Julie Casey MSW, RSW

Wellness Care Farm

Nourishing Hearts

Sometimes children on the autism spectrum can have difficulty finding their place in this world where they can shine just as they are.  Here on the farm, I provide HIGHLY INDIVIDUALIZED therapy that accepts the child exactly as he/she is – at their current level of functioning. With unconditional positive regard, acceptance and empathic communication, the child is provided space and time to be empowered, allowing them to connect with their innate drive towards better functioning. The child can choose the pace and focus of change which ultimately increases their sense of autonomy. This respect for however the child wants to play removes the pressures of the world and encourages spontaneous play where feelings and experiences can be depicted in their activities rather than words alone. The therapeutic relationship offers the child a secure base where they can safely observe the world, engage on their terms in ways that feel comfortable to them. This offers the child a sense of safety, trust, and connection in a supportive environment in which to explore and experiment. Try out ways of being and discover who they are.

Goals in therapy may include:

  • Social and emotional development
  • Theory of mind skill
  • Communication skills
  • Relationship skills
  • Self-expression
  • Problem-solving
  • Sense of belonging

An animal in session can help to:

  • Increase emotional awareness and regulation
  • Practice behavioural management and improvement skills
  • Stimulate communication and social interaction skills
  • Develop gross and fine motor
  • Participate in caretaking
  • Build confidence and assertiveness
  • Make therapy fun and engaging

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Studies have found that in AAP sessions, children with autism:

  • Have an increase in socially appropriate and prosocial behavior
  • Show fewer autistic behaviors (e.g. hand flapping, humming, spinning objects, jumping)
  • Were less easily distracted
  • Were more likely to engage in conversation and discussion, often about the animal