Alot has been written about horse therapy. I would like to add my voice to the discussion. When my boys were younger, alot younger, there was a free-riding program for ASD children. There was a two-year waiting list at the time. (Today it is even longer.) So, I decided to put them on a horse myself. We actually took lessons for years at a very accommodating barn. I think it was good for their motor control, the muscles of the trunk, arms and legs. They did enjoy it alot. I even took up riding myself,and if I had not fallen off a horse I probably would still be riding. What’s the old misive…if you fall off you need to get right back on. Well I didn’t and you couldn’t pay me to ride today. But you could get my boys to ride if I mentioned it to them.
We stopped horseback riding because we thought it would be a good idea to try sports that they could play with others. So we tried tennis,- years and years of tennis lesson. They still can’t hit a tennis ball. Then we gave them gymnastitcs/athletic training lessons. My older one even tried track in school. Track would have worked out if he had actually tried running. There was karate which worked out great for coordination until their sense just up and left and the owners closed down the school without warning. (Real good role models they turned out to be) Then there was the fencing. Near us is an exquisite fencing school run by former Olympians. Thought that would help the coordination as well. It did, but they also learned how to sword fight. Need I say more. Oh yeah, there was also the swimming lessons. Many ASD parents give swimming lessons, it is one of the best overall sports for muscle building for anyone. With mine, I just decided that they needed to swim so they didn’t drown. By this time we had to come to the conclusion that our boys could enjoy physical activity, but sports afficionados they were not going to be.
Anyway, I recommend wholeheartely horse therapy (hippo-therapy) for any and all ASD persons. Make sure that the program is certified and that a part of the program also concerns horsecare, of course depending on your child’s ability at the time. Since I went on my own I have never used any associations however, many parents have recommended NAHRA, http://www.narha.org The North American Riding for the Handicapped Association. They keep a list of centers nationwide, maybe one is near you.
Until next time,