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Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)
Autism Research Database
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC)
 
Project Element Element Description

Project Title

Project Title

Effects of therapeutic horseback riding on children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders

Principal Investigator

Principal Investigator

Gabriels, Robin

Description

Description

Therapeutic horseback riding (THR) is frequently sought out as an alternative treatment to address the behavioral disturbances that often impair the quality of daily life for individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD); however, there are only a few published evidence-based THR studies to guide clinicians and consumers. This study aims to expand on a pilot study that found significant improvement in self-regulation, communication, and motor skills for ASD participants involved in 10 weeks of therapeutic horseback riding compared to a 10 week waitlist control group. This study will attempt to replicate these pilot findings as well as the social motivation findings from a recent THR study by examining a larger sample and using a randomized control design. Furthermore, it will test whether the human-animal interaction is necessary for the significant changes observed in the pilot study. This question will be examined by comparing ASD participants' involvement in 10 hours of weekly therapeutic horseback riding (n = 40) to a barn activity control group (n = 40) that targets the same therapeutic goals and controls for time and attention effects, but has no human-animal interaction. Pre-and post-intervention evaluations will assess participants' self-regulation, communication, socialization, and motor functioning. A secondary aim of the study is to determine if improvements made as a result of involvement in 10 weeks of THR persist approximately six months beyond the THR intervention. Determining if and how the human-animal interaction via THR is helpful to individuals with an ASD has far-reaching implications for the quality of life in this ASD population and their caregivers.

Funder

Funder

National Institutes of Health

Fiscal Year Funding

Fiscal Year Funding

298618

Current Award Period

Current Award Period

2010-2014

Strategic Plan Question

Strategic Plan Question

Question 4: Which Treatments And Interventions Will Help?

Strategic Plan Objective

Strategic Plan Objective

Yellow dot: Objective has some degree of funding, but less than the recommended amount. 4SC. Test safety and efficacy of at least five widely used interventions (e.g., nutrition, medications, assisted technologies, sensory integration, medical procedures) that have not been rigorously studied for use in ASD by 2012. IACC Recommended Budget: $27,800,000 over 5 years.

Project Link

Project Link

Effects of therapeutic horseback riding on children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (External web link)

Institution

Institution

University of Colorado Denver

State/Country

State/Country

Colorado

Project Number

Project Number

5R01NR012736-03

Federal or Private?

Federal or Private?

Federal

Received ARRA Funding?

Received ARRA Funding?

No

History/Related Projects

History/Related Projects

Effects of therapeutic horseback riding on children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders | 313179 | 2011 | 5R01NR012736-02

 
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