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Ask Sydney Neal what she likes best about Timber Creek and her answer comes quickly – “The horses!” Turns out Sydney’s fast talking is what got her to Timber Creek.
Sydney and her parents Allen and Tawnya live near Stuart. “Her school principal recommended we try Timber Creek,” says Allen. “She was trying to talk so fast that she stuttered. The school was having her see a speech therapist but those sessions were only five to 10 minutes. We wanted to get her more help.”
The Neals decided to give Timber Creek a try. “We had no clue they would put her on a horse,” Allen says. “We were skeptical. But it has made a big difference in her speech. We notice if she misses a session.”
Cindy McCarty walks beside Sydney as she rides a horse around the Timber Creek arena. As they walk, she asks Sydney questions, encouraging her to slow down to lessen the stuttering. She taught her to tap her finger as she talks, getting her speech into a rhythm that is easier to maintain.
McCarty also gives Sydney homework assignments. For instance, she’ll assign her a reading about horses. During the following session, McCarty asks what she learned, giving her a chance to practice her “easy speech” while talking about a topic she loves.
“Our friends and relatives have noticed how much Timber Creek has helped her,” Allen says. “We know she’s learning techniques that will help her continue to improve.”
The family’s insurance wouldn’t cover speech therapy at Timber Creek, so they were paying privately because they could see how much Sydney benefitted. Then McCarty offered assistance through Timber Creek Charities.
Allen or Tawnya and Sydney make the half-hour trip from Stuart to Timber Creek regularly. “We’re grateful for the help,” Allen says. “I don’t mind making the drive. I’ll bring her until she can drive herself!”