There's a brand new blog out there, and it is a work of art. It's 5 Minutes for Special Needs and is written by a number of articulate parents who choose to offer support, insight, and inspiration. It rocks.
I'm privileged to be working on a possible website update for one of the most amazing organizations: 4 Paws for Ability. I immediately got to know the story of Ben, who inspired Karen Shirk to found this nonprofit organization that tries to meet the needs of children with disabilities. Here's the poem she wrote about this magnificent companion:
The Heavens looked down upon my life and saw my suffering.
Do you know someone in need of a trained assistance dog? You might want to investigate Canine Co-Pilots, of Flagstaff, Arizona. This organization raises service dogs, social therapy dogs, hearing dogs, and autism dogs. Here's the way this 501(c)(3) works:
Our puppies are placed into volunteer homes at 8 weeks of age. The puppy raiser then attends training class once per week to learn training techniques and commands. The puppy raiser also gets to take their dog in training everywhere, including to their place of employment! After placement, the volunteer is required to participate in weekly field trips out in public alongside Canine Co-Pilots trainers. The dogs come back to us prior to their placement with a person with a disability.Continue Reading
Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center provides therapeutic horseback riding to children and adults with disabilities who live in the Puget Sound area. Classes take place in an environment that emphasizes abilities rather than disabilities. I heard about this wonderful organization from my daughter-in-law, who is deeply involved in supporting the needs of children with disabilities. She is a role model for me, and one of the world's finest women. I used to love horseback riding, thanks to my mother's encouragement. Now my daughter has a couple of horses and family and friends enjoy riding them. I know what a bond a person can have with a horse. Mine was with a horse named Dixie. It's exciting to see organizations like Little Bit helping people in the Pacific Northwest. This is how the Little Bit website describes some of the benefits for children with disabilities:
The horse's soothing rhythm, strength, warmth, and three-dimensional movement pattern provides healthy exercise while improving circulation and muscle tone. The discipline associated with working with horses and the social interactions between peers benefit the mind and spirit while raising self-esteem and increasing self-sufficiency through accomplishment. The unconditional love of the horses is proved to reduce anxiety, encourage interaction and offer a haven where riders can feel a sense of empowerment.Take a moment to visit the site. See the warmth, the vitality, the kindness displayed by staff and children. Kudos to Little Bit!