Posted 2/28/17 (Tue)
This is the second article in a three-part series.
By Sydney Glasoe Caraballo
The girl postures in the saddle, hands-free, as the horse trots across the sandy arena. She giggles, thrilled with the speed and fluid movement of the horse. For Aubrey Nygaard, a second-grader at Divide County Elementary School (DCES), this moment is simply fun. But for horsewoman Heidi Greaves and physical therapist Nicki Loucks, this moment of fun has greater purpose. They are helping Aubrey strengthen her core and stability while she rides.
Aubrey has a genetic deletion that places her on the autism spectrum. Her mother, Stephanie, says Aubrey is fortunate to have advocates like Greaves and Loucks in her life. Aubrey’s parents name one person after another who have helped their daughter. They quickly give credit to Aubrey’s kindergarten teacher, Diane Gunlock.
“She was the best teacher we could have ever asked for,” says Stephanie, Aubrey’s mother. “She pushed for the things that Aubrey needed.”
It was Gunlock, Rochelle Kresbach and the Individualized Educational Program (IEP) team who facilitated Aubrey getting her “talker,” which is a specially designed iPad that enables Aubrey to have a voice. Gunlock recommended an evaluation for Aubrey from an Anne Carlsen Center representative.