Effects of equine assisted activities on autism spectrum disorder

J Autism Dev Disord. 2014 Aug;44(8):1897-907. doi: 10.1007/s10803-014-2062-5.


Quality of life assessments were used in this study to determine the behavioral changes of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who participated in equine assisted activities. Behavioral changes of children with ASD participating in 9 weeks of equines assisted activities (EAA) (N = 10) were compared to behavioral changes of children who participated in a non-equine intervention (N = 8). Parents noted significant improvements in their child's physical, emotional and social functioning following the first 6 weeks of EAA. The children participating in the non-equine program also demonstrated improvement in behavior, but to a lesser degree. The favorable outcome of this study lends support for continuation of programs utilizing EAA in the treatment of children with ASD.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Animals
  • Child
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / psychology
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / therapy*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Equine-Assisted Therapy*
  • Female
  • Horses
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents
  • Quality of Life
  • Treatment Outcome