PERTH, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Broadalbin-Perth Central School District has launched an equine therapy program for K-2 special education students. The district said the therapy sessions will help students improve communication skills and work on fine and gross motor skills.
The district partnered with Saratoga Therapeutic Equestrian Program (STEP) in Glenville to launch the program. B-P’s Director of Special Education and Intervention Services Bradley Strait said the grant-funded program is the first of its kind in the area.
“This program offers support to students in a very unique and creative way,” Strait said. “Students are able to take risks that they normally don’t take and the staff at STEP really allow the students to face their fears in a safe environment. They treat every student the way we would always want to be treated.”
B-P students visit STEP monthly and are able to pet, feed and ride the horses while working with volunteers who help each student have a positive experience.
Only a few months into the program, special education teacher Rebecca Oaks said she is “extremely proud of
the students’ growth” and said the program provides her students with “the perfect opportunity to work on interaction skills with people outside of the school setting.”
Elyse Palleschi’s son Asher is a kindergarten student at Broadalbin-Perth who has been participating in the program since it started in September. She has seen dramatic improvements in her son since he started in the program.
“We’ll continue to monitor the development of the program and get feedback from students and their parents on how best to support students within our district and their needs,” said Strait. “Hopefully we’ll continue to grow this program all the way on up into the secondary level.”