My son Cooper, 7, was diagnosed with moderate-severe autism at a very young age. Cooper is virtually non-verbal and occasionally can manage to say a word, but they are few and far between. Cooper also has sensory integration problems and is constantly seeking movement and feeling things to seek out sensations. Despite of all this, Cooper is quite a happy little boy who enjoys life. When I first heard about Equine Learning Experiences Australia and their programs, I did not know exactly what to expect, but I had previously heard that horses have a special connection with people with disabilities. I did not expect miracles, but decided to keep an open-mind and thought anything that could possibly make a difference in Cooper’s life was worth participating in. Our first session was very brief to see if Cooper was interested. When Cooper met ‘Razzle Dazzle’ he went straight up to her and gave her the biggest hug. He grabbed Emily’s hand to gesture that he wanted her to help him up. He put his face into Razzle’s mane to feel her hair with his lips. The smile on his face made me realise that this therapy was worth pursuing. When I said that it was time to go home, his face dropped and he was clearly sad to be leaving. The next morning Cooper got dressed for school and said “bus”. I was stunned as he had never said this before and the bus was due to arrive shortly. Over the course of the next week, Cooper’s teacher had said that he was saying more words at school. I noticed that he was saying more single words at home and they were all appropriate to what he was trying to do and not just repeating words that he had heard me say. The night of our second session, Cooper came up to me after tea and said “bath”. I was stunned because he’d never said that to me before. After bathing Cooper he said “bed”. I quickly put him to bed, he fell straight to sleep and slept there all night, as he has done every night since then. This was such a huge step for us because Cooper used to have to fall to sleep in the bean bag and be carried off to his bed after he’d fallen to sleep. If he was put in bed awake then he’d be awake until 2.00 in the morning. Since then Cooper has continued to say more words, more often. He has even said a few 2-3 word sentences, has sung a song he was listening to on the radio and has been the happiest I have ever seen him. At our last session Cooper even said “bye Razzle” when it was time to leave. I am so proud of his progress over the past 4 weeks and would thoroughly recommend this program to any parent who has a child on the Autism Spectrum. The benefits Cooper has gained from this experience are quite astounding and I can’t thank Emily enough.