Wairau Valley Special School

In the words of assistant Principal Fiona Smith at Wairau Valley Special School

Horse Riding is a total sensory package!
Many students from Wairau Valley Special School have received the benefits of attending riding sessions at the North Shore Riding for the Disabled Centre over the years. These benefits include touch as they stroke the horses and feel their movement. The smells of the horse and the outdoor environment. The sounds that occur during the ride from the horses’ hooves on the bridge to the birdsong in the trees. Riders also develop strength throughout their bodies, hand eye coordination and balance skills as well as social skills such as independence, confidence, and communication. The development of these skills has been transferred to the student’s classroom and home life”

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Here are a number of our riders in the therapeutic stream from Wairau Valley Special School.  Students comprise two groups from the base school situated in Glenfield, and another group from satellite classes at Birkdale North School, Target Road School, Glenfield Primary school and Glenfield Intermediate. 
The students come to us with therapy goals created specifically for them by a school therapist (physiotherapist, occupational therapist or speech language therapist). The goal sheets include activities to help with reaching this goal.   Students typically exhibit spectrum disorders, such as Autism or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity. 
Up to 5 teacher aides accompany the students and with their knowledge of the students, are invaluable with ideas during the rides for what may or may not be working with the rider.   Communication boards and picture lanyards are used by the aides to help with communication for non-verbal students.