Local Therapy Center Using Farm Animals and a Ranch to Help People

RICE LAKE, Wis.– A nonprofit organization is taking therapy outside and into the stables. Nature’s Edge Therapy provides occupational and speech therapy in a unique way.

The operation has been around for 20 years and utilizes hippotherapy or animal assisted therapy.

It’s the same as they would be in a hospital, clinic, or school setting, but these sessions take place on a 65 acre ranch.

“Just so many good things that we can do that are unique out here that you may not be able to get in a clinic setting, because you’re just in one space, so were trying to use as many tools as we can to kind of bring out the best in our patient and progress their goals,” Courtney Losey, Speech Language Pathologist, Nature’s Edge Therapy Center said.

Between horses, pigs, donkeys and more, kids and adults can use the outdoors and animals to help aid in recovery with speech therapy as well as those dealing challenges including autism, traumatic brain injury and cerebral palsy.

Courtney Losey, a speech language pathologist, has seen people open up more around animals, too.

“Animals in general can be such a motivator, a reward, calming effect, so sometimes in my sessions I will use the horse just for that aspect, maybe it’s a reward session, where they picked what animal they wanted to work with that day,” Losey said.

Seeing how some children form a relationship with the animals can even help unlock more progress.

“I had a patient whose first word was go on the horse, and that was so exciting to me and it’s just amazing to see that in the family, how much success and progress comes out of that when you can see that come alive,” Losey said.

Nature’s Edge Therapy Center is about to enter the busy summer season with many occupational therapy programs available to all ages and registration info can be found on their website.

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