Opening up the World
Jacob H. and Mom, Misty
We met with Jacob H. and his mom, Misty, at McKenna Farms on a perfect spring morning. Jacob comes early in the day so that his mom can make it to work on time. As we sat in Maria’s Place, the gazebo that honors the memory of a young woman who also required therapies at McKenna Farms, I recalled his mom’s application letter for a Jacob’s Fund ridership, which began “I am writing to request a scholarship to help out with my son, Jacob, for services not covered by my insurance, at McKenna Farms . . . Jacob is six years old and is nonverbal . . . (he) is having a great deal of trouble at school because of his disability of being unable to communicate. . . Jacob’s doctor feels the horse therapy will improve his gait.”
Though he’s shy and doesn’t talk, I know from the photos Misty has shared with me that he’s a fun-loving little boy who enjoys playing.
Officer Jacob H., at your service
Since Jacob’s Fund began, we’ve learned that way too many conditions exist that can interfere with a child’s development. Jacob H. suffers from Klinefelter syndrome, a condition we’d never heard of, caused by extra X chromosomes, a spontaneous and random chromosome disorder. Because of this, he has wobbly arms and legs. In addition, he’s recently been diagnosed with autism.
This sweet six-year-old lives in a confined world, where he can’t talk (he’s been in speech therapy since he was two), has difficulty walking, and is unable to engage with other children, his teachers, and the world around him.
On a recent visit to the cranial-facial clinic, doctors found a larger-than-normal gap at the back of his throat that is preventing Jacob H. from forming some sounds. They plan to correct that with surgery in November. In the meantime he’s working with Melissa, his speech therapist, to help make those sounds once surgery is completed.
Misty is more than pleased with her son’s progress and his speech therapist: “Melissa is great! I love her!”
Mother and son share a room that she rents in the home of a friend. Misty works part-time at Publix, a grocery store.
Jacob H.'s sweet, shy smile - so endearing
Of course Jacob’s Fund wanted to help this kindergartner. And Jacob is excited as he begins riding Gizmo, his therapy horse. Still, when a volunteer brought one of the miniature horses over for him to see while his mom and I talked, he was a bit hesitant. He and I approached the little horse while the volunteer talked soothingly to both the horse and the boy. Jacob was tentative about touching the horse’s face, but softly stroked its back and ribs.
His shy smile showed his pleasure, and it appeared again and widened when we asked if he’d seen Nigel, the baby goat.
We’re rooting for both Jacob H. and his mom. She’s a single mom with very limited resources putting her all into giving her little son the best care and therapy so that he can have the fullest life possible.
We’re glad we can help.
Thank you for visiting our blog. We welcome your questions and comments about Jacob’s Fun and hippotherapy and therapeutic riding. We hope that Jacob H.’s story has inspired you to help us help children with developmental impairments through equine therapy. You can email us at jacobbeachyfund.@gmail.com, phone us at 513-423-0108, or write or mail a check to us at:
1630 Tipperary Drive
Middletown, Oh 45042-3875