Investigating the Effects of Equine-Assisted Learning & Therapy in Children with Autism

UQ Project seeking funding

Researchers in the School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences are very keen to collaborate with local rehabilitation centres that offer Equine-Assisted Learning and Therapy. Community organisations, such as the McIntyre Centre, specialize in providing horse-riding combined with therapeutic programs for persons with a disability. However, the effectiveness of this type of therapy has been little researched.

Reports estimate that almost half of all children with Autism have ‘hyperacusis’ – an otherwise rare disorder that causes sounds which would seem normal to most people to appear excruciatingly loud, often accompanied by ‘tinnitus’ or ringing in the ears. A few studies have suggested that the relaxation strategies inherent in Equine-Assisted Learning and Therapy might have positive effects on the ability of children with Autism to tolerate loud sounds.

To begin with, UQ researchers would like to compare specific hearing metrics in children with Autism before and after a six-month period of weekly Equine-Assisted Learning and Therapy. Funding of $10,000 is greatly needed in order to purchase portable audiological equipment for this new and exciting project.

Carlie Drsicoll

 

 

Contact: Dr Carlie Driscoll (carlie.driscoll@uq.edu.au), School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, 4072.

 

For more information on the research interests of Dr Driscoll click here.