Effects of hippotherapy on the motivation and social interaction/social communication for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Author / Creator
    Llambias, Cecilia
  • Engagement in purposeful activities is essential for development and is difficult for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) who also have impairments of social interaction and communication. In hippotherapy, riding and other horse related activities can be used to promote children’s engagement and communication skills. A multiple baseline design across eight children ages 4 to 7 years was used to assess the effects of hippotherapy. Intervention effects were strong for 7 children’s engagement and 4 children’s responses to requests (responsivity). Limited effects were found for expressive communication. Parent and teacher reports pre- and post- intervention indicated positive changes. Hippotherapy may be a valuable addition to conventional treatments to increase engagement for children with ASD. Factors related to the environment, therapeutic strategies, and participants must be considered. The study’s results will assist clinicians and parents of children with ASD in making decisions about the use of hippotherapy, an alternative therapy approach.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2013
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.