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Study to Address Effects of Hippotherapy on Autism - featured November 11, 2011

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The Horses and Humans Research Foundation has awarded its sixth $50,000 research grant recently to a team from the Program in Occupational Therapy, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri. The team will measure outcomes from Occupational and Physical Therapy using horse movement (Hippotherapy) for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The proposed project will follow fifteen children with Autism Spectrum Disorder as they participate in 12 weeks of weekly hippotherapy sessions. The project is especially innovative because it will use objective quantitative data collection in addition to qualitative standardized clinical scales that are typically used for such studies.

“Hippotherapy is commonly used for children with ASD,” said Principal Investigator Tim L. Shurtleff, OTD, OTR/L. “However, no systematic evidence has been published on the impact of hippotherapy on children with ASD.”

Autism Spectrum Disorders affects 1 in 110 children and 80-90% have motor control impairments which impact their ability to participate in typical activities of childhood.

“No studies of Hippotherapy have been reported about children with ASD but many children with ASD participate in hippotherapy,” continued Shurtleff. “Evidence is needed to support treatment planning, and to support reimbursement for intervention with children with ASD.”

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Tags: News of the Week Hippotherapy Newsletter 11 November 2011