Saturday, 9 April 2011
Spring at Growing Together
For those of our followers who are Arabian Horse enthusiasts in the UK, there is now an article on Growing Together in the Arabian Magazine edited by Sam Mattocks. It is hoped that the international audience of the magazine might include a child-loving philanthropist or two!
Although it has only been a couple of months since my last Blog entry, we have had some amazing developments at Growing Together with the children.
The boy who has had high-anxiety issues for many years will now walk down the track happily beside a horse and, with encouragement from his teacher, holds onto the lead rope as well. Three weeks ago he finally found the courage to actually touch the horse, albeit for only a fraction of a second, but he did repeat the gesture two more times! Too fast to be caught on camera though so we have no photographic evidence …Yet!! Nonetheless, the memory of the smile that flashed onto his face as he realized just what he had done is an image that I will never forget. Sheer unadulterated JOY.
Another young lad, about nine years of age, has lived with the complications caused by his mother having toxoplasmosis during pregnancy. When he came to Growing Together he was distant, gazed vacantly and did not interact in a pro-active manner. At school, his teachers now tell me that he recognizes them, he communicates his likes and dis-likes, he follows instructions, he is more independently mobile and he can now drink independently as well.
The boy featured in the magazine article, A Boy Called, “Horse!!” is now not only speaking but actively making choices at school and inter-acting with his peers on a daily basis; he expresses opinions and makes choices, he plays football.
Finally, my special moment happened in the foyer of the Holiday Inn Hotel at the Dead Sea...
My friend and I were waiting to return to Amman when we both spotted a lady on the other side of the room with a large child held on her hip. Due to the size of the child, the woman’s dress had hitched itself up around the child’s foot, exposing quite a decent length of leg. As soon as she was within earshot I called out to her, “Excuse me, your skirt….” And she quickly put the child down and came over to say thank you. As she was walking away her boy turned slightly and I recognized him as one of the children who comes to Growing Together. He is a challenging child, caused in no small part by his hyper-sensitive ears which appear to be an almost constant source of discomfort. The doctors say there is nothing wrong and so do nothing to help him…he is often seen screaming with his hands over his ears, or throwing himself on the ground in a “tantrum”…
“I know your son,” I said, ‘He comes to horse therapy with me.” At which point he turned around and saw me from about ten feet away. Immediately he ran over, threw his arms around my neck and kissed me on the cheek! I don’t know who was the more surprised, me, his mother, her friends, or his teacher when I relayed the story soon after. And then he smiled and walked away into the dining-room, very quietly and composed.
This week he came to the site with a new piece of personal wardrobe…baby blue ear-muffs. Watch out for those photographs sometime soon!