The current study aims to investigate the effects of equine assistance support (EAS) on the well-being of caregivers of those who support autistic children. Recent studies suggest that EAS can yield positive outcomes for autistic children and qualitative explorations conclude they can also afford caregivers similar outcomes, however, no such quantitative research has aimed to solidify these implications. In light of this, the current study aims to quantitatively measure how well-being may differ in caregivers of autistic children who have and have not participated in equine-assisted support programs.

General criteria include being 18 years or older (the carer), being a caregiver of someone with ASD, and providing care for the child with ASD 4 or more days a week.

Inclusion criteria
Those who have accessed EAS need to have attended six or more sessions of EAS with a ridden element (meaning that they mount the horse as part of the session) in addition to meeting the general criteria.

Those without exposure to EAS may be on a waiting list to access EAS, have never heard of EAS, or have yet to be enrolled in an EAS programme.

Exclusion criteria
Is currently enrolled onto an equine-assisted therapy programme that does not involve a ridden element (they never get onto the horse always remain on the ground), the child has respite more often than they are at home, they have no children or are not diagnosed with ASD, do not understand English, do not have the ability to read or write in English, do not have access to the internet (Qualtrics) to complete the study.

An online questionnaire will be utilised to capture responses from caregivers, measuring a range of outcomes such as sleep, caregiver burden, family functioning, stress, anxiety, and depression. This questionnaire aims to take around 30-40 minutes to complete and measures sleep quality, stress scores, anxiety, depression, and family functioning scores. We will also be collecting a range of demographic questions as well to help aid our questions.

If you would like to take part then please read the information sheet on the link below, and if you have any further queries then do not hesitate to contact me directly. Thanks again 🙂