Parent perceptions of psychosocial outcomes of equine-assisted interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder

Vanessa Xue Ling Tan, Janette Graetz Simmonds

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21 Citations (Scopus)


This research explored parents’ perceptions of the psychosocial outcomes of their children’s experience of receiving equine-assisted interventions (EAI). Participants were the parents of six children (aged 3–14) diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Five semi-structured interviews were conducted and the transcript data was analysed using Interpretative phenomenological analysis. Four super-ordinate themes emerged from the analysis: (1) child’s improved self-concept and enhanced emotional well-being, (2) child’s improved self-regulatory ability, (3) social benefits for the child, and (4) unexpected outcomes. EAI was perceived by the parents as having several levels of psychosocial benefits for their children. These benefits may also extend to parents and family through ecopsychological and “flow on” effects associated with the children’s involvement in EAI programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-769
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


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

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