead. As we were walking through the stable, Miss. S introduced herself to us and took us on a brief tour. Right away she was using too much language and it was hard for my son to follow her/her directions. I hate interrupting people, especially therapists, but I had to remind her to use less language with my boy, because he was already anxious enough.
She didn’t listen to me (strike two).
When she pulled out a pony named Peaches, Willy was jumping up and down with excitement. He was asked to pick up a round brush and help to brush him. He did, but after a few minutes, he told Miss. S that he was “all done.” She didn’t seem to either listen or care, and she kept prattling on with more directions for him and soon… he was starting to boil over with frustration.
He brushed Peaches with five different brushes, and by the fifth brush, he was done! Again she was using too much language with him, and he eventually flopped in protest. As I went in to help, Miss. S put her had up and said, I got this. I just stared at her and said ” um, alright. ” she then asked Willy if he wanted to feed Peaches, and he jumped up with a “yes!” She asked him to break the carrot up in three pieces, which he did, but she wouldn’t stop talking at him (strike three). He flopped again, and then proceeded to kick his legs, and eventually, kick her, because she wouldn’t leave him alone.
I had to intervene. I didn’t want to, but I had to. She just looked at my son and plainly said that she couldn’t work with him, because he could scare the horses. I just stared at her. It was horribly uncomfortable and embarrassing, but I thanked her for her time (a whole 20 minutes) and we left, with my son screaming and crying in tow.
When my boy calmed down, I called the program manager at the ranch and told her everything that happened. She was shocked, horrified, and extremely apologetic. She said that they’ve never had an evaluation go so wrong before, and I asked of Miss. S had read over Willy’s paperwork before we had arrived, because if she did, I can guarantee you that incident would not have happened. With more apology in hand, she asked me if I wanted to try it again with another therapist, and I told her I’d think about it and that I’d call her Monday.
I hate setting my son up for disaster, but because of an impatient therapist and her overuse of language, my son just lost control. It was heart breaking, but I don’t believe in giving up. We will make this work, because I know that there will be success the next time around. I really do believe in this and if we have to go to a different ranch to seek our success, than that is what we’ll have to do.
My son is an exceptional little boy who deserves the same respect as you or I. I just hope with bated breath that it goes smoother the next time and we get a therapist who is understanding, calm, and actually reads our paperwork; all seven pages of it.