Stephanie Kozlowski

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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