I have read that horses are very theraputic for children with handicaps. Working with them, learning to be safe with them, and riding them build confidence in a child. Emily, Ethan's only sister and older sister grew up with two horses. It grew her in ways that I never imagined and she is a hearing child.
What they say is true. Earlier this spring we went for a walk in the country. Emily walks this route regularly with a friend and with the weather nice we decided to make an afternoon of it with the boys. Ethan shys away from a strange dog, and will not get close. This is a good thing, but I am concerned that he should learn how to at least be safe, so if he were to meet a strange dog unexpected he would know what to do. A horse well forget it. He would not get anywhere near the fence.
Bless Emily's tender heart. She took him alongside and worked with him, to build his confidence in approaching a horse. She talked about how horses show us with thier face, their ears, and the sounds they make what they may be thinking or feeling. By watching and listening we know how to approach a horse. After about a half an hour he came in closer. I knew this was a mommy time to step away and not interfere. As I observed I realized what an incredible challenge this was for Ethan, and how Emily gently talked him closer, each step taking many minutes to take.
After about an hour, Ethan was able to come in close and even feed the horse. He is so proud of himself to have overcome a very healthy fear of this large animal. I am so proud of him. He talks about this moment often, and we have since been back to visit the horses.
Confidence building for our children who are deaf does not always have to come in a word articulated correctly, or perfectly reading a book. All important milestones, but in many other ways too. This was one way. I am going to blow up these pictures and have framed for Ethan's room.