Deanne Stein, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A unique type of therapy is helping special needs children here in Oklahoma. And one mother, whose daughter is benefiting from it, is giving back through art.
"The artwork I created has some photographs I've taken myself," said Nadene Merkitch.
Merkitch's daughter, Jessica, has Down syndrome and uses horses in a therapy called Hippotherapy. The therapy is offered at Distinctive Therapy Services, Inc. in Edmond.
"In Down syndrome, their muscles are very weak including their speech and their body," said Merkitch. "Everything is connected and on the horse, everything helps strengthen all those muscles."
Speech pathologist Cynthia Luft uses Hippotherapy special needs children.
"Just the fact that you put a child up on a horse, they become almost immediately more alert and attentive," Luft said.
Luft says the movement of the horse is used as a tool during speech, physical and occupational therapies.
"As far as speech pathology goes, you use the rhythm and the beat of the horse and it helps with speech clarity," she said.
Improvements Merkitch has seen in Jessica.
"I have just seen her grow in so many wonderful ways, her speech and her strength and her body," Merkitch said.
Which is why she created the artwork, to be sold in the "For the Love of Horses" a Benefit and Art Show. The show is being held at Visions in the Paseo Art Gallery, 2924 Paseo in Oklahoma City through September 30. All proceeds will be donated to the program.