Regan Clementi is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist (OT) now offering private OT treatment incorporating equine movement at the Jean Kvamme Center. Regan works with children ages 4-18 with a range of diagnoses such as cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, autism spectrum disorder, learning disorders, down syndrome, stroke, and others. Treatment is informed by Ayres Sensory Integration theory, DIR-Floortime philosophy, and Trauma Informed Practice framework. Sessions are one hour long and consist of play based sensory integrative treatment, equine movement, and parent education as coaching as needed to best serve the client and reach functional goals.
As The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) describes, “through the provision of skilled services and engagement in everyday activities, occupational therapy promotes physical and mental health and well-being by supporting occupational performance in people with, or at risk of experiencing, a range of developmental, physical, and mental health disorders.” Receiving occupational therapy requires the prescription of a physician and a medical diagnosis which impacts the client’s functional independence in daily life.
Equine movement is a powerful treatment tool because it provides multidimensional input which can be fine tuned by the therapist to optimize sensory and neuromuscular input to the client. When a horse walks, their pelvis moves in a three dimensional way, just as a human pelvis does when walking (anterior/posterior, lateral shift, and rotation). As a rider sits astride a horse, the movement from the horses’s pelvis is translated to the rider, supporting neuromotor learning of motor patterns that support improvements in areas such as balance, self-regulation, and improved core strength.
The unique rhythm of the horses’s movement also supports regulation due providing consistent, core-engaging, symmetrical movement that is easily over lapped with visual motor, social, or coordination based games. The equine environment and unique social interactions available within treatment incorporating equine movement also provides a sensory rich environment full of opportunities to naturally build social skills, gross motor, and fine motor tasks.