Autism and Horse Therapy
Horse therapy is an invaluable opportunity for children with autism to hone their social skills and enhance communication. Caring for a horse also benefits autistic children as it promotes body awareness and sensory integration.
Horse movements provide a stimulus that helps kids with autism hone motor skills, develop physical awareness and coordination. This type of therapy is an excellent way for them to learn how to use their body more appropriately while having fun!
A randomized trial demonstrated the beneficial effects of equine therapy for improving communication and social skills in children with autism. Participants who took part in this therapy experienced improvements to their verbal and social communication abilities after six months.
One of the greatest benefits of equine therapy is that it doesn’t have to be expensive. Many organizations provide financial support and scholarships so parents with children with autism can afford equine therapy for their kids.
Many insurance companies will cover animal-assisted therapy services provided by licensed therapists. If your child’s policy doesn’t cover equine therapy, you may be able to secure private donations from family and friends to cover the expense.
Research has demonstrated the beneficial effects of equine-assisted therapy for improving emotional stability and relieving stress in homes for children with autism. A study by psychologist Carrie Garver revealed that children who attended six months of sessions reported lower levels of irritability as well as an improved relationship with their mother afterward.
This study is the first of its kind, and researchers hope to find more studies that can confirm these results and demonstrate how this type of therapy works.
Hippotherapy has another beneficial aspect, helping kids hone social skills and boost their self-assurance in engaging with others. This is especially valuable for autistic kids who may struggle to form or sustain friendships or exhibit social behaviors that could have negative repercussions.
If your child with autism is interested in hippotherapy, consult their doctor or occupational therapist first to assess if it’s suitable. They should have a good grasp on the diagnosis and be able to suggest an experienced and reliable therapist.
A therapist trained in hippotherapy should be able to assist your child with their individual needs. They can teach your child how to groom the horse, work with it to understand its different requirements, and perform other tasks that will boost self-confidence and social skills.
A therapist can also aid your child with sensory processing issues. The relaxing effect of horse’s movement helps calm your child’s nerves, making it easier for them to focus on activities involving the horse.
Hippotherapy has been used for decades, but is increasingly common in hospitals and clinics. This form of therapy is especially beneficial to children with autism as it provides them with a sense of connection and security that other forms of treatment cannot provide.