Date of Award

12-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management

Advisor

Hawkins, Brent

Committee Member

VanPuymbroeck, Marieke

Committee Member

Townsend, Jasmine

Committee Member

Lewis, Stephen

Abstract

Therapeutic riding is a commonly used therapeutic approach for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Research supports therapeutic riding for children with ASD; however, the effect of specific sub-types of therapeutic riding (e.g., therapeutic riding drill team) has been under investigated. Furthermore, the role of self-efficacy and other programmatic components (e.g., interaction with horses, interaction with other participants, etc.) of therapeutic riding programs have not been studied, especially among children with ASD. This study evaluated a therapeutic riding drill team for children with ASD to determine if and to what extent self-efficacy and other program components were present. Three forms of data were collected including a retrospective Important Performance Analysis (IPA), satisfaction questionnaire, and interviews with the participants and their caregiver. The results showed high performance on the retrospective IPA, high satisfaction on the program components, and indicators of the presence of self-efficacy among participants in the therapeutic riding program. This information may be used by recreational therapists in therapeutic riding programs to target aspects of self-efficacy and other program components serving children with ASD.

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