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Brandon's Big Improvements

Brandon is diagnosed with Chromosomal Deletion Syndrome 4QT21. It is a rare condition with little information, but has affected Brandon greatly. Brandon has an underdeveloped cerebellum which affects his gross motor skills along with his balance and coordination. He has global developmental delay which means he is cognitively impaired; he is completely nonverbal, has low muscle tone and is unable to walk. Brandon has been in therapy since he was three months old. He is now eleven years old. Brandon’s mom says he became bored with working on the same skills month after month, year after year, with other therapies. Through the suggestion of doctors and therapists Brandon’s family pursued equine assisted physical therapy through Ride On St. Louis and Brandon was listed on the wait list until a spot became available in fall 2014.

Ride On St. Louis, Equine-Assisted Physical Therapy with Brandon

After Brandon's first session with Ride On St. Louis his family shares that “equine assisted physical therapy has been a huge success for Brandon. We have seen increased strength in his core and he is sitting much straighter. Not to mention, he is having FUN again at therapy.” Brandon’s long term goals include being able to take his first steps and to eventually walk with assistance. The horse’s movement allows Brandon to develop the muscles and balance needed to achieve these goals and also provides Brandon with movement similar to human ambulation (which will strengthen the muscles Brandon needs to take his first steps). The gait pattern Brandon experiences while receiving physical therapy treatment on horseback stimulates both hemispheres of the brain simultaneously exciting neurotransmitters that may improve speech, movement and the motor system among other areas.

"What is amazing to me are the horses Brandon has progressed with," says Program Director, Marita Wassman. "Brandon began receiving equine-assisted physical therapy in 2014 with the help of Amiga our extremely mild/minimal movement pony. in 2018, Brandon is now riding for 45 minutes on therapy horse Cruz who has an extremely large and challenging movement. Brandon has also been responding to pushing the green button for go with much more accuracy and often with out any assistance. We plan to start working on having Brandon rise into a two-point position from the saddle to strengthen legs and further challenge his balance and core." Since beginning with Ride On St. Louis, Brandon has improved his postural control, ability to stand with support, and has increased his independence with self-play, socialization with family, and self-esteem evident by his smiles and clapping. We are so pleased with all your hard work and progress Brandon and look forward to sharing many more achievements and milestones with you!

Please consider supporting Brandon and others at Ride On St. Louis through a donation. Every donation makes an impact in the lives of those we serve.

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