Effectiveness of Therapeutic Horseback Riding on Social Skills of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Shiraz, Iran

Hemati Ghorban, Rezaei Dehnavi Sedigheh, Gholami Marzieh, Gharghani Yaghoob


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of therapeutic horseback riding on social skills of children
with autism spectrum disorder. Participants were 6 children with autism spectrum disorder in a special education
center for autistic children in Shiraz, Iran. The hypothesis of the study was that participants would demonstrate
significant improvement in social skills following a 4-week horseback riding intervention. Using a One Group
Pre and Post Test design, the Stone's social skills Scale was administered to assess the social skills of children
with autism spectrum disorder as pretest. Then the subjects participated in a 4-week therapeutic horseback riding
program consisting of two 45 minute session of riding per week. After completion of the 4-week intervention the
post-test was administered. Paired-samples t-test was utilized to analyze the data. The results indicated that
therapeutic horseback riding improves affective understanding and perspective taking, initiating interactions and
maintaining interactions significantly. It can be concluded that therapeutic horseback riding has a positive effect
on social skills improvement.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/jel.v2n3p79

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