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Louisville 5-year-old with spina bifida moving easier with the help of special horse therapy

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A 5-year-old girl from Louisville won’t let physical challenges hold her back from living a full life. Dakota Erwin is making significant progress through specialized therapy. The young girl was born with the most severe form of spina bifida: a birth defect that caused her spine to not develop fully. The 5-year-old moves through life in a wheelchair, with no feeling from the waist-down.”She’s had to learn how to hold her body up, how to move with her body even though she has no movement in her legs,” said the girl’s mom, Starr Griggs. Every week, Griggs takes her daughter to Green Hill Therapy in Middletown, where she’s working to improve her mobility — on horseback. The horse farm on Long Run Road offers a combination of specialized physical, occupational, and speech therapy for differently-abled kids, including hippotherapy: a practice used to teach balance and coordination on horses. Occupational Therapist Sara Johnson has worked alongside Erwin for three years. “If she was never able to get any kind of therapy, I don’t think she would be where she is today,” Johnson said. She told WLKY Erwin could barely sit up three years ago, but has since made significant progress. “The kids that we help here are so special and they work so hard,” said Green Hill Therapy Executive Director, Sarah Halfacre. “The more support we can get from our community, the more we are able to help the kids in our community.” Green Hill Therapy is hosting a bourbon raffle fundraiser to fund their efforts to give kids like Dakota Erwin a full life. The facility is raffling off Woodford Reserve specialty bourbon and a distillery tour. Tickets are on sale now, ahead of the grand prize drawing at 5 pm on Sept. 12. The money raised will help support Green Hill Therapy’s mission to help children with special needs reach their potential.

A 5-year-old girl from Louisville won’t let physical challenges hold her back from living a full life.

Dakota Erwin is making significant progress through specialized therapy.

The young girl was born with the most severe form of spina bifida: a birth defect that caused her spine to not develop fully.

dakota erwin as a baby

The 5-year-old moves through life in a wheelchair, with no feeling from the waist-down.

“She’s had to learn how to hold her body up, how to move with her body even though she has no movement in her legs,” said the girl’s mom, Starr Griggs.

Every week, Griggs takes her daughter to Green Hill Therapy in Middletown, where she’s working to improve her mobility — on horseback.

The horse farm on Long Run Road offers a combination of specialized physical, occupational, and speech therapy for differently-abled kids, including hippotherapy: a practice used to teach balance and coordination on horses.

Horse’therapy

Occupational Therapist Sara Johnson has worked alongside Erwin for three years.

“If she was never able to get any kind of therapy, I don’t think she would be where she is today,” Johnson said.

She told WLKY Erwin could barely sit up three years ago, but has since made significant progress.

“The kids that we help here are so special and they work so hard,” said Green Hill Therapy Executive Director, Sarah Halfacre. “The more support we can get from our community, the more we are able to help the kids in our community.”

Green Hill Therapy is hosting a bourbon raffle fundraiser to fund their efforts to give kids like Dakota Erwin a full life.

The facility is raffling off Woodford Reserve specialty bourbon and a distillery tour.

Tickets are on sale now, ahead of the grand prize drawing at 5 pm on Sept. 12.

The money raised will help support Green Hill Therapy’s mission to help children with special needs reach their potential.

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