Alternative Therapies For Treating Autism: Hippotherapy

Alternative Therapies for Treating Autism: Hippotherapy

What Is Hippotherapy?
Hippotherapy is derived from the Greek word “hippo” which means horse, therefore translating into “therapy with the help of a horse.” This type of therapy is considered to be a multidisciplinary form of treatment that can be provided by a licensed physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech-language pathologist, psychologist or psychotherapist who is specially trained.
How does hippotherapy work?
The horse’s multidimensional rhythmic movement resembles the natural walking gait of a human. During therapy, the therapist may have the patient ride the horse in various positions, which may include sitting, laying forward, backward or sideways, standing in the stirrups, and riding on the horse without holding on.
Who can benefit from Hippotherapy?
Hippotherapy can benefit individuals of all ages who are affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders, Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, other developmental, language and learning disabilities, sensory processing disorders, or Spina Bifida.
It can also be beneficial for stroke patients, individuals with scoliosis, multiple sclerosis, varying types of paralysis, amputees and traumatic brain injury. However, it is important to note hippotherapy may not be the right treatment for every client, and each client must be evaluated thoroughly by specially trained professionals in the field before they can start Alternative Therapies for Treating Autism: Hippotherapy
The Benefits of Hippotherapy
On the physical level, it can help to relax tight muscles, increase balance, posture, mobility and function. However, it also has been reported to help sharpen one’s hand/ eye coordination.
It also helps the client gain a sense of body awareness, a sense of self-control, as well as self-confidence. It also promotes and improves gross and fine motor development and function, communication (improved speech and language abilities – particularly articulation and oral motor skills), respiration and postural core control, improved sensory integration, patience, socialization, concentration and other behavioral and cognitive abilities.
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