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Horse-riding program improved the social and communication skills of autistic children

The social interaction and communication skills of children with autism improved significantly under a therapeutic horse riding program, researchers report.
 
Mengxian Zhao and her fellow researchers, reporting in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, noted that many therapeutic interventions have been studied and found to be effective for certain typical behaviors in children with autism spectrum disorder, particularly in relation to social and communication skills.
 
Recently, there has been increasing interest in animal-assisted interventions as an effective therapy option for children with autism.
 
Therapeutic horse riding may have positive effects on multiple impairments in children with autism, including physical, emotional, social, cognitive, behavioral, and educational functioning.
 
There is also evidence that it improves motor functioning and sensory processing, the study team noted.