Down Syndrome is a genetic condition in which a child is born with an extra chromosome. Characteristics of Down Syndrome include low muscle tone and weakness in trunk and limbs, impulsive behavior, short attention span, impaired social skills, and slower learning.
Hippotherapy is an effective tool for treating Down Syndrome because it provides sensory stimulation to the muscles and joints, improves balance, body awareness, and postural control. It can help with cognitive, behavioral, and communication skills as the kids are taught to appropriately interact and relate to the horse. This interaction helps to develop memory, communication, self control, and self confidence. The bond that develops between the kids and their horse during a hippotherapy session is not only emotionally rewarding, but motivating and encourages greater success.