A group of people with physical or mental disabilities or with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), who live in Sorocaba (SP), receive free equine therapy through the Unified Health System (SUS).
According to the city council, 20 patients, including children and adults with multiple disabilities, were referred for treatment for nine months at the Therapeutic Institution for Rehabilitation and Rehabilitation Groups (Integrar).
However, according to the government, the city is one of the first in Brazil to receive free care by the SUS. For the implementation of the services, funds of about R$140,000 have been transferred through parliamentary amendments.
About 70 people are currently undergoing equine therapy at Integrar, says Fernanda Peixe, vice president of the foundation. According to them, activity is indicated for several types of situations.
“We are served by health and private insurance. Right now, we have this group of 20 patients who are referred from entities, by SUS. Horseback riding therapy can be done by anyone, even to treat anxiety and enuresis for examplehe explains.
Felipe Almeida, son of Samira Lucian Almeida, has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Samira comments that the boy has only had four sessions, but is already showing behavioral improvement.
“Especially in speech, he communicates better. He has more focus and focus in conversation. He also socializes better. It was only four sessions.” Tell the mother.
Samira comments that Felipe has been looking forward to treatment all week.
“When he gets between the horses, he’s very happy. Before he arrives, he has those good expectations. He feels that feeding the horse is useful and he likes to ride. It was very important to him. And at no cost, it helps a lot,” Samira says.
Luanny dos Santos Veiga is one of the patients in the group who was able to get equine therapy through SUS. The mother, Cynthia Rosalía dos Santos, says the girl is calmer and more focused.
“She started a couple of weeks ago and I can see that she is much calmer and more focused on her daily activities. Without the possibility to do this for free, we wouldn’t be able to offer it to her at this time.” Cynthia points out.
Specialist physiotherapist, Thais Mansur Perez, explains the benefits that equine therapy brings. “It improves body posture, balance, and develops muscle strength. In psychological gains, we can mention that it helps the patient’s self-esteem, confidence, and independence. It stimulates cooperation, teamwork, and awareness of one’s own body and that of the other,” explains the professional.
In addition, equine therapy stimulates the production of certain hormones, according to the Thais. “It releases dopamine, serotonin and melatonin. This regulates the health of the practitioner, as well as his sensory and neuromuscular development. There are many gains in the senses as well, auditory, olfactory and visual, for example,” says the physiotherapist. from Integra.
Roselyn Batista Silva, 33, has been in treatment since she was 19. She suffers from non-progressive chronic encephalopathy.
“When I started the goal was to improve my coordination and balance. What I noticed most about the improvement in me was my emotional balance. When I’m in the sector in a session I feel very comfortable and happy.” Roselyn Comments.
According to the city council, the money freed up under the amendment has been used to provide care for 20 patients, who are already receiving assistance. At the moment, there are no vacancies for new patients, but it is expected that the work will expand in the coming year.
There is also the possibility of obtaining pro bono assistance through a court proceeding and through Integra’s partner entities.
To learn more about the work, those interested can visit the Foundation in person, which is located on Avenida Comendador Pereira Inácio, 1991, in Jardim Vergueiro, in Sorocaba.
“It is imperative that funds and support move from devices so more people can access and organizations can help everyone in an equal, individual and humane way.” Fernanda Peixe points out.
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