As described in the article, The Little Professor Syndrome, by Lawrence Osborne, June 2000, individuals with AS and autism often have outstanding verbal skill but are unable to communicate. The article offers a realistic and authentic look into the lives of those with Asperger’s and autism and speaks to the similarities and differences between the two. Asperger’s children alternate between brilliance and isolation. Some children make active social attempts but in an inappropriate way. Despite their huge vocabulary, their obsessional interests or fixations can get in the way of socializing appropriately. Often memorizing television shows, list of passengers on the Titanic or alphabetical listing of a class year book.
ASP children despite their exceptional skills with language have difficulties “reading” human social signals. Social skills groups allow all participants to try out what is correct and socially acceptable. They learn to pretend and communicate with appropriately matched peers in a safe, controlled environment. These children can learn to wear the correct social mask if given the opportunities to learn and practice.
Social Skills groups with horses facilitate learning through un-mounted activities. Horses provide a different type of feedback for the autistic and AS child. The equines retreat and cooperate as nature dictates. This opens up opportunities for discussion and skills practice. Horses are authentic, gentle, accepting and do not see disabilities and therefore become great tools for self-discovery.
Highview Farms offers Therapeutic (Adaptive) Riding and Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy.
To experience this different mode of therapy in your area be sure the program is working with a Certified Licensed Social Worker as well as a EAGALA. Certified Instructor.
Some clinics offered are:
Group Social Skills for Horses - Horses and riders learn skills to remain safe and gain confidence riding in close proximity to other horses.
Versatility Obstacles - Riders learn how to develop their horses ability to learn, to gain confidence in new situations and become more refined in their communication with their horse.
Over Fences - Riders learn to become confident and skilled at riding their horse over fences in the ring or out o the trail.
Dressage - Riders will learn the importance of their seat, how to perform dressage movements such as shoulder-in and haunches-in to gymnasticize their horse, and how to correctly ride figures in a dressage ring.