Equine assisted activities and therapies in children with autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review and a meta-analysis

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Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Document Type: Report
Length: 471 words

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Byline: Tomasz Trzmiel [ttrzmiel@ump.edu.pl] (a,*), Barbara Purandare (a), Michal Michalak (b), Ewa Zasadzka (a), Mariola Pawlaczyk (a) Keywords Equine assisted activities and therapies; Autism spectrum disorder; Hippotherapy Highlights * A total of 390 participants (aged: 3--16 years, mean: 5.14--10.2 years) from 15 articles were included in the study. The subjects were predominantly male (308 (79%) -- males, 72 (21%) -- females). * The interaction between psychosocial functioning and Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) was investigated in most studies. * The meta-analysis proved to be a challenge due to significant differences between research tools and result presentation in all of the analyzed texts and revealed no statistical significance for the investigated effects. * Beneficial effects of EAAT have been reported by most authors whose studies were included in the review. * Despite the need for further research, the results of the studies included in this review allow us to conclude that EAAT may be a useful form of therapy in children with ASD. Abstract Introduction: The multifactorial nature of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the reason why complementary and alternative methods of treatment are sought in order to support the classic approach. Objectives: The aim of the study was to assess the effectiveness of Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) in ASD patients based on a review of the literature. Methods: A review of the literature and a meta-analysis were conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. PUBMED, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, ClinicalTrials.gov and PEDro databases were searched until July 20, 2017. Only articles published in English, in a journal with a review process, after 1999, with a control group or presentation of comparative pre-/post-therapy results in ASD patients, and clear inclusion/exclusion criteria were considered. The methodological quality of the included studies was assessed using the Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies (QATQS).The meta-analysis of three studies was conducted. Results: A total of 15 studies with 390 participants (aged: 3--16 years) were included. The interaction between psychosocial functioning and EAAT was investigated in most studies. Improvement was reported in the following domains: socialization, engagement, maladaptive behaviors, and shorter reaction time in problem-solving situations after EAAT. The meta-analysis revealed no statistically significant differences for the investigated effects. Conclusions: Despite the need for further, more standardized research, the results of the studies included in this review allow us to conclude that EAAT may be a useful form of therapy in children with ASD. Author Affiliation: (a) Department of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poland (b) Department of Computer Science and Statistics, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poland * Corresponding author at: Department of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, ul. Swiecickiego 6, Poznan 60-781, Poland. Article History: Received 23 August 2018; Revised 1 November 2018; Accepted 2 November 2018

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A570527771