Effects of equine interaction on EEG asymmetry in children with autism spectrum disorder: A pilot study

Chih Chia Chen, Debbie Crews, Stephanie Mundt, Shannon Ringenbach

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: This purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between resting frontal electroencephalogram (EEG) brain activity and the interaction with the horse in young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Methods: Resting frontal EEG alpha asymmetry was recorded fromtwo young children with ASD and two young typical children matched for age and gender during a baseline and an interaction conditions with the horse.

Results: Young children with ASD exhibited higher left frontal dominance during the baseline condition. While grooming the horse, young children with ASD exhibited the right frontal dominance.

Conclusions: This change may be attributed to the interaction with the horse. It changed the attentional focus of young children with ASD. In addition, the calmness of the horse might be transformed to young children with ASD. Future studies with larger sample sizes and behavioural measures of social functioning may help explain the horse related benefits in children with ASD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-59
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Disabilities
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Autism
  • EEG
  • Equine
  • Frontal asymmetry
  • Social skills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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