WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY: EQUITABILE® organises the event “EQUI-BLU: ride a horse to be part of the world and not a world apart!”
2nd April 2016 will be the world autism awareness day.
The UN has established this symbolic day to raise awareness and commitment about autism and its various implications.
Throughout this day, world-wide, a great number of entities will be involved in events and actions aimed at disseminating information and interest around this issue, to ultimately foster proposals that can improve the quality of life of people affected by autism.
What do you really know about autism?
Autism is a neuropsychiatric disorder estimated to affect about 1–2 people in 1,000 that substantially prevents an appropriate interaction with the surrounding environment.
This disease manifests itself with multiple symptoms and different levels of severity, so that in recent years the scientific community has tended to use the term “autism spectrum disorders”, which highlights that each person is affected differently.
Nevertheless we can say that autism spectrum disorders all originate from an impaired development that involves communication skills and social interaction and are all characterised by unusual behaviours (such as stereotyped and repetitive behaviour) and impaired imaginative skills.
The scientific community is now unanimous in dividing the impairments due to autism into three macro-categories:
• Social symptoms: serious delays and difficulties in developing interpersonal relationships; apparent lack of interest in relationships with other people; tendency to isolation and social withdrawal; apparent emotional indifference to stimuli; poor eye contact.
• Language and communication symptoms: difficulties or inability to use verbal and non-verbal language and communication. It is estimated that about 25% of individuals with autism are unable to communicate verbally. Those who are able to use language often express themselves in a bizarre way (out-of-context words).
• Thinking and behaviour symptoms: poor and stereotyped imaginative skills, which entail ritualistic and repetitive behaviours and lack of flexibility to face changes in the daily routine and the surrounding environment.
EQUITABILE®, horse-riding for a good cause.
EQUITABILE® is a Movement – led by A.S.D. Incontro a Cavallo, Milan – whose purpose is to spread equestrian activities through the world of associations in the Third Sector (Equitazione Integrata® – Integrated Horse-Riding – and Equine-assisted Therapy), inspired by the traditional precepts of hippotherapy and horseback riding therapy according to an exclusive educational, ludic, motor, relational and pre-sporting aspect.
The activities proposed by EQUITABILE®, based on solid and essential ethical principles related to the wellbeing of animals and people – the hallmarks of quality and competence – are aimed at social inclusion, implemented through the application of internationally recognised operating procedures.
Thanks to its Technical Supervisors (technicians specialised in Equitazione Integrata® or Equine-assisted Therapy, people who have turned their passion for horses into a socially useful activity) qualified through specific training courses recognised by CONI via ACSI (Sports Promotion Body), EQUITABILE® offers activities with educational, motor, sports and recreational purposes throughout Italy in the world of horse-riding and Animal-assisted Activities in general (A.A.A.- A.A.E.).
In accordance with the Italian Laws governing the protection of Patents and Trademarks, the entire organisation ensures compliance with the Regulations and procedures for obtaining Patents, as well as those relating to the use of the Trademark: this is primarily aimed at protecting end users but also the Technical Supervisors who have followed a strict training process.
Our partnerships with international Organisations such as HETI (Federation of Horses in Education and Therapy International) and EAHAE (European Association for Horse Assisted Education) complete the synergic network of contacts and collaborations that endorse horse-assisted informal education for the full inclusion of disadvantaged individuals.
EQUITABILE® and autism spectrum disorders.
Studies in the field of rehabilitation of people with autistic disorder show that horse-assisted activities offer very important pluses compared with other types of intervention based on more traditional therapies.
It is demonstrated that the equine activities proposed with an aware and competent approach improve motor skills and muscular strength, develop intellectual abilities – in particular attention span, memory and concentration -, boost confidence and trust in other people and foster social growth and development: when you get in touch with a horse through non-verbal, physical and sensory communication, you feel an emotional and empathic drive based on non-rational elements, or however not processed rationally, that reinforces your emotional stability and motivates you to establish and experience relationships also outside the context in which this process began.
If we consider the above, it is easy to understand to what extent horse-assisted activities enhance the social inclusion of people with disabilities.
If we develop and improve the motor, emotional, relational and empathic skills of the underprivileged, they will have the opportunity to interact as independently as possible with the surrounding social environment, which is a fundamental prerequisite to meaningfully increase employment opportunities and consequently reduce exclusion and isolation.
For these reasons we think that, with a view to growth and development, the equestrian centres that join EQUITABILE® could become major hubs for meetings, discussion and support within the social network in which people with disabilities and their families live and fight every day: the opportunity to share their experiences with other people who face the same difficulties in a context where the focus is on abilities and not disabilities, and where joys, emotions and smiles are shared, opens up new spaces of serenity, trust and confidence.
EQUI-BLU: ride a horse to be part of the world and not a world apart!
On the occasion of the world autism awareness day, EQUITABILE® intends to help raise awareness on the issue and make an important contribution to the inclusion of people with autistic disorder by proposing “EQUI-BLU: ride a horse to be part of the world and not a world apart!”, a circuit of equestrian initiatives to be implemented throughout Italy, to encourage the meeting between diversities by reducing out-dated prejudices.
It will consist of 22/25 events (in equestrian centres which have joined EQUITABILE®, with the involvement of qualified Technical Supervisors to ensure the perfect safety of the activities proposed, and volunteers) aimed at fostering the horse culture and raising awareness on the enormous potential of a physical, empathic and emotional relationship with horses, especially for the benefit of disadvantaged people.
The equestrian centres connected and coordinated by EQUITABILE® will organise events – each according to its abilities – by alternating playful and recreational moments and opportunities for information, discussion and debate.
Several free “open-day” activities will be offered mainly with ludic and demonstration purposes and the direct involvement of horses, including:
• approaching horses
• equine demonstrations
• games to encourage spontaneous and constructive cooperation among participants
• workshops on various themes such as hippotherapy, ethology … etc.…
and entertainment/information with the involvement of facilities/institutions/organisations operating in the area of each centre, that want to experience and share this day with us.
The proposals of each centre all have in common the will to highlight, even in the case of persons with severe disabilities such as autism, the important benefits of getting in touch and establishing relationships with horses, which also stimulate their emotional and relational spheres through an impactful approach.
Equestrian experts and parents of disabled children/teenagers who are willing to actively participate will also be encouraged to share their experience to stress the importance and effectiveness of this day.
For those who have objective difficulties, life is very often a steep road and a horse can surely help! We believe in this!
Countdown for the campaign “I EQUI-BLU too!” on the social networks
As the World Autism Awareness Day (Saturday 2nd April) approaches, all the equestrian world is called to participate in the social initiative “I EQUI-BLU too!” to draw attention to this disease that limits the relational sphere, the behaviour and interaction of the children and adults affected.
Why do we want to involve the equestrian world?
Because horses are magical facilitators of relationships, they stimulate empathic and affective interactions and contribute to the development of residual abilities.
These animals help disabled children to “get involved” and face their life with greater efficiency, interactivity and participation.
Horses don’t judge, so they don’t impose limits in the encounter with people, and they approach them in a neutral way.
Unlike small animals involved in pet therapy, horses have a plus: they can be ridden. Leading such a majestic living being helps develop self-esteem, stimulates cognitive maturation and creates well-being, whether it is for rehabilitation, pre-sporting or purely ludic-motor purposes.
If you have personally experienced even a minor form of “hippotherapy”, if you have enjoyed staying with or riding a horse, if it has helped you overcome small or great issues, you are definitely the right person to support our initiative!
Horse lovers to support the World Autism Awareness Day on the Web!
The name of the initiative is “I EQUI-BLU too!”: this motto highlights your “moral” and “equestrian” support to the World Autism Awareness Day on the social networks.
Would you like to join the initiative? Help us make it viral on the Web!
Take a selfie on your horse with a blue garment or accessory, as this colour symbolises the world autism awareness day.
The “I EQUI-BLU too!” campaign will go viral if you post your selfie on your “social” profiles with the hashtag #equiblu, if you tag @equiblu, and invite all of your friends to do the same by writing “I EQUI-BLU too!”.
With this simple but important action you will support the initiative by raising awareness among your equestrian friends on the World Autism Day and the benefits of horses for fragile people.