Walk on – Helping Children with Autism through Horseback Riding

January 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

Kelly Dillard is a psychology major at the University of Texas. Through the Miss Texas organization, the beauty pageant titleholder has been heavily involved in various philanthropic initiatives and community projects. One of the organizations that Kelly Dillard supports is Walk On, a therapeutic riding and learning center located in Celina, Texas.

The main aim of Walk On is to help children on the autism spectrum to open up and reach their full potential. This is done through supervised horseback riding, listening, reading, spelling, and social interaction, which are used in conjunction with a child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals as advised by his or her teacher.

Volunteers are encouraged to help out, especially with Walk On’s therapeutic horseback riding program, which the organization has been providing since 2003. Those who want to help in taking care of the horses or assisting the classes can sign up at http://www.therapyriding.com/volunteer.


Horse Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

October 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

A top contestant in Texas beauty pageants, Kelly Dillard has been honored by the Miss America organization with Outstanding Teen recognitions in the Miss Fort Worth, Miss Ellis County, and Miss West Texas pageants. She also recently won the title of Miss North Texas. Kelly Dillard has a strong commitment to public service that does not end with her pageant platforms. She is also a supporter of several not-for-profit organizations, including Walk On, a charity that provides horse therapy, brain-based listening therapy, and interactive social engagement for children with autism spectrum disorders, including those with Asperger’s syndrome.

There is substantial evidence that the use of therapy animals can be highly beneficial to children with autism spectrum disorders. Equine therapy in particular seems to offer promising results, since the bond that forms between the horse and its rider is a powerful emotional one. Horses move rhythmically, causing the child to focus on the movement, which in turn can improve their overall ability to concentrate. In addition, the way a horse feels – its fuzzy skin, coarse mane and tail, and soft, wet nose – offers stimulation for the children’s senses and can coax them out of a withdrawn state.

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