CAS Reflection: Service
Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA)
- Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance.
My time volunteering at this service has honestly taught me a lot. I’ve learned not only about ASD and cerebral palsy, but also a method of therapy which never really occurred to me before. RDA focuses on using riding as a way to offer physiotherapy to children who have physical disabilities, and it also offers a way for children with cognitive disorders to interact with people and horses and give them a change of pace.
I think a service working for a cause like this is highly significant as it offers children new experiences that they may not have gotten elsewhere, and there’s many social benefits to it for the child as well as physical and psychological benefits. Often times it can be difficult for these children to achieve this, so organisations like RDA can really help in making a difference and I think that’s really amazing.
Being a sidewalker allowed me to really interact with the children and learn about them as learners/riders as well as just who they were and though at times it was tough, it was really rewarding seeing their progress as the sessions passed and seeing them learn new skills. I actually received some minor leader training where I helped lead the horse of my rider rather than act as a sidewalker, but I chose not to continue the training as I felt like I was making a greater impact on the kids as a sidewalker. I think this experience of volunteering at RDA has made me a lot more aware of different physical disorders too, and it allowed me to get first-hand experience with working with children with ASD and I’ve definitely learned a lot along the way.