Autism Research: The Effectiveness of Simulated Developmental Horse-Riding Program in Children with Autism

Research for Therapeutic Horseback Riding Autism Treatment:

Study Looks at Impact of Simulated Developmental Horseback-Riding Program on Sensory Integrative Functions and Motor Proficiency in Autistic Children
Research Determines Efficacy of Simulated Developmental Horseback-Riding Program on Motor Proficiency and Sensory Integrative Functions in Children with Autism

Previous research has suggested that therapeutic horseback riding is effective for the treatment of several different health conditions.  A recent technological development has led to a new exercise equipment product that simulates horseback riding.  A study was conducted to determine if a Simulated Developmental Horseback-Riding Program would result in beneficial outcomes in children with autism spectrum disorders.  The findings were published in an article titled The Effectiveness of Simulated Developmental Horse-Riding Program in Children with Autism.

The study included 60 children with autism ranging from 6 to 8 years of age.  The children were split into 2 groups each consisting of 30 individuals.  The study lasted 40 weeks, which included two 20-week phases.  In the first 20-week phase, 30 children participated in both their normal occupational therapy and the Simulated Developmental Horseback-Riding Program.  The other 30 children only participated in their normal occupational therapy program.  In the second phase, the first group participated in only occupational therapy while the second group participated in both the Simulated Developmental Horseback-Riding Program along with occupational therapy.  The study was designed to measure the impact of the Simulated Developmental Horseback-Riding Program on motor proficiency and sensory integrative functions.

Benefits of Simulated Developmental Horseback-Riding Program:

The researchers reported that the simulated therapeutic horseback-riding program resulted in significant improvements in both motor proficiency and sensory integrative functions.  Interestingly, they also reported that the improvements lasted for a minimum of 6 months.

The article was published in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly in April of 2011.

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