WCHP Students Use Horses to Help People Overcome Illnesses
Throughout the months of March and April, the RiteCare Center for Communication Disorders (RCC) on Georgia Southern University Armstrong Campus partnered with Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center to provide speech therapy to individuals with challenging illnesses using a combination of speech and animal-assisted therapy.
Graduate communication sciences and disorders students had an opportunity to gain hands-on experience volunteering during the unique sessions.
Kira Wise, CSDS student, chose to participate in Manes and Memories because she felt it would be a wonderful experience providing therapy with the use of equine animals.
“I wish to work with the adult population,” stated Wise “and this was a great step for me to gain experience with those with dementia or other related neurological disorders. I have a love for animals and enjoy actively volunteering. Manes and Memories was a chance for me to do both!”
The services provided during the sessions targeted a participant’s communication abilities while simultaneously engaging sensory, neuromotor and cognitive systems.
“Taking therapy out of the clinic setting gave students the opportunity to broaden their awareness of therapy settings, heighten their critical thinking and help them understand how treatment can be fun and impactful,” stated Tory Candea, the coordinator for RCC.
“It was amazing to see the clients initiate and participate in conversation and activities through a shared interest in horses. We were able to plan functional and interactive activities, while incorporating the client’s family and personal interests. It created a meaningful session for everyone involved,” recalled Wise.