Horse Boy method questioned by autism experts

Lana Bandoim's picture
Horse Boy Autism Method

The Horse Boy method has been presented as a treatment for autism by author Rupert Isaacson, but experts are raising questions about its use. Isaacson uses this method for his own autistic son and believes it can help other children. It provides them with the opportunity to enjoy horses while receiving therapy.


Rupert Isaacson’s son Rowan has autism, but his special connection to a horse has led his father to investigate how the animals can be used to help others. Rowan Isaacson used to be nonverbal and interacting with horses has changed this. His father decided that traveling to places such as Mongolia would provide his son with the best chance to learn more about horses and ride them with professionals.


Rupert Isaacson developed the Horse Boy method after watching his son benefit from working with horses. Part of this autism treatment plan requires that parents let the children lead the way in interactions. However, the Horse Boy method is not universally accepted, and Nicole Rogerson is worried it may not be the right type of therapy for some children. She is the CEO of Autism Awareness Australia and dislikes the idea of letting toddlers lead the way because they are too small to make important decisions.

The Horse Boy method for autism treatment has evolved into the Horse Boy Foundation and the Horse Boy LLC which offer a variety of services. Rupert Isaacson now offers classroom instructions, home learning programs and experiential learning programs. Riding a horse is still an important part of the treatment plan and involves becoming comfortable with the environment, letting the child ride with a parent, playing games with the child and teaching the child to talk. Education can also be integrated into these steps.

The Horse Boy method can be adjusted for people who cannot afford to ride a horse by using swings, slides and other toys.

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