Programmes for Autisic young people and adults

We are a small friendly learning community that offers a calm stress free, safe learning environment, free from bullying and the daily pressures of a large school.

Heroes has strong links with BCA College and can help intergrate students into the college.

Heroes Berkshire, Bartletts Lane,(off the Ascot Road A330)  Holyport SL6 2JD

Please note Bartletts Lane has two ends and we are in the middle.Entrance to the farm is only by the Ascot Road. You cannot access the farm from Moneyrow Green.

No Parking in Bartletts Lane or Holyport Memorial Hall as these are private.

01628 783107



Equine Assisted Learning for young people and young adults

Equine Assisted  Learing is a therapy where the children and young people learn about themselves, other people and interacting with the world. It's not about teaching riding or horse care skills and the children don't need any previous experience of horses.

It's been clinically proven that just being in the vicinity of horses changes our brainwave patterns.  They have a calming effect which helps stop people becoming fixated on past or negative events - giving them a really positive experience.
Ross 1 and horse
Autism and Special needs

EAL has proven to be particularly useful for children with autism, attention deficit disorder (ADD) and bipolar disorders - all of whom may find it difficult to communicate, interact with other people and carry out instructions.
Typical treatment programs for Asperger's and Autism focus on behavior modification and improvement. The complexity of the behaviors is gradually increased in an attempt to help the person continue developing.

Research into animal assisted therapy is fairly new. However, even among professionals who believe more research is in order, there's a general consensus that therapy animals can be a highly beneficial addition to treatment programs for children with Autism or Asperger's.

Equine assisted therapy seems to have the best results. The rhythmic motion of riding a horse causes the young people to focus on the movement - which is slow, deliberate, and relaxing. They indirectly learn how to focus better, which is aided by the calming effect of riding.

In addition to the movement experienced when riding the horse, tactile senses are stimulated. The horse's skin is fuzzy, the mane and tail are rough, and the nose is soft. Discovery of these sensations often helps draw a child out, stimulating development of his or her verbal communication and interest in other physical objects.
dawn and horse 

Motor skills are also developed as the child learns to ride, and eventually groom and, secure environment . These new skills, and the child's continued improvement upon them, increase her self-confidence, which increases her desire and willingness to learn skills at home and/or at school. Learning is no longer scary, but fun, interesting and rewarding.

A child's ability to interact socially is often improved as well.  Group sessions allow the child to work and play with other children and counselors, learn how to handle relational conflict, and how to help others.
Counselors who have consistently included equine assisted therapy in their development programs for autistic children always have stories to tell of the dramatic improvements they see in the children. Not only are basic communication and motor skills improved, but many children experience improvements in their overall moods. Children who before experienced angry outbursts or who rarely smiled are suddenly calmer, and smile more readily and frequently.
As with other types of animal assisted therapy, the introduction of the animal seems to calm and soothe children. The playful nature of animals seems to draw autistic children out of their "shells". Children who start to isolate themselves have become more open as a result of equine assisted therapy. Often, they begin making eye contact with the animal first, then with other people. Soon after that, the child often becomes more relationally open; again, with the animal first, then with people.

Horses are wonderful animals to work with they react as a mirror to the person who's with him. He's a prey animal so he wants to feel safe and is always on the lookout for predators. A horse will become very fearful if he's with someone who's aggressive, noisy, disrespectful or too controlling. On the other hand, if the person makes requests rather than demands the horse will begin to cooperate. He is always looking for a leader."

 This is why horses are so good to use as therapy for children. A child who is given just a little insight into dealing with a horse in the right way can become the natural leader the horse is looking for. The horse in return feels safe and peaceful and will cooperate with what the child asks of him. 

A horse is looking for simple and clear commands, and a child, with the right encouragement and in the right situation, can carry these out very effectively. "Go, stop, back up, turn this way or that way" is all that's needed.

"For children with mental and emotional disorders the positive benefits of getting a horse to carry out these commands are often profound.
Children with ADD will focus on the horse for long periods while grooming or leading the horse when usually they can't concentrate long enough to do anything much. Autistic children who are withdrawn and living very much in their own world will begin to express themselves - often using new words or gestures they've never expressed before.
Once children realize what they can achieve their self-esteem increases in leaps and bounds. Imagine what it must feel like to lead an animal through an obstacle course, stopping and starting when you want to, when you usually find it difficult to concentrate, communicate or stay in control?.

The results are startling. Even those showing severe anti-social and aggressive behavior become calmer and more communicative. 


Suitable for young people of all ages and abilities