Equine-assisted interventions for psychosocial functioning in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder: a literature review

Vanessa Xue Ling Tan, Janette Graetz Simmonds

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT), in its various forms, is an innovative approach emerging in the treatment of symptoms and difficulties associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This literature review presents an overview of the current research on psychosocial outcomes of EAAT for children and adolescents with ASD. Sixteen studies published in peer-reviewed journals between 2007 and 2017 were selected for inclusion. The research reports outcomes which include improvements in multiple areas of functioning relating to core features of ASD, such as greater social interaction and decreased problematic behaviors. Yet, there is much variability in the presentation of EAAT across the studies, with the majority concerned with therapeutic riding. EAAT may be relevant and powerful for client populations where there has been limited success with traditional clinic- or room-based forms of treatment.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)325-337
    Number of pages13
    JournalReview Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2019


    • Animal-assisted therapy
    • Autism spectrum disorder
    • Equine-assisted activity
    • Equine-assisted intervention
    • Equine-assisted therapy
    • Psychosocial functioning

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