Parkwood Farms Therapy Center, Inc. was founded on a hope and a dream…
In 1997, Dr. Marilyn Peterson adopted a family of three children. Shortly afterwards, the youngest, a baby boy was diagnosed with severe Sensory Integration Dysfunction and a condition called autism. In a mother’s effort to do all she could for her child, Dr. Peterson researched many types of therapies. She concluded that HippoTherapy is the one of the most beneficial because it enhances all other therapies. It has opened the door for many special needs children, including profoundly to mildly handicapped individuals, as well as those with emotional and learning disabilities.
Her dream was to create a center where all the services are geared towards improving the quality of life for special needs children… that dream was brought to life because of one child.
Thus, the beginnings of Parkwood Farms Therapy Center, Inc.
In February 2002, she purchased 9.11 acres in Snellville, GA to build her dream. Construction of a therapeutic facility immediately began. The first project was building a six-stall barn and a covered riding arena, designed specifically for HippoTherapy. During construction, she selected and purchased three horses and trained them for therapeutic work.
May 15th, 2002 Parkwood Farms opened its doors to 22 children for HippoTherapy sessions.
Since then the construction and programs have continued to grow. Parkwood Farms now has lights in its covered arena so sessions can be held after dark. The Center also has an outdoor arena for more advanced riding, riding trails, and fences around the perimeter of the pastures. Therapeutic Riding classes have been added for higher functioning children. Many of Parkwood’s HippoTherapy kids have ‘graduated’ to Therapeutic Riding. In fact, five of Parkwood students, including Dr. Peterson’s son, participated in the 2004 State of Georgia Special Olympic Equestrian Sport Championship, in Perry Georgia. And every year since then, Parkwood Farms has led a team to Perry.
Shortly after starting the riding sessions, Dr. Peterson enlisted the help of the Gwinnett community by recruiting a board of directors to help oversee the new non-profit organization, and by recruiting a small army of dedicated volunteers to work with the clients and horses.
The indoor clinic was opened in January 2005. The clinic consists of an open therapy room; a reception room with observation areas overlooking the covered arena and the open therapy room; rooms for speech therapy and for massage therapy; and a Chiropractic suite with its own waiting room, two adjusting rooms and a rehab area. The clinic has a peaceful and soothing décor and atmosphere, conducive to healing and blossoming. Parkwood Farms Therapy Center is a unique facility that offers both clinical and horseback therapy under one roof.