In order to make the Horse-Assisted Intervention as effective as possible with regard to the Capacity-building of each one of our users’ resources. The Center provides activities that are synergic with the fieldwork, activities that can be grouped together under a common denominator known as “user type differentiated workshops”. Including, in particular:
- a SENSOMOTOR workshopusing saddlery work;
- a COGNITIVE workshopinvolving the application of specific protocols through use of the Feuerstein method;
- a SOCIAL/RELATIONAL workshopusing group games and the realization of shared tasks which necessitate working on choices made jointly.
This entails the work of specialized, dedicated personnel, namely:
- a qualified Psychomotricist,
- a Support Teacher specialized in the Feuerstein method.
The cognitive workshop allows for the integration of activities carried out in the field, creating the space needed to internalize and give symbolism to the practical experience gained. The specifically calibrated didactic tool is enhanced thanks to contribution and close collaboration of a teacher who has perfected his/her use of this method, aided by our psychomotricist equipped with proven equestrian experience. According to the Feuerstein method, intelligence is not a genetically inherited trait and is therefore not unchangeable; rather, it is a state, resulting from different components of which the genetic is neither the only nor the most important one. Intelligence is the organism’s propensity to modify its cognitive structure, in response to the need to adapt to new stimuli, whether they originate internally or externally (Feuerstein 1998). On this theoretical basis the Feuerstein method is employed by us to stimulate the intelligence of children with various degrees and stages of learning disabilities.
The method is structured on a special type of teaching centered on a didactic mediation, created by a person who is professionally qualified to apply the method. Always under the guidance of a teacher, through the PAS (Programma di Arricchimento Strumentale/Instrumental Enrichment Program) one goes on to carry out exercises aimed at developing intelligence understood as the mind’s property, that is, as modifiable.
In short, the method consists in making the child, the individual, aware of the precise mental processes he/she puts into action when learning or solving problems. When the user reaches a full or sufficient awareness of these mental processes, he/she can – as we would say – “see” how he/she thinks. The user thus realizes that these can be modified to be able to improve learning how to solve different kinds of problems, not just mathematical or scholastic ones. For example, The PAS exercises are directed at helping control impulsiveness when required to answer a question or solve a problem.
One learns the need to stop and reflect before carrying out even the smallest action and that one needs to always ask what the problem is and how it has been solved. The reasons resulting in success or in failure are understood.