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New York Times Article – April 15, 2009

April 16, 2009

The New York Times Article “The Horse Boy”

The New York Times published an article on April 15 called “The Horse Boy”. The beginning of the article reads:

When Rupert Isaacson decided to take his autistic son, Rowan, on a trip to Mongolia to ride horses and seek the help of shamans two years ago, he had a gut instinct that the adventure would have a healing effect on the boy. Mr. Isaacson’s instinct was rewarded after the trip, when some of Rowan’s worst behavioral issues, including wild temper tantrums, all but disappeared.

Read the rest of the article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/15/books/15horse.html
There is also lively discussion happening on a New York Times blog page, where autism experts and readers are invited to chime in, http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/14/healing-autism-with-horses/.

HHRF’s entry on that page, in response to the article and the various posts:

This article highlights the certain need for the translation of anecdotal evidence of the impact of horses on humans (decades-worth of stories to add to the ones here!) to real substantiation. The Horses and Humans Research Foundation exists for this purpose.
www.horsesandhumans.org

One of our currently funded projects is researching “the effects of horses on the socialization and behavior of children with autism.” Other previously funded projects have looked at the impact of equine-facilitated hippotherapy on children with cerebral palsy.

Commentary here illustrates many of the challenges to making equine-assisted activities accessible to children like Rowan: a lack of available insurance reimbursements, skepticism from the rehabilitation and medical fields, and the lack of a model of best practice. All of these challenges can be overcome by supporting high-level research.

Also look for a Letter to the Editor from HHRF Founder and President Molly Sweeney to be published in the coming week.

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