Equine Assisted Social Skills Group on Long Island
Benefits of Social Skills for Autistic Spectrum Children
As described in the article, The Little Professor Syndrome, by Lawrence Osborne, June 2000, individuals with AS and autism often have outstanding verbal skill but are unable to communicate. The article offers a realistic and authentic look into the lives of those with Asperger’s and autism and speaks to the similarities and differences between the two. Asperger’s children alternate between brilliance and isolation. Some children make active social attempts but in an inappropriate way. Despite their huge vocabulary, their obsessional interests or fixations can get in the way of socializing appropriately. Often memorizing television shows, list of passengers on the Titanic or alphabetical listing of a class year book.
ASP children despite their exceptional skills with language have difficulties “reading” human social signals. Social skills groups allow all participants to try out what is correct and socially acceptable. They learn to pretend and communicate with appropriately matched peers in a safe, controlled environment. These children can learn to wear the correct social mask if given the opportunities to learn and practice
Social Skills groups with horses facilitate learning through un-mounted activities. Horses provide a different type of feedback for the autistic and AS child. The equines retreat and cooperate as nature dictates. This opens up opportunities for discussion and skills practice. Horses are authentic, gentle, accepting and do not see disabilities and therefore become great tools for self-discovery.