Students with behavioral, social, and emotional issues at Chestermere High School in Alberta participated recently in a pilot project to build interpersonal and communication skills. Following the EAGALA Model
, the school’s equine therapy program uses “horses as metaphors for specific experiences and issues students may face,” reports a Rocky View Weekly article
Two facilitators are involved in the program. A mental health professional makes goals, plans sessions, and leads discussions with students after an activity, and an equine specialist ensures safety for both horses and students.
Kids report that the program helped them develop feelings of trust and self-confidence, as well as an emotional connection with the animals. Additionally, horses helped the students learn about body language, empathy, and how their own moods and emotions can affect those of others.
Get strategies for communicating with students
on the spectrum [PDF].