Many children with Autism Spectrum Disorder demonstrate deficits in gross motor skills, which hinder their ability to engage in athletic and other play activities. This further inhibits their opportunities to engage in physical activity, live healthy lifestyles, and develop age appropriate social skills; all primary foci of recreational therapy services. One intervention that has gained popularity in recent years for treating individuals with ASD is equine-assisted therapy. This study examined the effects of equine therapy on the gross motor skills of two children with ASD. Results showed moderate to large gains in body coordination, strength and agility, and overall gross motor skills as a result of participation in an equine-assisted therapy intervention. Implications for recreational therapists providing equine-based interventions are discussed.
Author Brent Lindsay Hawkins, Joseph B Ryan, A Lynne Cory, Meredith C Donaldson
Volume Vol 48, No 2 (2014)