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             Theo is 7 (nearly 8!) and loves animals, Minecraft and Pokemon. He also has autism. His profile fits that of ‘pathological demand avoidance’, in that his central difficulty is his avoidance of the everyday demands made by other people, due to his high anxiety levels when he feels he’s not in control. Many children avoid demands to some extent, but children with PDA do so to a far greater level than is considered usual. He also has a sensory processing disorder and dyspraxia. When he feels pressured and anxious he can become highly explosive and display some very challenging behaviour. But when he’s feeling calm and happy he is the most delightful boy you could ever imagine. This, of course, is the real Theo. Because of the above school has been very difficult for Theo. Despite having full time 1-2-1 support he is not coping in mainstream school and we are currently working with his current school and a myriad of other professionals and the Local Authority to find somewhere less stressful for Theo to do his learning. It’s not an easy task as it doesn’t feel like he quite fits anywhere. We have been coming to Rainbow Horses for just under a year, and it is the only time Theo willingly leaves the house for anything. He loves the horses and all the other animals on the farm. He has particular affinity with Flick, who is an anxious horse himself, and through Sue’s gentle guidance he has begun to recognise what Flick might be feeling through his body language, and his eyes and face. He adores riding Flick, especially when they go for a trot. Theo’s younger sister Cassie also comes because it’s therapy for all the family and an opportunity for them to both enjoy some time together when Theo’s anxiety levels are low and he’s feeling happy and relaxed. Last week Theo asked me why we go to Rainbow Horses and I explained because Sue and the horses are brilliant at helping children with brains like Theo. The look of relief and happiness on his face said it all when I asked if that was ok – here was a place where he fitted in, where he belonged and he could simply be himself. There are few places like this in the world for Theo, and we would all be devastated if Rainbow Horses was no longer able to offer the incredible support they currently do for children like Theo and their families.