Triplets in Action-  Hadley, Grant , & Briar saddle up

When babies are born prematurely, an exuberant amount of possibilities can overwhelm the parent(s).   Steve and Danielle Wagner are first hand accounts of this.  Their triplets (Hadley, Grant, and Briar) were born prematurely at 24 weeks in May of 2013.  When the children were born their father, Steve, explained that oxygen needed to be delivered to the brain manually due to the delayed development of their bodily systems.  This caused brain bleeds, which led to even more developmental problems within the triplets.  This included the underdevelopment of their muscles, speech, and brain. 

“They basically have to learn and be taught how to do most things that a typical child instinctively knows how to do as they grow up.  The analogy I have been using lately is think of a stroke or accident patient that needs to relearn how to walk and eat and speak with a different part of the brain then they used before.”

Steve and Danielle heard about Equi- Librium Therapy through April, one of our board members.  April serves as the speech therapist for Hadley, Grant and Briar.  The Wagner’s have been participating in equine assisted therapy for about a year now and greatly enjoyed the benefits.  “Our kids do not have a lot of core strength, so when they are positioned on the horse, it forces two things: the force of the core and the force of enjoyment”, Steve said.  “It is such a great feeling seeing two things be developed at once.” 

In addition to their therapy here at ETC, Steve and Danielle also take the triplets to the Meyers Center at Cox Health in Springfield, MO. Steve said that what he has noticed about all of this is that it is like a small little community.   “We see people we know at both places [ETC & Meyers Center].  And just seeing the familiar faces makes it that much easier watching our kids go through this.  It is nice to know that we are not the only ones and neither are they.”

He also explained how the crossover between therapies is amazing.  Steve and Danielle have witnessed an improvement within the core muscles along with speech development during the triplet’s sessions.  This is due to the interaction that the kids have with the therapist and volunteers.  “The therapists are amazing and the volunteers and side walkers for the horse do a great job interacting with the kids.  Anyone who is looking for a volunteer opportunity should contact ETC.  The reward from seeing these kids make progress is incredible.  We are as pleased to see other families’ kids make progress as if they were our own.”

Hippo-Therapy is not recognized or covered by most insurance companies. With the benefits that Steve and Danielle have seen, in not just their kids but also all the clients, it can be very frustrating that funding for this can be difficult.  “ETC does a great job of fundraising and trying to keep the cost down for families,” Steve said. 

Overall, they have enjoyed the benefits that ETC has been able to provide their children with. “We can not wait to continue our therapy sessions here at ETC and we would recommended this therapy to those who are in need of it!”

Meet Regina (Top Left) and David (Right) and two of their kids! They love coming out to volunteer with clients!

Meet Regina (Top Left) and David (Right) and two of their kids! They love coming out to volunteer with clients!

Meet the McEntires -Volunteer Testimonial

What turned into looking for a summer volunteer opportunity for their son, turned into a family affair.  "We had heard about ETC from one of Regina's coworkers," David McEntire said. "After we got acquainted with ETC, we realized it was something we all wanted to do."

 The McEntires stated that one of their favorite aspects about giving back together is seeing how much the clients enjoy the experience of Equine Therapy.  "It is so amazing to hear how much benefit that the clients get out of it."  

 In addition to the joy that the clients bring to the family, so does the actual work.  "Our experience is special volunteering as a family.  It is always fun to see your children doing good things.  But, it is even more fun to do good things with them!" The McEntires said. that the overall experience has been great.  "The staff has been so easy to work with and they have made us feel very comfortable during our time here," said Regina McEntire.  "It hasn't been difficult to fit into our schedules since the sessions are only an hour at a time.  Plus, we have the flexibility to schedule sessions that work best for our family as a whole."

 "Its a great organization, that meets a need in our community.  ETC is staffed by people who care deeply about their mission and the people they serve.  We would recommend it to anyone as a great volunteer opportunity."

Meet Ashley Guyer and her Dad - Chris Guyer

       "Ashley Dawn Marie Guyer was born on September 3rd, 2002. From birth she has had her struggles; born drug and alcohol addicted due to substance abuse from her birth mother she was taken into protective custody at birth.
Jody and myself, Chris, took her into their home at 2 days of age as foster parents and years later were able to adopt Ashley and her two brothers, Devin (now 13) and Demetrius (now 15). 

       Although some of Ashley’s deficiencies were immediately known (drug and alcohol withdrawals, feeding/swallowing problems, unable to hear) others have uncovered as she has grown.  She has a spinal column/brain stem disorder known as Arnold Chiari 1 malformation which in some cases left untreated can result in permanent muscle loss and/or death due to organ failure. 

       She underwent surgery (not her first nor her last) to correct this issue at the age of 3 – a major surgery which very nearly cost Ashley her life but being the trooper she is came out screaming!!  Ashley has been diagnosed with Autism, Velo-facial cardio disorder, Arnold-Chiari 1 Malformation, has a Y22Q11 deletion chromosal disorder, muscular problems, hearing deficiencies in both ears, macular degeneration, a rare bone disorder which is still being researched and other issues as she grows!