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Posted 8:15 PM by

Sometimes people are so generous that we don’t even know what to say.

  • The huge-hearted Trends International team members, who are already so generous with their graphic design work, have once again named Children’s TherAplay one of the beneficiaries of their August 19 CharitiBOWL. Over the past several years, their CharitiBOWL contributions have funded *more than 500* (!) equine-assisted PT and OT treatments for our kiddos.
  • Our friends Dave O’Brien and Casey Valliers from Country 97.1 HANK FM (shown here with Corey Cox) not only served as celebrity sidewalkers at Gideon and FairyTale’s horsiversary, they’ve also added a post to their Facebook page encouraging folks to volunteer and donate.

  • The folks at Altar’d State at Clay Terrace are holding a month-long fundraiser where, each Monday this August, 10% of your purchase price will go towards Children’s TherAplay. They’re doubling down on August 14 with a shopping event featuring refreshments, face-painting, prizes, and a visit from service dog AJ.
  • And Corey Cox and his band, who were such a hit at last year’s Hoe-Down that we immediately booked them for this year, are in the process of filling a reserved table at the Sept. 23 Hoe-Down. That’s a $2,500 contribution, and their manager is using his Facebook page to raise more funds.

It’s at once humbling, encouraging, and inspiring to see these people – and we know there are so many others! – stepping up to say, “I want to be a part of this,” and then doing what they can, in a way that works for them, to help the kiddos.

Thank you friends. We are so thankful to be part of this community with you and your very big hearts. 

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Celebrating everyday independence days

Posted 8:38 PM by

At Children’s TherAplay, independence day comes around many times each year. No, not the fourth of July but the individual independence days our kiddos work so hard, through their equine-assisted physical and occupational therapies, to reach.

Ready to learn about – and celebrate! – each of these kiddos’ individual independence days? Read on!

Ian: Communication

Individual independence days look different for every child. For Ian, who is mostly nonverbal, that day of independence involves communication. His steady work with occupational therapist Miss Leah has helped him develop the visual and fine motor skills to type his name on a keyboard or hand-write it. His whole world is opening up – and there’s so much more to come.

Ollie: Mobility

For kiddo Ollie, shown here after on-the-horse treatment time with physical therapist Miss Teresa, it comes through mobility. When he first began coming for treatment at Children’s TherAplay, Ollie had such limited mobility that his parents could reliably park him in a spot at home for a few minutes and find him in the exact same place when they came back.

With steady physical and occupational therapy treatment, that has changed dramatically. Ollie’s mom recently asked his older brother to watch Ollie. When she came back, her little guy was sitting in an armchair. “Did you put Ollie there?” she asked. Nope! Ollie climbed up and seated himself all by himself.

Ryan: Engaging with peers

When occupational therapist Miss Kaylin saw this photo, with kiddos Ryan and Whitney, for the first time she exclaimed, “That makes me so happy!”

Why? Because it shows how very far Ryan has come in feeling comfortable enough to engage his peers. How did it happen? Through steady improvements in occupational therapy and a little ingenuity: Kaylin and physical therapist Miss Sue brought kiddos Ryan and Whitney together during treatment to help each of them progress towards their goals. It’s not just working beautifully. It’s working joyfully.

Grace: Participating in school activities

Kiddo Grace thought she was going to have to change schools. That was the only thing she could think of that would allow her to avoid the dreaded maypole dance she'd otherwise be required to perform in. Actually, it’s a beautiful dance … unless you’re unable to skip and weave about and curtsey like your fellow dancers

So Grace and her mother spoke with physical therapist Miss Teresa. And set a very big goal. Find out what it took to achieve that goal -- and cheer Grace on as you see the results via video.

Happy independence day kiddos! Congratulations and keep up the great work!

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No more tears: Kiddo Grace reaches her goal

Posted 6:45 PM by

Kiddo Grace thought she was going to have to change schools. That was the only thing she could think of that would allow her to avoid the dreaded maypole dance she'd otherwise be required to perform in. Actually, it’s a beautiful dance … unless you’re unable to skip and weave about and curtsey like your fellow dancers.

So Grace and Miss Teresa got to work, incorporating the dancing skills – balance, skipping, pivoting – into her weekly physical therapy treatment. There were many tears of anxiety about the performance but, as you can see in the video, all that hard work paid off. Grace was able to successfully – *flawlessly* – navigate the maypole dance in front of the assembled guests without missing a single step.  And the experience of working towards and accomplishing a goal – an extremely challenging one at that! – has carried over big time. Other obstacles just don’t look so intimidating anymore. “You guys – [Children’s TherAplay] – did that,” says her mother Deborah. "I'm so proud of her and thankful for everyone's help. My heart could just burst!!" Ours too, Deborah.

Enjoy watching Grace – wearing glasses and a pink dress – as she reaches her goal. And be sure to congratulate her in the Comments section below. #KudosFoKiddos #hippotherapy


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Putting the fun in functional

Posted 10:16 PM by

When you analyze one functional task, you’ll find that those same skills can often be applied to many other functional tasks. Take watering the plants, for example, like kiddo Nora and Miss Arin did recently during occupational therapy.

Nora had to attend to directions (“Let’s fill the watering can with fresh water”), use her visual and gross motor skills to find the flowers and then position the weighty watering can appropriately, upper extremity strength and motor planning to control and maintain accuracy of the water flow (no flooded flowers here!), all while staying focused on the multi-step task at hand.

Those very same skills will carry over to home – transferring dishes from the table to the sink – and school – carrying her school supplies to her desk. Nora may think she’s just having fun watering the flowers with a friend but there’s so much more and it will serve her well indeed. #PuttingTheFunInFunctional


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"Add another zero"

Posted 8:11 PM by

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, the 500 Festival Princess Program called.

At the #Horsepower500, the kiddos reached right out and captured the princesses’ hearts. (Based on the above picture by D. Todd Moore, we think it’s safe to say that therapy horse Rocky did the same.) We were so honored to learn that, of the 200+ organizations they’ve served, the 500 Festival Princesses chose Children’s TherAplay as the recipient of their $500 community impact award, which is funded by 5/3 Bank. Then, a few days later, things took a turn for the even-more-wonderful.

How? It happened when Steve Alonso, Regional President of 5/3 Bank, learned who was on the receiving end of the check. “That’s not enough,” he said of the $500 contribution. “Add another zero.”

…Which brings the total amount that 5/3 Bank has donated to Children’s TherAplay to an astounding $20,000. This year.

Those funds are compounded by the time and talent contributed by the president of the Children’s TherAplay board of directors, 5/3 Bank’s own Jeff Craig. (Thank you Jeff!) To say 5/3 Bank walks their talk when it comes to community partnership would be an understatement of epic proportions.

Thank you 500 Festival Princesses, 5/3 Bank, Steve, Jeff and the many, many people who make physical and occupational therapies with horsepower a possibility for Central Indiana kiddos with special needs. #OurHeros

Photo: Kiddo Lauryn and Children's TherAplay Founder and Immediate Past President Craig Dobbs show off big smiles and even bigger check after the Breakfast at the Brickyard. Photo courtesy of Lauryn’s mom.

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Kiddo Oliver's got it all buttoned up

Posted 7:05 PM by

Have you ever wondered why fastening and unfastening buttons can be such a bear? Just think about everything that’s required get the job done:

  • Visual skills to line up the button with the buttonhole,
  • Hand strength and coordination to open the buttonhole and push the button through,
  • Body awareness to track where the button is in space (even when it’s hidden under fabric!), and
  • Two hands working indepentnley to pull, push, and change directions.

It’s a major undertaking, and all the more reason for kiddo Oliver to holler “YAY! WOOHOO!” when, after a great deal of hard work with occupational therapist Miss Kaylin, he successfully subdues the buttons on his shirt.

GREAT work Oliver! #HesGotItAllButtonedUp

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Learn more about occupational therapy and how it helps kiddos with special needs.

Check out the 2017 special events and fundraisers calendar.

Enjoy the wrap-up of the recent Children's TherAplay #Horsepower500.

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Three more reason to love the IndyCar drivers

Posted 6:29 PM by

Why were there 14 drivers and motorsports personalities for 12 therapy horses and one facility service dog at the 2017 Children's TherAplay #Horsepower500? Because sometimes things change with the drivers’ schedules.

Last year all the drivers who registered for the event were able to compete. This year, defending #Horsepower500 champion Scott Dixon and 2016 #Horsepower500 finalist Santiago Urruita had to drop out. Which brings us to...

Reason #1

That’s when IndyCar drivers Conor Daly and Stefan Wilson cheerfully acquired extra kiddo copilots and, along with them, additional laps in the tricycle race. Were they good luck charms? Could be! Both Conor and Stefan made it to the finals with the expanded Team Cinnamon claiming third place.

Reason #2

Joan’s original teammate, Santi, didn’t let the distance between Florida – where he was located – and Indiana stop him from reaching out to his kiddo copilot. He promptly posted a video, just for Joan, to Twitter and Instagram.

Reason #3

Scott Dixon, who was closer to home, invited Gavin and his family out for some one-on-one time at the Indianapolis Grand Prix race. As you can see from Gavin's expression, it was a very big day!

Reasons #4-15

Mikhail Aleshin ★ Conor Daly ★ Katie Hargitt ★ Jack Harvey ★ James Hinchcliffe ★ Jay Howard ★ Dalton Kellett ★ Kevin Lee ★ Pippa Mann ★ Spencer Pigot ★ Aaron Telitz ★ Stefan Wilson .... Thank you for going above and beyond for the kiddos.

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#Horsepower500 coverage - it's all right here!

Posted 9:28 PM by

Well, you did it again. 550 of you packed the stands at the Children's TherAplay #Horsepower500 to celebrate the kiddos, to create an afternoon they’ll long remember, to laugh and cheer and maybe even tear up a little as their joy overflowed and the world became a little brighter.

The heart you gave, the funds you contributed, the awareness you raised -- we will invest all of it well, putting it right back into the therapies that help these kiddos and their families walk taller and shine brighter. Thank you.

Here's a look at what the local media, national media, and drivers had to say about it. article

...After four hotly contested preliminary heats, it was Indy 500 returnee Jay Howard who took the checkered flag in the final, edging Pigot and Daly, with Wilson also making the final heat.

“It’s amazing,” said Howard, who will pilot the No. 77 Team One Cure Honda in this month’s Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. “What they do here, the interaction between animals and kids is phenomenal, and Tony Stewart is a big supporter of (Children’s TherAplay). He had told me a little bit about it before I came here. But when you see what goes on here, it’s just mind-blowing.”

WISH TV video

Parents say the place changes lives. [Kiddo Ryan’s mother:]
“He has made huge strides since being at TherAplay.”

Indy Star photo gallery (which has, hands down, the best title!)

WTHR article

...The driver's list included Indy 500 starters James Hinchcliffe, Conor Daly, Jay Howard, Spencer Pigot, Pippa Mann, and Stefan Wilson. Recently retired NASCAR champion Tony Stewart was also in attendance, helping lead Howard's team to victory.

Indy Star video

FOX 59 video interview and tricycle race

USA Today video and article

2017 #Horsepower500 champion Jay Howard

Team One Cure / Tony Stewart (via Facebook)

Favorites from the #Horsepower500 feed on Instagram

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Win tickets to the sold-out #Horsepower500

Posted 7:11 PM by

You heard correctly, the 2017 Children's TherAplay #Horsepower500 is completely sold out! But, thanks to our friends at Country 97.1 Hank FM and Fox 59 Morning News, there are three ways to win tickets to the May 9 event!


Mornings with Dave O’Brien

From 5 to 9 a.m. on Country 97.1 Hank FM

Listen in on an exclusive interview between Dave and #Horsepower500 driver Stefan Wilson, then call in to win.  Or register with to win tickets online.


Fox 59 Morning News

Thursday, May 4 at 9:50 a.m.

Tune in to Fox 59 for a live interview and tricycle race between #Horsepower500 driver Jack Harvey and a Fox 59 friend. Tickets will be awarded to callers five and nine at the conclusion of the segment. The segment will stream live online here. Watch for the number to call.


Then be sure to sit back and enjoy this brief video. If you weren’t already a fan of HANK FM, you will be by the time you finish watching this brief video of radio personalities Dave and Casey sidewalking with the kiddos and interviewing therapy horse Gideon. As you can see in the video – no surprise! – they had a ball, as did the kiddos and, of course, Gideon. Thanks for making our day, guys!


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IndyCar driver and IndyStar surprise kiddo Yerick

Posted 6:54 PM by

What’s better than making a kiddo’s day? Having IndyCar driver Stefan Wilson and the Indianapolis Star there to be a very special part of it.

They joined us last week to surprise Yerick, who will soon be graduating from physical and occupational therapies at Children’s TherAplay, with a very personal – and joyful – invitation to participate in the May 9 #Horsepower500.

The article and video

Smile your way through the two-minute video (at the top of the page) and the full article here. There’s a lot to celebrate. Indianapolis Star writer Maureen and photographer Jenna captured everything beautifully.

Behind the scenes

Here are answers to some of the questions you've been asking.

  • The “reveal” was supposed to be a surprise for Yerick. Did it work out? Mostly. With the not-so-small crowd gathering in the clinic, Yerick definitely knew something was up.
  • Was Yerick excited about Stefan? That’s a definite Yes. As soon as Stefan walked in, Yerick jumped up and hugged his #HP500 teammate -- see for yourself in the article and video! -- which is quite a compliment coming from a young man.

  • Favorite moment? There were so many! Obviously Yerick's reaction when Stefan came out. Also, when we asked Yerick if Stefan should ride Riley, Yerick whisked off his helmet and ran over to give it to Stefan.

The quickly-formed camradarie between Stefan and Yerick was really something to see. It's like they'd been buds for ages.

  • Could you love Stefan Wilson any more than you do right now? It would be difficult! Anyone who can find time in his busy schedule to bring a child that kind of joy is tops in our book. Stefan, we are so, so thankful.

Additional photos courtesy of Chelsea Timmerman of CoForce International.

And the official team poster

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