Horticulture therapy and autism

Horticulture therapy and autism

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Horticulture therapy and autism spectrum disorders: A cross-sectional study.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of horticultural therapy on nonverbal children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Forty nonverbal children with an autism spectrum disorders diagnosis were allocated randomly to an experimental and a control group. The experimental group was guided by a trained horticultural therapist who taught specific tasks to enhance self-reliance and social interaction and provided companionship. The control group received a consultation with the horticultural therapist. Both groups underwent measures of social behavior and interest in horticulture. Post-test measures revealed a significant group difference in the control condition only. The experimental group was able to interact with peers better and exhibited an increased interest in the horticultural therapy intervention. The results suggest that horticultural therapy is a viable approach for treating nonverbal children with autism spectrum disorders.