Our son,has a diagnosis of ASD, ADHD, Anxiety and Aggression. He's eleven year's old and has been out of education for over 2 years. He had no provision at all for 18 months except for being at home with his family. We were at a loss as what do, he was in total crisis and it was affecting our home life and our other children. He dispalyed violence, depression and such sadness. We couldn't even pop to the shops for a pint of milk without a huge meltdown. We then found Nicola and Equine Learning. It has given us hope and happiness again. Leland is now happy, learning again and we are starting to be able to live our lives as a family, have family outings and actually be happy. Before Equine Learning our son was withdrawn, almost recluse, anxious and very angry. He told us at the age of nine that he would be better off dead and that almost broke us as a family. Now he is happy, full of joy and has found meaning in his life. Because of Equine Learning our son has opened up into a beautiful butterfly and his life has meaning again. Our beautiful boy now has dreams and has been given the confidence he needs to realise that he can achieve great things. I can never thank Nicola and Equine Learning enough for all they have done
Our son B had always had difficulties both at home and at school, He had anger management issues, anxiety and separation problems. As his behaviour deteriorated he became aggressive, socially withdrawn, had sleep problems and began to show difficulties in his understanding even though he was very bright academically. He actually suffered a breakdown. At the age of ten / eveven year's old we, as a family began the process with CAMHS (child, adult, mental health service) to seek help and a possible diagnosis. The diagnosis given was Autistic spectrum disorder and Pathological demand avoidance.
B changed schools at eleven to a more ‘inclusive’ high school. He found attending school difficult, had to be met by a teacher each morning and taken to class. He actually managed the first year with a few incidents and remained in the top sets for his classes. He experienced bullying which eventually led to him retaliating and getting excluded from school. This process was grossly mismanaged by the school and resulted in B completely disengaging from education. He could not put pen to paper, spend time in classrooms and it became increasingly difficult to physically get him to school and keep him there. We were at a point where the school felt that they couldn’t accommodate B and his needs. We were stuck, there were no other educational facilities available to B and home schooling was not an option. At this point B had a diagnosis of ASD, PDA, Gender Dysphoria, Clinical depression, high anxiety and was showing signs of self harm and suicidal thoughts. He was prescribed anti-depressants, sleep medication and anxiety medication.
Through a wonderful autism specialist and a battle with school we managed to secure a place at Equine Learning for one morning session once a week. B had always loved horses and riding. Initially both myself (Mom) and the school appointed one-to-one attended with him as he could not cope with being left. After six to eight weeks he attended sessions with just his one-to-one and this progressed to staying with Nicola on his own. Funding was later put in place for B to attend two and a half days a week.
Where we are now: B is now back in school two days a week (still with rest breaks, returning home during the day) and is receiving one-to-one tuition for maths and English and a Microsoft computer course, and he will sit his foundation maths GCSE paper and access to English paper. He is participating in normal art class and will sit his GCSE along with his peers. B has completed his level one diploma in equine care and riding with Nicola and is currently working towards his level 2 diploma.
The changes in B through working with horses and the equine learning programme are actually immeasurable. We have a different child. We have a child who now confidently interacts with adults, peers and clients at Equine Learning and through the horses has much more of an understanding of social situations and empathy for other people’s issues and how do deal with them. The aggression and behavioural problems have lessened considerably and sleep medication is no longer needed. Anxiety attacks are less frequent. What is so important that we now have a child who can be happy and who can now see a purpose and a future that he is willingly working towards.
5 Star Riding Establishment Licence - Holder: Nicola Hepburn
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