Increasing social participation for young children with disabilities

Your donations are helping young children like Zachy, who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, to increase his social participation through therapeutic horse-riding activities at Riding for the Disabled – Barwon Centre.

A $5,000 grant from Give Where You Live Foundation allows young children to experience enjoyment, challenge, and a sense of achievement through participation in equestrian activities that improves their quality of life, assists to attain personal goals and develop life skills.

For Zachy’s mother Susan, Riding for the Disables provides much more than physical therapy:

Our son Zachy is almost six years old. At this stage of his life means he has limited physical abilities due to muscle weakness. For years Zachy has watched from the sidelines as his brother plays soccer and AFL always asking when he would be able to play too. On the playground he would love nothing more than to join in with sports games but is unable to keep up with others and as such is often excluded. These situations break my heart every time but are a part of our journey. Being accepted into the Riding for the Disabled program has given Zachy something of his own to look forward to, enjoy and excel at!

 Physically it gives us another avenue to increase his activity, especially his core strength but in a way that he doesn’t even realise he’s doing it as his having so much fun! Now he tells others about something he can do, and I see him swell with pride when he tells his classmates about his adventures on Dutchie (the horse) each fortnight. The other aspects that have proven to be immensely helpful is socialising with the other kids and creating friendships with other kids who don’t not tease him.

 The tasks provided by the team are encouraging Zachy to listen well to communicate, follow instructions and to meet new people particularly other adults each week which really helps him come out of his shell – as we don’t have any family here.

 As for me, a Mum to a boy with special needs who often feels isolated and heartbroken over what our future holds watching this group of men and women give up their time to provide a space for us to come, means the absolute world. I really want to thank every volunteer at Riding for the Disabled for showing up caring just so much and of course the Give Where You Live Foundation who is helping to make all this possible!