In the beginning of January 2017, the Committee for Disabled Students went to Elgin, Texas to learn more about the Horse Boy Foundation, which offers services to autism families. Rupert Isaacson, the founder of the Horse Boy Foundation, taught Queens College students techniques that cater to the needs of children with autism, ADD, and ADHD, which can help their family members as well.
The Horse Boy Foundation began in 2007 with the purpose of bringing healing effects with the use of horses, movement, nature, and community to autism families, at risk youth, veterans with PSD, children and adults with ADD/ADHD, anxiety, chronic pain, and all related pain for free.
Three main programs of the Horse Boy Foundation are the Horse Boy Method, which calms the nervous system and activates the learning centers of the brain through rocking and balancing movements on the horseback. The second method, Horse Boy Learning, achieves the same effects through play equipment and teaches natural curriculum while in movement. The Movement Method is retraining the brain for any neurocognitive disorder which can be done anywhere anytime.
Sarah Salem, a student double majoring in speech pathology and sign language, went on the trip to not only expand her knowledge on the disabled community but for the benefit of herself and her future patients.
“Horse Boy was one of the best trips of my life. It exceeded my expectations further than I can ever imagine. Being new to the club and going on a trip not knowing everyone, I didn’t know what to expect. However, within the first couple of days, meeting Rupert Isaacson, learning his methods, and applying them to the children we were paired with was amazing. Seeing his methods work first hand I knew immediately that I was apart of a movement that everyone had to know about. Seeing the children respond naturally to the outside environment and testing their knowledge through Rupert’s method was ground breaking.”
Salem reflected on a moment that Isaacson shared with the students that will always stay with her.
“At the end of our trip Rupert had told us “The key to happiness is service.” What he meant by that was we get joy and satisfaction out of helping and serving others. This quote reminds me everyday why I am majoring in speech pathology, as well as being apart of the disabled community, and CDS. This is what I want as my future career.”
Nikolas Schulz, the Vice Chairperson of the Committee for Disabled Students, was responsible for inviting Rupert Isaacson to Queens College and organized the trip to Elgin, Texas.
Schulz said that going on the trip to Texas has changed him tremendously and that it helped him find something that he will be involved with for the rest of his life. He decided to bring his experience to Queens College and is proud to share it with the community.
“After this past trip to Texas, the Committee for Disabled Students decided to create a subcommittee which will specifically focus on this trip to Texas, implementing techniques and methods that we have learned during our trips, and raising awareness and interest in this cause, with the ultimate goal being to serve as an academic home for the foundation. The subcommittee will be called “The Horse Boy Club” and will start in the fall semester of 2017,” he continued, “Being that April is autism awareness month, there should be more trips and events to raise awareness. The goal should be to raise the awareness of every individual, especially at an educational facility such as Queens College, to the point that it is not necessary to only have one month out of 12 specifically dedicated to disabilities such as autism, but have every month and every day dedicated to showing compassion, tolerance, respect and love to one another.”
Angela Vhora, a senior majoring in biology/anthropology and minoring in psychology, encourages that every Queens College student goes on the life changing journey.
“This trip has opened my eyes to the opportunities that we as a community can create for people on the spectrum as well as anyone else that has felt isolated because they do not fit the “norm”. It has inspired me to work hard even if all the odds are against you, and something that I’ll never forget the Rupert had said is that “The key to happiness is service.” There really is no greater joy than to know that you can help and that you can also be the small part of something big,” she continued, “My advice to others is to use the opportunities that you have to make a difference. Whether that difference is to change the opinion of one person or many people. Throughout the trip we met many people and they asked what a bunch of New York City college kids were doing in Elgin, Texas, and when we explained, these same people gained new perspective and even had tears in their eyes because they now knew that someone they love could get the right help.”
The trip was one of the many successful events the Committee for Disabled Students held for the Spring 2017 semester, in addition to the Trevor Noah comedy night with Glee guest speaker Ali Stroker, along with an event hosted by Dr. Danielle Sheypuk, a clinical psychologist who helps disabled individuals in the realms of dating, interpersonal skills, and more.