Autism knows no racial, ethnic, social boundaries, family income, lifestyle, or educational levels and can affect any family, and any child. Unfortunately, families impacted by autism and constrained financially experience the greatest desolation. Over the past year, Good Hope has received numerous phone calls from families with autistic children who were interested in its evidence-based services, but are limited financially.
To better meet the needs of our disabled community, Good Hope is expanding the target population of its Endless Strides Program to include children and young adults with autism, ages 4 to 25. Good Hope has established collaborative partnerships to engage the population through the University of Miami CARD Center, physician referrals, as well as Baptist Health, Miami Children’s Hospital, and Agency for Persons with disabilities. The project slots will be provided to the first 25 participants that have a signed medical application from their doctor, as well as a signed copy of the Equine Release and Authorization for Emergency Medical Treatment Consent forms. Good Hope Equestrian Training Center will provide free-of-charge therapeutic riding instruction in a group format with lessons scheduled according to age, as well as ability levels.
Throughout the funded year, Good Hope will provide 25 children, youth and adults diagnosed with autism socially and physically conducive horseback riding lessons including horsemanship instruction (lessons in basic equine care, nutrition, important skills of discipline when working with horses, parts and care of appropriate equine equipment). Each of the 25 participants will partake in a minimum of 5, one-hour group sessions conducted during the project period. Throughout the funded year, a total of four, 6-week courses (ie: make-up dates for poor weather or illness) will operate from 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday. In addition, all participants are offered the opportunity to participate in local equestrian events such as the GHETC fun day horse show and to enter into therapeutic classes at the Plantation horse show.