Horse Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

October 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

A top contestant in Texas beauty pageants, Kelly Dillard has been honored by the Miss America organization with Outstanding Teen recognitions in the Miss Fort Worth, Miss Ellis County, and Miss West Texas pageants. She also recently won the title of Miss North Texas. Kelly Dillard has a strong commitment to public service that does not end with her pageant platforms. She is also a supporter of several not-for-profit organizations, including Walk On, a charity that provides horse therapy, brain-based listening therapy, and interactive social engagement for children with autism spectrum disorders, including those with Asperger’s syndrome.

There is substantial evidence that the use of therapy animals can be highly beneficial to children with autism spectrum disorders. Equine therapy in particular seems to offer promising results, since the bond that forms between the horse and its rider is a powerful emotional one. Horses move rhythmically, causing the child to focus on the movement, which in turn can improve their overall ability to concentrate. In addition, the way a horse feels – its fuzzy skin, coarse mane and tail, and soft, wet nose – offers stimulation for the children’s senses and can coax them out of a withdrawn state.

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