Affiliations: [a] Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Quebec, QC, Canada | [b] Rehabilitation Department, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Quebec, QC, Canada | [c] Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration, Quebec, QC, Canada
Corresponding author: Andrew Freeman, Rehabilitation Department, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, 1050 avenue de la Médecine, Québec, QC, G1V 0A6, Canada. Tel.: +1 418 656 2131 extension 407906; Fax: +1 418 656 5476; E-mail: [email protected].
Abstract: PURPOSE: Hippotherapy is used by rehabilitation professionals to assist children with various diagnoses. Despite parents’ pivotal decision-making role regarding their children’s life and treatment, little is known about their perceptions of hippotherapy’s utility. This pilot study explored parents’ opinions regarding hippotherapy’s impact on their child’s life habits, as guided by the Disability Creation Process model. METHODS: A survey was conducted in September/October 2017 with the parents of children with varied diagnoses receiving hippotherapy in Quebec. The survey asked parents to priority rank life habit categories and then grade hippotherapy’s service characteristics and impact on children’s life habits. Descriptive analysis and proportion tests were used to analyze the data. RESULTS: The parents of 26 children completed the survey. These children were on average seven years old with multiple diagnoses (e.g., autism spectra, developmental delay). A positive impact was perceived for 10 of 12 life habit categories, with a statistically significant association found with Mobility and Interpersonal relationships. It was not possible to calculate the association between the profession involved and hippotherapy effects due to the small sample size. CONCLUSION: This investigation provides some promising results regarding the benefits of hippotherapy for children’s life habits.
Keywords: Life habits, social participation, hippotherapy, pediatric, survey