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Equine Therapy: Building Kids’ Communication Skills

By Erin Harris | Posted on 12.10.2013 | 2 comments
Equine Therapy: Building Kids’ Communication Skills
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].
 
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Comments
Erin Harris
Thanks, Cheryl! Great point about the added benefit of the therapy helping with balance and motor skills. Do you work with kids directly?
12/11/2013 3:51:42 PM
Cheryl Fender
This is an awesome idea. I have seen social therapy using dogs, work well. Horseback riding could develop balance in motor skills and leadership confidence as well as the social skill benefits.
12/11/2013 3:20:43 PM
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