Owen Livingston likes the Iowa State Cyclones, and can name all the schools in the Big 12 Conference. He also likes shoes, both his own and everyone else’s. He likes maps, computers and reading. And he likes coming to Timber Creek.
Owen is autistic. The 30-year-old lives with his parents, Paula and Rob, on their family farm near Fontanelle. Four days a week he goes to a workshop in Creston for people with special needs. Once a week he’s at Timber Creek to spend a half-hour on a horse while practicing his listening and speaking skills.
For the past seven years, Cindy McCarty and other Timber Creek staff members have worked with Owen to improve his ability to listen carefully and follow directions. “They give him three-step and five-step directions for things to say and do,” says Paula.
McCarty also has Owen practice “who, what, where, when, why” questions to get him to respond to everyday living skills. “This has helped Owen adapt and respond to his daily surroundings and other interests,” Paula says.
“The staff at Timber Creek has so much patience,” Paula says. “It’s so calm here. It’s like walking into a sanctuary. After his time on the horse and interacting with the staff, Owen is calm, too.”