Autism is a complex disorder of brain development. It has many signs and symptoms including difficulty with social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication and repetitive behaviors.
Autism seems to begin at the brain’s very earliest development. The most obvious signs of autism seem to appear between the ages of 2 and 3. Autism or ASD is a wide-spectrum disorder. This means that no two people with autism will have exactly the same symptoms. As well as experiencing varying combinations of symptoms, some people will have mild symptoms while others will be more severe.
Therapists have recommended that children with autism work with horses. Autistic riders learn to communicate verbally and physically with their horse, and they can see the immediate result of their communication when the horse reacts. They learn to focus on something outside themselves, an important step for autistic children. They also learn to communicate and interact with other people as they work with instructors. Children build trusting relationship that is instantly rewarding, and life-changing.
Equine therapy works because many children on the autism spectrum appear to form deep connections with horses and horseback riding. For many, the activity leads to new confidence and improved language skills. That's important, since many children with classic autism are either nonverbal or minimally verbal.
Experts say that the mental benefits of Equine therapy are substantial. On a horse, children who lacked the ability to move can suddenly do so; they can go where they want as fast as they want. Sensory skills also benefit, and patients learn to be attentive and must focus on fine motor movements while riding. A horse's steady rhythm can teach children how to pace their social interactions.
Children and horses often are paired because the two have a natural amity for each other. Horses require a great deal of attention, which means the child, must concentrate on caring for the horse rather than worrying about his or her own problems.
Taking care of a horse also instills a sense of responsibility, and bonding with a horse can be the first step in developing a child's ability to bond with people