The Growing Together programme is based upon the basic principles of the Horse Boy Method and draws upon the inherent resources of rescued and rehabilitated Arabian horses. Growing Together provides young people on the autistic spectrum with an opportunity to interact with other living creatures in a natural environment and to explore their own connection with the earth around them in a holistic way.
While maintaining the natural integrity of the flora and fauna, the site for Growing Together has been purposely designed for young people on the autistic spectrum, incorporating fresh running water, aromatic plants, sensory play areas and nature walks. There are also specific parts of the site where children and their carers/therapists can either relax or pursue their own routine occupational sessions.
Initially each child has a private introduction to the horses in order for the child to find its own level of interaction with the animal in question; although these first meetings may sometimes cause challenging behaviours, these usually disappear by the second session. Once the bond is made, the sessions can progress at the child’s chosen pace under the supervision of their carer and/or therapist.
Established by the Princess Alia Foundation in 2010, to provide children with special needs with a unique form of therapy. GT is offered free of charge to all children with the aim of providing the opportunity for active personal growth and healing for all regardless of their financial status.
36 children joined GT from various centre for autism, the number rising very quickly to 50. To date there are 1200 children with various special needs participating in GT.
The children arrive at the site with either their school and/or their parents. There must be a carer with each child when interacting with the horses. The GT programme includes the following elements of horse/child interaction:
All children are encouraged to participate in the above mentioned activities, however GT is a child-led programme; the children are the decision makers, with the belief that if they have control over their activities they will grow and develop positively with the understanding that they are able to make decisions and express their likes, dislikes and needs. GT provides them with a safe environment to practice and learn this valuable life skill.