Autism knows no boundaries and no family is immune from the fear of learning that their child has received the diagnosis of autism. One of the first questions that may come to mind for the parents who receive this diagnosis for their child is How can we help him have a normal life? There are many treatments for autism, but no one treatment has been found to be successful in addressing all the symptoms and maladaptive behaviors found in autism. The current treatment modalities chosen for Autism include speech, physical and occupational therapy, sensory integration therapy, and applied behavioral analysis. Only applied behavioral analysis has been extensively documented by researchers and national and state governments. The United States Surgeon General has declared that the gold and most empirically validated treatment for autism spectrum disorders is applied behavioral analysis. However, applied behavioral analysis does not address the primary causes that lead a child with autism to these negative behaviors that impact the quality of life for the autistic child and the family.
This study was an experiential research project done by survey method of the parents who had an autistic child enrolled in a therapeutic riding program at Ride Your Horse, located in Cerritos, California. The study involved 25 parents who completed a series of four surveys, involving pretherapeutic riding and posttherapeutic riding therapy. These survey questions were designed to address these maladaptive behaviors: tantrums, unwillingness to transition from a sole person/activity to another, an inability or reluctance to verbalize a want or need and a lack of social eye contact. The results of the survey were analyzed in a quantitative method to specifically measure the benefits of therapeutic horseback riding on speech, tantrum reduction, increased eye contact, and positive transitions. This study provides positive measureable results documenting that therapeutic horseback riding can help an autistic child generate a reduction in maladaptive behaviors.
|School:||The Chicago School of Professional Psychology|
|Department:||Applied Clinical Psychology|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||DAI-B 78/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Autism, Maladative behaviors, Therapeutic horseback riding|
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