The effects that Adaptive riding have on Special needs children are astounding. There have been several studies linking the improvement of Gross motor functions and posture in special needs children in a wide variety of debilitating diseases.
A study conducted by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center about the effects of a seven week therapeutic program found a noticeable increase in the gross motor function of special needs children. These children were originally chosen for the delay in their development. They tested them by making them walk ten meters every week after a three day a week therapy course. They found that as the therapy went along the children exhibited significant improvement in their Gross motor skills. They did not see any loss in motor function as the program went along and at the end of it they concluded that the improvements to their motor functions were supposedly permanent (Winchester P, 2002).
Another study of Gross motor function in children with Cerebral Palsy revealed that their Gross motor function measure (GMFM) increased to 7.8% after only 6 weeks of therapy. They measured the GMFM every six weeks in nine females and eight males and found a continuous increase of approximately 8% for the first 18 weeks. Thereafter the Gross motor functions steadily improved at a rate of 1.8% every six weeks thereafter. They concluded that this therapy was beneficial to children with cerebral palsy decreasing the degree of disability. And that it should be considered as a standard sports therapy in these cases (Sterba JA, 2002).
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