Perceptions of parents about equine therapy for children with intellectual disabilities
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of parents of children with intellectual disabilities regarding the effect of equine therapy on them. Various techniques are used to help individuals with intellectual disabilities to overcome their psychological hurdles. This study focuses on equine therapy namely therapeutic riding, as a medium of positively influencing the psychological well-being of people with intellectual disability. The subjects were twelve parents of children with intellectual disability who were currently enrolled in a therapeutic riding programme. The study adopted a qualitative approach employing purposive sampling. Data collection was done through administering semi-structured interviews consisting of general demographic information as well as open-ended questions. The interviews were either telephonic or face to face and the data were analysed independently using the immersion and crystallization technique. The following themes emerged from the interviews conducted: motives, physical development; expectations; self-esteem and confidence, and social engagement. The current study found that respondents perceived that equine therapy was beneficial and brought about positive changes in their children. This implies that the therapy has utility value and could be explored as an alternative therapy to traditional methods. Judging from the findings of the study and the positive results reported in the literature, therapeutic riding may provide a refreshing alternative to the traditional room-controlled therapy.
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