How Hippotherapy Is Helping Improve Individuals with Asd Essay

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To help in the improvement of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) many families are turning toward a physical, occupational, and speech and language medical therapy called Hippotherapy. This form of therapy might sound like it involves the Hippopotamus, however it actually involves the use of horses; the root word “hippo” means horse in Latin. Hippotherapy utilizes an equine’s multidimensional movement and its dynamic base of support as a part of an integrated intervention program to achieve functional outcomes in patients with ASD. ASD is a bio-neurological developmental disability which impacts the normal development of the brain and means that they have difficulty performing functional daily living skills like feeding themselves, …show more content…

Individuals afflicted with ASD have a difficult time taking the information on where they want to go then telling the rest of their body how they are going to accomplish getting there (National Autism Association, 2012). If the occupational therapist has the individual steer the horse to a specific destination, then the individual must concentrate on how they need to move their hands to be able to steer to the destination. Also to help with hand and eye coordination, the occupational therapist can have the individual ride the horse and grab hanging rings. By utilizing the horse’s movement in conjunction with other standard occupational intervention strategies, Hippotherapy addresses and bolsters functional outcomes having to do with an individual’s ability to process sensory information such as seeing and feeling the same thing differently or keeping balance (American Hippotherapy Association, 2010). By having the individual ride the horse while facing backward, the individual sees that they are facing backward, but feels the horse moving forward. Individuals with ASD have a hard time deciphering the opposing information when a horse is moving forward, but they are facing backward (National Autism Association, 2012). By practicing this difficult skill the individual becomes more aware of what is happening around them and then is better able to

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