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What Parents Should Know About Hippotherapy

While there is no proven cure for cerebral palsy, certain therapies could help to improve the quality of life for your child.

What is Hippotherapy?

Hippotherapy is a form of physical, occupational and speech therapy that utilises the characteristic movements of a horse to address impairments, physical limitations and sensory processing.

Unlike core treatment plans such as physical and occupational therapy, Hippotherapy is considered an alternative path to increasing a child’s physical strength and cognitive abilities.

Hippotherapy is usually provided by a specially trained, qualified physical or occupational therapist who will work closely with a child on a one to one basis, providing continued assessment to address their individual treatment goals.

Hippotherapy is an ideal setting to achieve mobility, independence and confidence in all aspects of a child’s life.

When Do I Begin Hippotherapy?

There is no specific age that dictates if or how a child could benefit from Hippotherapy, however children as young as 2 could participate.

How is Hippotherapy Performed?

Hippotherapy is built on the concept that riding a horse triggers a series of complex physical and mental reactions.

Generally speaking, the child will usually be positioned on the horse while the therapist strictly directs and controls the movement of the horse in a way that is safe for the child. The child will need to perform subtle, natural movements in order to maintain a stable position on the horse, while the therapist watches for changing physical reactions, adapting the plan where necessary.

The treatment plan will depend on what type of therapy is taking place and the therapist’s assessment of the child. Physical therapists will aim to improve balance, strength and gross motor skills, whereas occupational therapy will focus more on coordination, respiratory control and attention skills during Hippotherapy.

What are the Benefits of Hippotherapy?

There are many advantages to Hippotherapy, and it can help enable children with cerebral palsy strengthen their core, improve posture and movement response.

The goal of Hippotherapy is to help individuals:

  • Improve gross motor skills
  • Increase trunk strength, balance and control
  • Participate in an enjoyable and interactive form of therapy
  • Address weight bearing
  • Respond to a wide range of daily activities
  • Interact positively with the animal
  • Improve respiratory control
  • Support tactile response
  • Improve confidence and self esteem

If you believe that your child has cerebral palsy as a result of medical negligence it is important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible. You can contact Express Solicitors to obtain advice from a specialist solicitor who will discuss the case with you and provide you with confidential advice on the options available to you.

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