OTA, PTA Students Donate to Center that Provides Horse Riding Therapy
Kent State East Liverpool students from the Occupational Therapy Assistant and the Physical Therapist Assistant programs combined their fundraising efforts to make a monetary donation to Focus Hippotherapy, an outdoor equestrian facility in Berlin Center that treats individuals with a variety of diagnoses.
The students presented a check to Dawn Speece, owner and executive director of the facility who founded the program in 1993. Hippotherapy comes from the Greek word “hippos,” meaning horse, and is defined as treatment with the help of a horse.
While most clients are children, the facility also accommodates adults. The program serves individuals with challenges such as cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, autism, traumatic brain injury, Down Syndrome, developmental delays, spina bifida, dementia, stroke and other conditions.
The mission of Focus Hippotherapy is “to offer therapy from licensed/certified physical and occupational therapists using the horse as a tool to develop strength, balance, posture, muscle tone moderation (relaxation or increased tone), motor planning, body awareness, task focus and confidence.”
Kent State East Liverpool has partnered with Focus Hippotherapy since 2013 as part of the students’ pediatric rotation.
Photo A: OTA and PTA students recently donated $750 to Focus Hippotherapy. Pictured are (front, from left) Erin Headley, Tyler Baker, Maryna Little, Tyler Palmer, Luke Jones, Jordyn Smith, Raelynn Meyer, Kaylee Anderson, Zoe Shell, Interim Dean Brad Bielski, Tory Thompson, Nicole Strock, Bryanna Hanna, Lucia Haddad, Michala Johnson, Melissa Reed, Casey Wert, Jessica Collins; and (on stairs, descending from left) Morgan Hovorka, Chrstine Fortine, Allison Pethtel, Hannah White and Kylie Surace.
Photo B: Students and faculty gathered around Dawn Speece (center) after presenting her with a check to support Focus Hippotherapy, an equestrian therapy program. From Kent State East Liverpool were (from left) Kaylee Anderson, Raelynn Meyer, Allison Pethtel, Nicole Strock, Lynn Leija, Michala Johnson, Tory Thompson, Lucia Haddad, Zoe Shell, Luke Jones, Hannah White, Jordyn Smith, Darryl Hancock and Tyler Baker.