Saturday, June 30, 2012

Day 17 in Oaxaca, Mexico: Reflections on Fundacion Oaxaquena de Equinoterapia Conference
I truly believe yesterday was one of the most interesting and insightful. Me, my group, and my professor went to the Fundacion Oaxaquena de Equinoterapia to hear the founder and people helping with the program talk about what Equinoterapia is, how it started, and what its purpose is. One of my roommates here works there and I'll be honest the only thing I knew about Equinotherapia was that it was to help kids with spinal problems. My roommate described it to me as "the child gets on the horse and when they ride the horse it stimulates nerves in the spinal cord which help straighten their back." It sounded interesting but I didnt think that's what it was all about and the conference yesterday helped clarify what it was. Before I explain what Equinotherapia is I just want to say I'm proud of myself for understanding more than half the conversation because all the translating gave me a headache. So Equinotherapia, also known as equine assistance therapy and riding lessons the disabled,  is the use of horse and equine-oriented activities to achieve a variety of therapeutic goals, including, physical, emotional, mental, social, educational and behavioral problems.  The physical benefits of walking equinotherapy come from the horse, resembles the natural human gait. There is no machines used for this process. Most riders develop muscle tone, better flexibility and range of motion.
Honestly, my favorite part of the conference was learning about integration. A psychologist who was explaining his experience observing children with a range of disabilities mentioned having an atmosphere with children who are deaf, blind, and other problems heal together instead of seperating each child by disability. I agree with the psychologist but the problem is finding staff who are trained in all areas to work with these kids. I know if I was trained in all of those fields I would have done it hands down. Another part of the conference I found interesting was how these children with disabilities were discriminated against. I work at CORAL which is a rehabilitation center for children who are deaf and it made me think about how these kids must experience some form of discrimination since they can't hear. Personally, its disappointing that teachers of all the people would discriminate against children as young as three of four years old because they can't hear, see, or whatever disability they have. In my opinion, if you don't have any patience whatsoever you should not be a teacher.

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