The one and only time I was on a horse, it stopped and rolled over on to its back. I had to jump clear so I would not have been crushed.
I did not get back on that horse.
While I was away I received an email from my son's mother saying that he was accepted into a equine therapy program about a half hour north of us. I've heard that horse riding may be beneficial for autistic children and I was as pleased as she was that he was accepted. It's been funded through some generous donations so it's free to us and the other dozen or so participants in the program.
Why not, right?
The orientation session was this afternoon. There were a number of screaming, quirky kids in the corral. My son was not happy more or less from the get go. There was a ceiling fan in the waiting area that bothered him. The noise other people were making bothered him. The smell of the barn probably bothered him.
He went to his mother's car and got in the back seat saying "Bye bye" and "Time to go" over and over.
We waited for him to calm down and then brought him back into the barn to wait for his turn to get on the horse. He did not like getting sized for the helmet. And when the time came, he did not want to stay in the area where the horses were. It's not that he was afraid of the horses, but this was not what he wanted to do today. None of this was in any of the routines he knows and he reacted in the only way he knows how.
The horses seem to be quite chill and I'm very impressed with the ability of the volunteers who work with the kids. One of them while on a horse for the first time, was asked to put his hands over his head, "It's too dangerous" was his logical reply.
Sometimes, ok, most of the time I have no idea what to do to help my son. We're blindly throwing therapies, treatments and coping solutions at the wall - trying to find some hope in whatever sticks. I wonder who we're really doing this for. Him, or us. He can't sit there in his iPad all day, watching videos (do as I say not as I do) it's my job as a parent to try and socialize him. So I try not to once again feel like a failure as I read about all these super fantastic and authentic parents leading and teaching their kids to all kids of accolades.
Meanwhile, we cheer when my kid plays with a garden hose.
In two weeks, the sessions will have fewer kids and we'll try again. Maybe this time he'll be ready to take the next step.
As if that was not enough, on Saturday I found out that one of my co-workers died on Friday. She worked next to me and was one of the most giving people I've ever met. I know her health was not great, but this is a real blow, and not how I wanted to end a vacation. She'd been with the library for about fifty years. Not sure what kind of maelstrom I'm going to be going into Monday morning.