Hippotherapy volunteer grows as much as patients during therapy process

Studies prove animals help with pediatric rehabilitation. High school student Julianna Merry dedicates one day each week assisting special-needs kids with physical, occupational or speech and language therapy treatment.

Hippotherapy is treatment with the help of a horse. A rehabilitation center in Carmel, Indiana  called Children’s TherAplay, a non-profit outpatient pediatric clinic, uses hippotherapy to help their patients. Merry volunteers as a side walker, and her job is to walk beside the horse to assist the child receiving therapy.

“I’m a side walker,” Merry said. “I walk along the side of the horse while the therapist is giving instructions. I make sure the kids don’t fall off and are comfortable.”

TherAplay provides physical and occupational therapy for special-needs children from ages 18 months to 13 years old. The movement of the horse aids with the therapy. TherAplay helps kids with different special-needs such …
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