Hippo therapy treatment helps children with special needs

By Maureen Wallace

For she knows power behind peaceful giants


While the vision is pure muscle and energy, somehow, the horse exudes serenity.

Understanding the majestic power horses yield may help explain the power of hippo therapy, which “refers to the use of the movement of the horse as a treatment strategy by physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech/language pathologists to address impairments, functional limitations and disabilities in patients with neuromotor and sensory dysfunction,” according to the American Hippotherapy Association (AHA).

The word hippotherapy derives from the Greek word hippos, meaning horse. In English, an example of the potential power of hippotherapy is improved mobility. For a child with developmental delays who has trouble walking, incorporating the movement of the horse — hippotherapy — into the child’s plan of care assists in providing neurologic responses that can improve mobility.

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