A review on the effects of horseback riding therapy in children with autism disorder

Document Type : Review Articles


1 BSc of Occupational Therapy, MSc Student of Pathology and Corrective Movements, Islamic Azad University, Khorasgan Branch, Isfahan, Iran

2 MSc of Occupational Therapy, Academic Member, Hamedan University of Medical Sciences, Hamedan, Iran

3 MSc of Occupational Therapy, Academic Member, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran



Introduction: with some signs such as communication problems in social interaction, cognitive functioning, and Sensorimotor functions. Many interventions are used for children diagnosed with autism that one of these interventions is the use of animal therapy, including horseback riding therapy. Based on previous studies autistic children prefer to communicate with animals so this study was aimed to examine published articles on the use of this therapy in children with autistic disorder.Materials and methods: Initially, we determined keywords similar to horseback riding that were used in literatures through the Mesh database and then it was began to search using selected keywords in the literatures published from 2000 to 2013 in SCOPUS, ProQuest, Google Scholer, and Pubmed database. With regard to the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 17 articles were selected.Results: The findings of this study could be categorized in some different groups. Articles had investigated the effect of this therapy on the improvement in communication, socialization, self-esteem, positive behavior, respect, accountability, cognitive areas, increase strength, balance and flexibility, and also improvement the gross motor, growth performance, and finally reduce the autism severe symptoms.Conclusion: Results showed that different studies reported beneficial effects of this treatment in children with autism. It seems that further researches should be carried out to propose a specific treatment protocol for children with autism.Key Words: Autism, Horseback riding therapy, Hippotherapy

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