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Maurice Allen MS OTR/L



Occupational Therapists use equine movement to elicit functional change in individuals with the following medical conditions:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Developmental Delay
  • Genetic Syndromes
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Sensory Integration Disorders
  • Speech-Language Disorders
  • Traumatic Brain Injury/Stroke

And with the following impairments commonly associated with these conditions:

  • Abnormal muscle tone
  • Impaired balance responses
  • Impaired coordination
  • Impaired communication
  • Impaired sensorimotor function
  • Postural asymmetry and instability
  • Limited mobility
  • Limbic system dysfunction related to arousal and attentional skills

 

At Equulibrium an integrated treatment plan is developed utilizing the movement of the horse along with traditional physical and occupational therapy treatment strategies such as NDT, PNF, motor learning, sensory integration, strengthening, ROM and functional motor control. The patient is able to engage in play and motor skill acquisition activities in a natural sensory environment. Therapy goals are achieved through the use of equine movement, environmental elements, guided play and specialized equipment.

Equine movement is the crucial component of equine assisted therapy. The horse’s multidimensional movement, which is variable, rhythmic and repetitive, provides a dynamic base of support making it an excellent tool for increasing trunk control and strength, balance, postural control and endurance as well as weight bearing and motor planning. When an individual sits astride a horse, the horse’s walking gait imparts a movement response similar to normal human gait which has an immediate impact on balance, coordination and timing, grading of postural responses and physiological functioning.  The occupational therapist is able to combine the effects of the movement with other standard intervention strategies for working on fine motor control, sensory integration, feeding skills, attention skills, and functional daily living skills in a progressively challenging manner.