Annotated Bibliography: Therapeutic Effects of Horseback Riding

1828 words (7 pages) Essay in Psychology

08/02/20 Psychology Reference this

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Bass, M., Duchowny, C. A., Llabre, M. M. (2009). The effect of therapeutic horseback riding on social functioning in children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental

Disorders, 39(9), 1261-1267. doi:10.1007/s10803-009-0734-3

 This empirical study evaluated the improvement of social functioning in children with autism upon completion of twelve weeks of horseback riding intervention. Pre and post-intervention assessments utilizing the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) and the Sensory Profile (SP) were administered to the control group of nineteen children ranging from five to ten years of age. The population sample participated in one hour weekly sessions involving mounting/dismounting, riding skills, mounted games, and horsemanship activities, which targeted verbal communication, planning and spatial reasoning, proprioception, and motor coordination. The results of such intervention were recorded both quantitatively and qualitatively, concluding in an observed improvement in motivation, social engagement, and language skills, as well as a decrease in distractibility.

The author’s expertise is evident through explicit ethical awareness and research limitations and outlines these throughout the text. Methodology regarding informed consent, respect for persons, beneficence, and justice is regarded in the study encompassing a protected population. The authors are forthcoming about additional factors that could potentially alter the findings, particularly medications and parent involvement, which establishes credence with an audience. Provision of timely and descriptive evidence justified by a highly peer-reviewed journal is beneficial for non-empirical research use and credibility.

Gabriels, R. L., Agnew, J. A., Holt, K. D., Shoffner, A., Zhaoxing, P., Ruzzano, S., Mesibov, G. (2012). Pilot study measuring the effects of therapeutic horseback riding on school-age children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 6(2), 578-588. doi:10.1016/j.rasd.2011.09.007

 Gabriels and additional contributors draw on extensive research to present both a quantitative and qualitative study encompassing the beneficence of therapeutic horseback riding (THR) related to autism spectrum disorders. They outline fundamental characteristics of individuals presenting with ASD, particularly behavioral disturbances and impaired social interaction, providing background of the sample population. Succinct review of existing literature is forthcoming about small sample sizes and limited qualitative data, with a concentration on physical disabilities. In comparison to previous research, this article relies on both objective data and caregiver report in order to hypothesize and analyze improvements in self-regulation skills, behavioral adaptation, and motor skills upon completion of ten weeks of intervention. Forty-two participants with a mean age of 8.7 years completed a screening process to determine an appropriate level of THR regarding horsemanship ability and cognitive function. Baselines as well as post-intervention evaluations were conducted utilizing criterion and norm-referenced batteries, such as the Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC) and the Sensory-Integration Praxis Test. The results of the study indicated significant increase in self-regulation, expressive language, and motor skills, with caregiver report exhibiting calmer therapy sessions, conversational dialog, and positive demeanors.

 Although forthcoming in regards to research ethics by exhibiting the approval of the Institutional Review Board, the article relies heavily on quantitative data to elicit results. While normed data is needed in the field, qualitative discussion would have strengthened the presentation of outcome measures. In addition, limitations of the preliminary were recorded, which elicited author credibility; however, research improvements regarding the long-term effects of THR could be proven by a single case study instead of a large sample, regulated curriculum manual, and limited parent report. The article is useful for investigative purposes through its evidence-base provided by a timely research journal specifically related to ASD and citation of influential advocates of continuing education, such as Temple Grandin. Further research is warranted provided the study encompasses a controlled environment, specific target skills, and exploration of animal interaction.

Macauley, B. L., & Gutierrez, K. M. (2004). The effectiveness of hippotherapy for children with language-learning disabilities. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 25(4), 205-217. doi:10.1177/15257401040250040501

 The study depicts the population sample as exhibiting language learning impairment, negative psychosocial impact, and diminished focus in all activities. The purpose of the study was to comparatively research improvement in speech and language abilities, motivation for therapy attendance, and self-image following hippotherapy and traditional clinic-based therapy. The methodology encompassing the study involved a sample size of three, adolescent males with prior speech-language therapy noted. Data upon completion of six weeks of individualized clinic-based and equine therapy was collected through experience questionnaires. Averages extracted from a grading rubric were utilized to determine comparative effectiveness, resulting in considerable improvement with scores ranging from 8.0-9.9 from hippotherapy. Score differences could be influenced by novelty of the intervention and differentiating attention on the horse rather than repetitive clinical tasks.

In regards to clinical use and investigative research, the study is inherently effective in  portraying valid and reliable benefits observed upon completion of hippotherapy. While cited as evidence in the Communication Disorders Quarterly presuming peer-revision, the article demonstrates some limitations. One may question the methodology of participants, in which case three males encompassed the sample and reported on their own behalf as well as their parents on their treatment experience. In addition, patient report is questionable due to the astounding results that could have arisen from novelty of the intervention as well as excitement involved in the activities, being that a traditional treatment environment was not utilized. Finally, a greater population size is warranted to exemplify representation of the population in its entirety, accounting for alternate communication disorders.

O’Haire, M. E. (2013). Animal-assisted intervention for autism spectrum disorder: A systematic literature review. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43, 1606-1622. doi:10.1007/s10803-012-1707-5

 This non-empirical study comprises a comprehensive evaluation of research regarding animal assisted intervention (AAI) for children with autism. The aim of the study encompasses reported benefits of AAI, evaluation of the existing evidence-base, and an account of the sample’s defining characteristics. Criteria for article eligibility was defined by English publication, evidence of live animal use, and sample participation of children with an ASD diagnosis. With a final sample of fourteen articles and an estimated treatment duration of 12.2 weeks, six studies addressed horse intervention specifically, therefore reporting therapeutic targets involving equine care, knowledge, and games in order to collect verbal communication, pro-social behavior, and sensory-motor data. Observational methods of the target population encompassing children and adolescents ranging from three to seventeen years included standardized and clinical investigator designed surveys, as well as interviews, in order to produce ethical results. Improvement in pragmatics, language, and psychosocial behavior was corroborated in all studies with analogous decrease in both physical and verbal aggression. The review concluded with the discussion of AAI research as preliminary, thereby requesting further routine intervention, clinical trials, sample diversity, and treatment protocols.

The author, a renowned psychologist, offers succinct insight into the most credible and timely evidence base for animal assisted intervention. Through methodology comprising of strict criteria, search procedures, and data extraction, the literature review offers only the most reliable and consistent research, which exhibits the author’s credible and ethical behavior. Not only is the author forthright in commenting about research limitations concerning the sample population, such as a small sample size and assessment protocols, she offers ways in which the research could be strengthened, leaving clinical investigators or students with a sense of reliability for both authorship and prose. Finally, the review’s internal validity is corroborated through citation of Bass (2009) and Gabriels (2012) publications-both of which are supported by foundational journals related to ASD.

Valle, L. M., Nishimori, A. Y., & Nemr, K. (2014). Speech therapy in hippotherapy. Revista CEFAC, 16(2), 511-523. doi:10.1590/1982-0216201420712

 This empirical study articulates the background information regarding hippotherapy as a medium of speech and language treatment. The research proposes two topics of focus: intervention and objectives. The methodology of the study encompasses an informed questionnaire pertaining to professional experience, targeted objectives, evidence-based intervention, and the SLP’s role on a multidisciplinary team.. In all instances, therapists base their therapy on theoretical frameworks provided by influencers such as Piaget, while targeting motor control, language development, and self-sufficiency with daily activities. Case studies result in observed increase in client potential, which stimulated communication, emotional, and social skills provided a pleasant equine session. The bond between the client and horse is essential for rehabilitation in order for objectives to be met. Hippotherapy must be focused on achieving therapeutic realms by encouraging interpersonal integration of the client. Further research is warranted through a multidisciplinary team and intervention strategies assessing language, voice, and motor-function.

The author’s objective publication of qualitative data on the interventionists and strategies related to hippotherapy as a supplement to speech and language is influential. Not only does the author cite influential theorists, such as Piaget, but additionally provides ethical considerations pertaining to the clinician’s questionnaire by commenting on the theoretical framework of which the therapist based their intervention. Furthermore, this evidence expresses credence of information in the study and meets the qualifications for research credibility and accuracy. This article is forthcoming about speech and language therapy comprehensively with a multi-disciplinary approach. The author noted limitations of the research regarding communication difficulty with hippotherapy centers, lack of respondents to the questionnaire, and diminished specificity with differing therapists. Accountability of such limitations exhibits veracious authorship and explains intervention outcomes more thoroughly.

References

  • Bass, M., Duchowny, C. A., Llabre, M. M. (2009). The effect of therapeutic horseback riding on social functioning in children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 39(9), 1261-1267. doi:10.1007/s10803-009-0734-3
  • Gabriels, R. L., Agnew, J. A., Holt, K. D., Shoffner, A., Zhaoxing, P., Ruzzano, S., Mesibov, G. (2012). Pilot study measuring the effects of therapeutic horseback riding on school-age children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 6(2), 578-588. doi:10.1016/j.rasd.2011.09.007
  • Macauley, B. L., & Gutierrez, K. M. (2004). The effectiveness of hippotherapy for children with language-learning disabilities. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 25(4), 205-217. doi:10.1177/15257401040250040501
  • O’Haire, M. E. (2013). Animal-assisted intervention for autism spectrum disorder: A systematic literature review. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43, 1606-1622. doi:10.1007/s10803-012-1707-5
  • Valle, L. M., Nishimori, A. Y., & Nemr, K. (2014). Speech therapy in hippotherapy. Revista CEFAC16(2), 511-523. doi:10.1590/1982-0216201420712

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