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We are an Army family! Miles was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 6 and he is now 15 years old. Marley is Miles' Autism Service Dog and his best friend. This dynamic duo has been together for 5 years and look forward to many more adventures! 

For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love and sound judgement.  
                                                       2 Timothy 1:7

4.18.2014

Equine Therapy

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4



Miles received Equine Therapy (also known as Hippotherapy) at Green Hill Therapy in Louisville, Kentucky. His Occupational Therapist utilized the horse as a tool to help strengthen his muscles and motor skills. Miles really enjoyed the break from the clinic setting and looked forward to participating in therapy because of his interaction with the horse. 

Miles working hard 


HIPPOTHERAPY AS A TREATMENT STRATEGY:

Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational, and speech-language therapy treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement as part of an integrated intervention program to achieve functional outcomes. Equine movement provides multidimensional movement, which is variable, rhythmic and repetitive. The horse provides a dynamic base of support, making it an excellent tool for increasing trunk strength and control, balance, building overall postural strength and endurance, addressing weight bearing, and motor planning. Equine movement offers well-modulated sensory input to vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile and visual channels. During gait transitions, the patient must perform subtle adjustments in the trunk to maintain a stable position. The effects of equine movement on postural control, sensory systems, and motor planning can be used to facilitate coordination and timing, grading of responses, respiratory control, sensory integration skills and attentional skills. Equine movement can be used to facilitate the neurophysiologic systems that support all of our functional daily living skills.

Physical Therapists: The physical therapist can overlay a variety of motor tasks on the horse’s movement to address the motor needs of each patient and to promote functional outcomes in skill areas related to gross motor ability such as sitting, standing, and walking.
Occupational Therapists: The occupational therapist is able to combine the effects of the equine movement with other standard intervention strategies for working on fine motor control, sensory integration, feeding skills, attentional skills, and functional daily living skills in a progressively challenging manner.
Speech-Language Pathologists: The speech-language pathologist is able to use equine movement to facilitate the physiologic systems that support speech and language. When combined with other standard speech-language intervention strategies, the speech-language pathologist is able generate effective remediation of communication disorders and promote functional communication outcomes.
Specially trained therapy professionals evaluate each potential patient on an individual basis to determine the appropriateness of including hippotherapy as a treatment strategy.
The therapy professional works closely with the horse professional to manipulate various aspects of the horse’s movement, position, management style, equipment and types of activities to generate effective remediation protocols and to promote functional outcomes.

WHY THE HORSE? 
The horse’s walk provides sensory input through movement, which is variable, rhythmic, and repetitive. The resultant movement responses in the patient are similar to human movement patterns of the pelvis while walking. The variability of the horse’s gait enables the therapist to grade the degree of sensory input to the patient, and then utilize this movement in combination with other treatment strategies to achieve desired results. Patients respond enthusiastically to this enjoyable experience in a natural setting.

TERMS:
Therapeutic Riding: is a term that has been used for many years to encompass the variety of equine activities in which people with disabilities participate. Though still commonly used, this ‘umbrella’ term has caused confusion among the medical community. When the therapist utilizes the movement of the horse as a treatment strategy to improve neuromuscular function, it is important to consistently use the correct terminology and refer to it as “hippotherapy”.
Hippotherapy: Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational, or speech and language therapy treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement. Hippotherapy literally means “treatment with the help of the horse” from the Greek word, “hippos” meaning horse. Specially trained physical and occupational therapists use this treatment for clients with movement dysfunction. In Hippotherapy, the horse influences the client rather than the client controlling the horse. The client is positioned on the horse and actively responds to his movement. The therapist directs the movement of the horse; analyzes the client s responses; and adjusts the treatment accordingly. This strategy is used as part of an integrated treatment program to achieve functional outcomes.
Horse Handler: The person in charge of the handling of the hippotherapy horse during the treatment session. This person should have extra training in handling horses specifically for hippo therapy.



After a hard day of work 
the horse earns a treat

and so does Marley


If you or your child has participated in hippotherapy 
please let us know about your experience! 

This info can be found at American Hippotherapy Association


4.08.2014

MICHIGAN

and I no longer live, 
but Christ lives in me.
The life I now live in the body,
I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

Join us as we explore Michigan

AT THE LAKE
Pontoon time


Captain Miles


& his First Mate, Marley


The boys are enjoying the ride


Ahhh.....this is the life


WATCH OUT......
crazy driver coming through


Leatherback Turtle


Swans

 

Hummingbird


and a cat who likes to keep a close eye on Marley


Of course the day is not complete without 
a lift in the bucket truck


Miles got a caricature drawing
from a nice individual at the local diner


April showers bring May flowers

FRIENDS









WINTERTIME
Marley LOVES playing in the snow


and so does Miles


they have SNOW much fun



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There is plenty to see and do in Michigan

Check out their Visitor's Center

Let us know about your Michigan adventures 

4.07.2014

Speech Therapy (ST)

I will be the same until your old age,
and I will bear you up when you go gray.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will bear and save you.
Isaiah 46:4


Miles has been attending Speech Therapy with Brieann & Alicia at All About Speech & Language (AASL). They have a heart for helping children with Autism which shows in every interaction they have with "their kiddos". We can not express enough gratitude for the progress they have achieved so far with Miles. They are remarkable, enthusiastic and have become part of our family! We have been so blessed to have them on our journey through Autism and know Miles' life has been made infinitely better because of their dedication to help Miles succeed in life. Quantity and Quality of services do matter.  


 Miles & Marley 
with 
Miss. Alicia & Miss. Brieann


What Exactly IS a Speech Therapist?

Speech therapy involves the treatment of speech and communication disorders - which means it's a very wide-ranging field. A certified speech pathologist (sometimes called a therapist) must hold a master's degree. That person may work in a private setting, a clinic, a school or an institution, and may well work as part of an educational team. They use a wide range of tools and interventions, ranging from toys and play-like therapy to formal tests and speech curricula.


Why Would a Person With Autism Need to See a Speech Therapist?

Almost anyone diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder will be recommended for speech therapy. This may seem odd, as many people with Autism are either non-verbal (at the lower end of the spectrum) or extremely verbal (at the upper end of the spectrum). But even very verbal people with Asperger Syndrome are likely to misuse and misunderstand language on a regular basis. And even non-verbal people can certainly develop communication skills - and may even develop spoken language skills over time.


What Does a Speech Therapist Do for People with Autism?

Speech therapy involves much more than than simply teaching a child to correctly pronounce words. In fact, a speech therapist working with an autistic child or adult may work on a wide range of skills including:
  • Non-verbal communication. This may include teaching gestural communication, or training with PECS (picture exchange cards), electronic talking devices, and other non-verbal communication tools.
  • Speech pragmatics. It's all well and good to know how to say "good morning." But it's just as important to know when, how and to whom you should say it.
  • Conversation skills. Knowing how to make statements is not the same thing as carrying on conversations. Speech therapists may work on back-and-forth exchange, sometimes known as "joint attention."
  • Concept skills. A person's ability to state abstract concepts doesn't always reflect their ability to understand them. Autistic people often have a tough time with ideas like "few," "justice," and "liberty." Speech therapists may work on building concept skills.

How Can I Find a Qualified Speech Therapist?

Because speech-language therapy is so well-established, it is very likely that your medical insurance will cover all or part of the cost. It's also quite likely that your child's school or early intervention provider will provide the service for free.
For more information about finding a qualified speech-language therapist, contact the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).


Social Skills Training and Speech-Language Therapy:

Children with Asperger Syndrome can expand and improve their social skills through training and therapy. Though children with AS may have strong language skills, it is important that they learn how to express their thoughts and feelings appropriately. Their ability to interact with others can improve with lots of practice and explicit teaching. Therapists often teach social skills to children with AS/HFA using visual techniques such as social stories, or using exercises that involve the children in various social situations. Social skills groups have proved to be very beneficial to children with AS in teaching them how to interact with their peers. Speech and language therapy may also help these children to communicate better. This therapy could correct awkward methods of speaking such as monotone, and help children to better understand and interpret the speech and communication signals of others such as humor, eye contact, and hand gestures.

This info can be found at Autism SpeaksAbout.com and AASL


Miles working with Miss. Brieann
 

and Miss. Alicia 


Has your child participated in Speech Therapy? 
Let us know!

4.05.2014

Occupational Therapy (OT)

Now the God of all grace,
who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus,
will personally restore, establish, strengthen, 
and support you after you have suffered a little.
The dominion belongs to Him forever. 
Amen.
1 Peter 5:10-11



Miles has been receiving Occupational Therapy (OT) from Achievable Community Interaction Therapy (ACIT). As I've stated before because Miles' Occupational Therapists understood vision and vestibular issues it allowed him to make remarkable progress during Vision Therapy. 



Miles now enjoys riding Roller Coasters
since fixing some of his vestibular issues

Occupational Therapy is another challenging therapy that requires a lot of hard work on Miles' part. His therapist, Lili, tries to make the work fun by offering challenges, games and plenty of encouragement. The enthusiasm that Lili has for her work tends to rub off onto Miles. Lili has helped Miles make major gains in many areas of OT and we are confident with continued help from ACIT that Miles will reach all of his goals!  


Miles with Miss. Lili

Why Would a Person With Autism Need to See an Occupational Therapist?
Occupational therapy practitioners are skilled at assessing and improving a variety of physical, cognitive, and sensory skills that are an important part of a child’s overall development. They understand how the body and mind work together. Specifically, occupational therapists address skills necessary for sensory processing, fine motor and gross motor development, visual-perceptual/visual-motor skills, motor planning, self-help skills promoting activities of daily living, and social success.  Occupational therapy often helps to remediate foundational skills that are critical for the development of speech and language.

What Does an Occupational Therapist Do for People with Autism?
Since people with autism often lack some of the basic social and personal skills required for independent living, occupational therapists have developed techniques for working on all of these needs. For example:
  • Provide interventions to help a child appropriately respond to information coming through the senses. Intervention may include swinging, brushing, playing in a ball pit and a whole gamut of other activities aimed at helping a child better manage his body in space.
  • Facilitate play activities that instruct as well as aid a child in interacting and communicating with others. For the OT specializing in autism, this can translate specifically into structured play therapies, such as Floortime, which were developed to build intellectual and emotional skills as well as physical skills.
  • Devise strategies to help the individual transition from one setting to another, from one person to another, and from one life phase to another. For a child with autism, this may involve soothing strategies for managing transition from home to school; for adults with autism it may involve vocational skills, cooking skills and more.
  • Develop adaptive techniques and strategies to get around apparent disabilities (for example, teaching keyboarding when handwriting is simply impossible; selecting a weighted vest to enhance focus; etc.)
In the case of autism, occupational therapists (OT's) have vastly expanded the usual breadth of their job. In the past, for example, an occupational therapist might have worked with an autism person to develop skills for handwriting, shirt buttoning, shoe tying, and so forth. But today's occupational therapists specializing in autism may also be experts in sensory integration (difficulty with processing information through the senses) and everyday activities which include: play, learning, developing independence skills, and interacting with others, and the occupational therapist works to help children make gains in these areas.  Occupational therapy practitioners look at how individuals, tasks, and settings fit together. They  address the many psychological, social, behavioral, and environmental factors that affect successful and independent functioning in a child’s daily living.

This info can be found at About.com and ACIT
As with AASL (speech) the Quantity and Quality of therapy has made a difference for Miles. The care, dedication and support they provide for their clients and parents is above and beyond what most clinics provide. We are very blessed to have these therapist in Miles' life and we look forward to seeing the successes he will continue to make under their care!


Marley patiently waits while Miles works

The new rock wall is a lot of fun

All of Miles' hard work 
has earned him game time
Vestibular work on a spin board
Interactive Metronome Program

Have you or child had Occupational Therapy? 
Let us know!