Occupational Therapy

Paula joined Starlight Farm in the start up year 1999.  She is an American Hippotherapy Association Registered Therapist with 25 years of occupational therapy experience, almost exclusively with pediatrics.  She has extensive continuing education in NDT and SI techniques, ongoing work in early intervention, private practice and public schools and was awarded NJ Early Intervention Coalition Clinician of the Year. Using the horse as a treatment tool in occupational therapy is beneficial to many children, including but not limited to those with diagnoses of Autism,  Cerebral Palsy, Developmental Delay and Sensory Integration Disorder.  The three-dimensional movement of the horse assists clients in developing trunk and postural control which is necessary for fine motor functioning.  Children can also work on upper extremity development through weight-bearing over their arms in various positions on the horse, as well as through a variety of upper body and fine motor activities like brushing the horse and buckling straps.  Additionally, the movement of the horse is very beneficial to children with sensory processing  issues.  The vestibular and strong proprioceptive input from the horse's movement aid in developing body awareness, decreasing gravitational insecurity and has a calming effect which can assist in reducing sensory hyper sensitivities.

Paula Capella, OTR