Autism, LD and
Equine Assisted Therapy
In order to provide appropriate sessions for clients presenting with a wide and varied spectrum of disabilities we have developed a slightly different programme to the standard EAP/EAL sessions we usually deliver.
The biggest difference is that a large part of these sessions includes ridden work.
There are particular advantages to having clients ride including aiding the development of motor skills and coordination and encouraging verbal and non-verbal communication
We also utilize simple and safe ground work activities with the horses like grooming or leading, enables clients to develop new skills and confidence, improve social interaction and increase awareness of themselves and others.
Unlike other EAP/L programmes, our clients with Autism or LD usually enjoy coming on a regular weekly basis for much longer periods of time.
Advantages to the ridden element in the treatment of autism
* Movement encourages fitness and improved general muscle tone
* Aids the development of motor skills, in particular coordination
* Encourages non-verbal and verbal communication with the horse and the therapist
* Encourages concentration and interest in what is going on around them
* Encourages eye contact, awareness and interaction with others
* Lessens the resistance to being physically touched or having physical contact with others
* Raises awareness of boundaries and others personal space
* Increases the use and understanding of directional commands
* Lessens the sensitivity to new external stimuli
"Autistic children have difficulty bonding emotionally to others. As the parent of an autistic child, you know that it is hard for your child to make eye contact, communicate what he is feeling, and express himself to those he cares
about. Rather than verbal communication, autistic children experience physical communication with the horses. They brush them, hug them, and pat them. By learning to care for the horse, they associate the care they provide with
feelings and an emotional bridge is constructed. This bond can lead to social and communication skill production with other people in his life as well."