by Todd

Therapy has been a way of life for us since Katy was just over a year old. She was accepted into Missouri’s First Steps program in June of 2006 and began speech, physical and occupational therapies at home. By the time she “graduated” from First Steps at the age of three, we had also added cognitive and hippo-therapy (or horse riding therapy).


After moving out of the First Steps program and into the mainstream pre-school program, Katy’s therapies switched over to the responsibility of our local public school system. She received speech and language, physical, occupational therapies from the start. More than half way through her first year of pre-school, Katy was tested for enrollment in a music therapy class as well.

Music Therapy

No other therapy has had the affect that Music has had on Katy. When her therapist, Marcia, performed the original tests, Katy’s scores were almost unbelievable. Music helped Katy focus an astounding 346 percent better during just the first round of testing. Marcia has since referred to Katy as “the poster child for music therapy.” Music therapy opened doors across the board for every single one of Katy’s teachers and therapists. Where before there was a little girl who wanted to do only what she wanted to do, now they had a willing participant in class. Where before Katy would fight and cry with her therapists, now she would sing along with them while performing her exercises. Where before we had a non-verbal little girl who could communicate only through sign language, now we had the beginnings of speech. The start of music therapy in Katy’s first year of pre-school is, to this day, the defining moment in a profound change in our daughter for the better.

Aqua Therapy

Katy’s physical therapist from First Steps, Amanda, stayed on with us following our ┬ámove into pre-school simply because of how well Katy responded to her. PT had always been Katy’s least favorite of the therapies – because it was the hardest for her. We made the decision finally to switch out of regular PT and move to aquatherapy – or physical therapy in a pool – once we discovered how much Katy loved being in the water. Aquatherapy trails only music therapy in terms of importance for our little girl and also in terms of fun for Katy. Her first steps have come in the pool. She can balance with the aid of the water and walk unassisted as you can see in the following video. Also, notice that Amanda incorporates music into her therapy as well.

Hippotherapy (Horse Riding)

Katy began Hippotherapy in spring of 2008. She’s had an on-again, off-again affair with horse riding for much of the time with this. For us, though, we can see how much it works her core. The movement of the horse forces her to sit up and stay balanced. Less than a month into her first session, she began sitting up on and pushing a small train designed for toddlers to learn how to walk. Was it because of the horse therapy or was it just her time? Well, ain’t that the question for every little thing that happens when you have a child like Katy? She went through a time of not looking forward to going to this therapy, but this past session they switched her to a new horse named “Dusty.” For whatever reason, Katy absolutely adores Dusty and would cheer as we were going to horse therapy each and every time over the last month of the session. Something about those two clicked, and as soon as it did, she really had a lot of fun with it.

Complete list of therapies Katy has participated in: (more details to come soon)

Physical (Gross motor)

Occupational (Fine motor)

Developmental (Cognitive)





Anat Baniel Method

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen Kaufman January 10, 2011 at 7:45 pm

How would someone go about donating to Katy


Todd January 18, 2011 at 10:18 pm

I really appreciate you asking about that. Any help is always appreciated. We do have a fund set up for Katy that handles as much of her medical and therapeutic needs as possible. I’ll get back to you tomorrow with complete information on contributing to it. Thanks for thinking of her!



Phil Waigand "THE BEAT"(Heart Hoof Drum) August 19, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Just would like to add that “Physical Movement & Music” have a
natural connection starting with our heart beats. An example is
using a little music during therapeutic horse sessions. Also, you
stated that one of Katy’s best “connections” is with music. Point
being, that the music she enjoys could be used at times in her other therapies.
Thanks for letting me share my thoughts.
Phil Waigand “THE BEAT”(Heart Hoof Drum) Arlington, TX


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