A proposed study of outcomes for autistic children and their families after participation in a Horse Boy Camp
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The aim of this proposed study is to explore whether participation in a three day intervention involving horseback riding in nature– a program specifically designed for autistic children and their families called “Horse Boy Camps” – leads to improved outcomes for participants. It is hypothesized that children will demonstrate significant increases in language and communication skills after camp participation, as well as enhanced social, cognitive and sensory functioning. It is also hypothesized that attendance at a Horse Boy Camp will have an impact on the parents and siblings of the child with autism. Specifically, it is anticipated that camp participation will significantly decrease the anxiety, stress, depression and social isolation experienced by parents. It will also result in significant improvements in the relationship between the autistic and their siblings as well as family functioning in general. Participants will include 20 families attending a three-day Horse Boy Camp. There will be one autistic child per family who attends the camp, and at least one parent. The proposed study will help determine if Horse Boy Camps appear to be a promising intervention for children with autism and their families.