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Brief report: The effects of equine-assisted activities on the social functioning in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder

By Sophie Anderson, Kerstin Meints

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Abstract

Equine-assisted activities and therapies are increasing in popularity for treatment of ASD symptoms. This research evaluated effects of a 5-week programme of therapeutic riding on social functioning of children/adolescents (N = 15) with ASD. The effectiveness of the programme was evaluated using the autism spectrum quotient, the Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scale and the empathising and systemising quotient. Results established that the TR intervention increased empathising and reduced maladaptive behaviours. The findings also indicated that specific adaptive behaviours like socialization and communication were not affected by the intervention. Thus, a complex picture of the effects of this intervention emerges: while TR does not change all of the child’s behaviour, it can improve specific aspects of social functioning and also reduce maladaptive ASD traits.

Date 2016
Publication Title J Autism Dev Disord
Volume 46
Issue 10
Pages 3344-3352
ISBN/ISSN 0162-32571573-3432
Publisher Springer
DOI 10.1007/s10803-016-2869-3
Language English
Author Address Meints, Kerstin, School of Psychology, University of Lincoln, Brayford Pool, Lincoln, LIN, United Kingdom, LN6 7TS
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Animal-assisted therapies
  2. Autism
  3. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  4. Equine-assisted activities
  5. Horses
  6. open access
  7. Psychiatry and psychology
  8. psychopathology
  9. psychosocial issues
  10. social functions
  11. Symptoms
  12. Therapeutic horsemanship
  13. treatment effectiveness
Badges
  1. open access