Equine-Assisted Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: a Comprehensive Literature Review
Equine-assisted therapy (EAT) is a therapeutic technique that has been examined for improving physical, emotional, social, cognitive, educational, and behavioral skills in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This literature review examines the usefulness of the approach for children diagnosed with ASD. The goal of the search strategy used was to include relevant scientific articles published examining EAT for children diagnosed with ASD. Of the 12 studies examined, 11 researchers demonstrated efficacy for increased physical and social functioning, communication, sensory sensitivity, sensory motivation, self-regulation, adaptive skills, motor skills, improved volition, as well as decreased aberrant behavior and severity of symptoms. The majority of the research documented improvements in functioning; however, these conclusions were qualified by numerous factors that limit the interpretation of the results.