About Strides OT

Strides OT works to determine and meet the needs of individuals who are experiencing challenges with development and functional performance. Through professional, evidence-based interventions in a fun, family-centered community environment, clients will have opportunities to improve and expand upon their own skills and development through specifically designed therapeutic treatments.

Following an evaluation, a treatment program will be designed to address various needs, which may include: gross and fine motor skills, sensory processing, mobility, visual motor and visual perceptual skills, self-regulatory skills, handwriting skills, self-care skills, social and play skill development, motor planning, organization, and coordination

Therapist Bio:

Sarah Poindexter, MS, OTR/L

AHCB Certified Therapist and CTRI

I am a graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy. I have always had a passion for helping people. I began volunteering for Special Equestrians, Inc., an adaptive riding center, in 2010. I joined the Board of Directors in 2014, and have served as the Secretary since then. I have completed American Hippotherapy Association (AHA) Level I and Level II Hippotherapy Treatment Principles courses. I am also an AHCB Certified Therapist through passing the entry level board certification exam in hippotherapy, as well as a PATH, Intl. Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor and Registered Therapist. I am also a certified NeuroNet Learning and Therapeutic Listening provider.

Strides Occupational Therapy Services has partnered with Special Equestrians, Inc. to provide occupational therapy services including hippotherapy as a treatment strategy. 


What is it?

The American Hippotherapy Association, Inc., defines hippotherapy (HPOT) as how occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech-language pathology professionals use evidence-based practice and clinical reasoning in the purposeful manipulation of equine movement to engage sensory, neuromotor, and cognitive systems to achieve functional outcomes. In conjunction with the affordances of the equine environment and other treatment strategies, hippotherapy is part of a patient’s integrated plan of care.

How it Works

On the horse, the therapist adjusts and modifies several variables to elicit specific reactions from the client. Those variables include the horse’s speed, direction, and transitions, the position of the client, and the therapeutic activities being performed. Off the horse, treatment can be included in the on-site therapy room or the natural barn/farm environment to prepare the client for the equine movement, or to address functional goals after equine movement.

Neuromotor: The movement of a horse’s hind legs and pelvis is transmitted to the person riding, which causes movement in the pelvis of that person. The rhythmical and symmetrical gait of the horse provides about 3000 “walking” steps to the client in one 30-minute session.

Sensory: The horse, farm site, barn, and arena all provide countless opportunities for sensory exposure on every level.

Cognitive: The client may have to complete complex tasks like following multiple step directions or recalling a sequence of movements, or more simpler tasks like remembering their horse’s name and color.

NeuroNet Learning

NeuroNet is a learning readiness program designed to help students become independent learners. Created by Nancy Rowe, an audiologist based out of Gainesville, Florida, this program helps students develop fluency in reading, math, and handwriting skills.The NeuroNet programs center around four key concepts:

1. Learn IndependentlyChildren watch and learn through a video based movement program, then think and act upon what they see. This design element helps kids engage in productive trial and error problem solving.

2. Make the speed and accuracy networkChildren develop fluency in early reading, handwriting, and math skills. With fluency in these essential skills, kids learn how to use what they know to enhance new learning.

3. Get your brain to practice what you want your brain to learnThe program is designed to encourage practice. In order to develop fluency, you must practice fluency.

4. Self-evaluation is the key to motivationAn important skill that is difficult to learn is self-evaluation, or the ability to assess your own performance, actions, and attitude.

Through this program, kids learn to self-evaluate and to equate effort and practice with improvements in performance. For more information, visit http://stepupforlearning.com

Therapeutic Listening

Therapeutic Listening is a sound-based approach to addressing a variety of needs. This program is embedded in a developmental and sensory integrative perspective. The music has been designed, selected, and modified to capture attention and activate body movement. Therapeutic Listening influences the self-organizing capacities of the nervous system through they use of rhythmical sound, electronic modifications, and organized patterns.