Backstory: Jack Harvey Inspires Young Special Needs Student to Tie His Shoes

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Backstory: Jack Harvey Inspires Young Special Needs Student to Tie His Shoes

William, who is nearly six years old, is one of more than 100 Central Indiana children with special needs who receives physical and occupational therapies on horseback at The Children’s TherAplay Foundation.

He and his occupational therapist Leah had been working so hard on tying shoelaces in occupational therapy, but they’d reached a plateau, that is until Meyer Shank Racing’s Indianapolis 500 driver Jack Harvey entered the picture.

As William and Jack spent time together in the May 8 Children’s TherAplay #Horsepower500, a tricycle race between the Indy 500 drivers to help raise funds and awareness for Children’s TherAplay, they talked about tying shoelaces: how fun it is, how helpful, how Jack uses this very same skill. And that really meant something to William.

When he came for occupational therapy the next day, William sat right down and tied his shoelaces, almost completely by himself, for the very first time in his life!!! William’s mother Emily noted, “My four kids now routinely break into a ‘JACK HAR-VEY!!’ chant as we shop for groceries, or drive to practice.”

In celebration of William’s accomplishment, Meyer Shank Racing and Jack Harvey will host William at the Speedway for a quick photo and interview opportunity at the IMS Pagoda Plaza, where Jack and William will both tie their shoelaces on the historic yard of bricks.


The Children’s TherAplay Foundation is one of the few clinics in the country dedicated to providing physical and occupational therapies on horseback for children with special needs. Their therapists combine a sensory-rich, child-centered clinic with hippotherapy – the movement of horses – to provide carefully graded motor, sensory, and neurological input.

Children’s TherAplay provides more than 700 one-on-one treatments each month for Central Indiana children 18 months – 13 years with diagnoses such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, developmental delay, traumatic brain injury, and congenital abnormalities.

Each hour of treatment costs Children’s TherAplay $183 but the average insurance reimbursement is only $101. Contributions, like those raised through #Horsepower500, help close that $82-per-treatment gap, ensuring that children with special needs will continue to have access to these life-changing therapies. For more information on Children’s TherAplay, please visit