Dad: Horse Riding Helped His Son With Autism

Other animals, said Loveland, are also sometimes used to aid in therapy for children with special needs. Dogs, cats and even dolphins have been widely reported to aid in improving the quality of life for kids with autism.

Riding Horses Help Children with Autism

"The horse is moving and has a rhythm and is warm and so it often acts as a calming experience for kids," said Loveland. "Some kids with autisms have a lot of difficultly with new things or changes and so often a therapist will use the horse to introduce some of those things."

One of the challenges many children with autism face is the inability to interact socially with other people, an obstacle a relationship with an animal may help overcome, according to Loveland.

"Animals are a lower pressure environment for kids to practice certain types of social skills," she said. "Therapists use the horse as a social object for the child to relate to and to read the signals of the horse."

"No, it's not a cure for autism but it may help a child learn some self-regulation and help them to better accept certain times of stimulation from the environment, resulting in a calmer and less agitated child and hopefully a happier family," said Loveland.

And for the Isaacson's, life is far happier today than it was before Rowan began riding.

Isaacson and his wife founded The New Trails Center that offers homeschooling and equine therapy for kids like Rowan, and the family continues to plan upcoming riding trips for their family.

"Every parent of an autistic child knows they have to go up a few blind alleys before they find what will work for their child," said Isaacson. "No one should be so hamstrung by skepticism that it forces them into an extreme position that they stop following possibilities."

"Rowan was healed of some of the dysfunctions he had and that, for us, was miraculous," he said.

"That made the difference between a horrible life and a life where Rowan's life and ours were in harmony."

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