An evaluation of the physical and psychological effects of a riding therapy programme for cerebral palsied children

Stuart, Anna-Mart (1999-03)

Thesis (M. Sc) -- University of Stellenbosch, 1999

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The aim of the present study was to establish whether disabled children show an increase in self-concept and a shift toward an internal locus of control due to their participation in a riding therapy programme. The children's physical improvement as riders were also evaluated. Riding therapy as implemented by the South African Riding for the Disabled Association (SARDA), is a form of physical education with psychosocial benefits. SARDA's aim is to teach children and adults to ride as competently as possible. An emphasis is placed on overcoming disabilities, improving daily living, and providing recreation. The study took the form of a quasi-experimental non-equivalent control group research design. The subjects consisted of an experimental group of twelve cerebral palsied children who commenced riding therapy in January 1997. The control group was paired off to the experimental group by the following factors: age, gender, and type of disability. The pre-test data collection took place in January, 1997. The effect of riding therapy on the self-concept of physically disabled children was evaluated by the Piers-Harris Children's Self-concept Scale and locus of control orientation was measured by the Pre-Primary Nowicki-Strickland Locus of Control Scale. The post-test data collection took place after the experimental group had participated in riding therapy for six months, every second week (approximately 12 sessions). The parents of the experimental group subjects were asked to complete the Parents Questionnaire. This informal questionnaire was developed for the present study to determine whether the parents noticed any changes in the time that their children participated in tiding therapy. The experimental group's riding progress was evaluated by the Rider Classification Scale, developed for the present study, and administered at the time of the pre- and post-test data collection. The helpers involved with riding therapy were asked to comment on the benefits or changes that they have noticed in the children over the six months period. There were no significant statistical improvement in self-concept scores or a shift towards an internal locus of control scores found, as established by the Wilcoxen Signed Ranks test. The experimental subjects' riding skills as evaluated by the Rider Classification Scale did however improve significantly. Information derived from the parents' questionnaires and the helpers' written comments were combined to formulate two case studies. General physical improvements as observed by parents and helpers were improved balance and co-ordination, decrease in muscle stiffness, tenseness and overall anxiety. Helpers and parents commented that subjects became self-assured and confident and enjoyed the riding therapy immensely. Although the quantitative aspect of this study did not amount to significant results, the qualitative aspect did. The qualitative results of the present study show that the professionals and other persons involved with riding therapy recognise changes and improvement in participants, both physically and psychologically. Further studies need to be conducted in order to establish the validity of riding therapy as a successful means of therapy for cerebral palsied children in South Africa.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van die huidige studie was om vas te stel of gestremde kinders 'n toename in selfkonsep en 'n verskuiwing na 'n interne lokus van kontrole as gevolg van hul deelname in perdryterapie program ondergaan. Die subjekte se fisiese verbetering as miters is ook geevalueer. Perdryterapie, soos geiinplimenteer deur die Suid-Afrikaanse Assosiasie van Penny vir Gestremdes (SARDA), is 'n vorm van fisiese onderrig met psigo-sosiale voordele. SARDA se doel is om kinders en volwassenes tot die beste van hul vermoe te leer perdry. Die klem word geplaas op die oorbrugging van gestremdheid, verbetering van daaglikse lewenstake sowel as op ontspanning. Die studie het die vorm aangeneem van 'n kwasi-eksperimentele nie-gelyke kontrole groepontwerp. Die subjekte het bestaan uit 'n eksperimentele groep van twaalf serebraal gestremde kinders wat met 'n perdryterapie program begin het in Jartuarie 1997. Die kontrole groep is afgepaar teenoor die eksperimentele grdep op grond van die volgende faktore: ouderdom, geslag en tipe gestremdheid. Die voortoets het in Januarie 1997 plaasgevind. Die effekte van perdryterapie op die selfkonsep van die fisies gestremde kinders is geevalueer met behulp van die Piers-Harris Children Self-Concept Skaal. Die lokus van kontrole orientasie is met behulp van die PrePrimary Nowicki-Strickland Locus of Control Scale for Children gemeet. Die na-toets het plaasgevind nadat die eksperimentele groep vir ses maande elke tweede week aan 'n perdryterapie program deelgeneem het. Die ouers van die eksperimentele subjekte is gevra om die Parents Questionnaire te voltooi Hierdie informele vraelys is spesifiek vir die huidige studie ontwerp om vas te stel of ouers enige veranderinge opgemerk het vandat hul kinders aan die perdryterapie program deelgeneem het. Die eksperimentele groep se perdryvordering is geevalueer met behulp van die Rider Classification Scale, wat spesifiek vir die huidige studie aangepas is. Hierdie skaal is by beide die voor en na-toets geadministreer. Die helpers, wat by die perdryterapie sessies van die eksperimentele groepbetrokke was, is ook gevra om skriftelik hul menings te gee aangaande die veranderinge wat htille oor die ses maande periode by elke subjek waargeneem het Statisties is geen beduidende verandering in selfkonseptellings of verskuiwing na interne lokus van kontroletellings gevind, soos gemeet deur die Wilcoxen Rangorde toets. Die eksperimentele groep se perdryvaardighede soos geevalueer deur die Rider Classification Scale, het wel 'n beduidende statistiese verbetering getoon. Die informasie verkry deur die Parents Questionnaire sowel as die geskrewe menings van die helpers, is gekombineer om twee gevallestudies te formuleer. Algemene fisiese verbeteringe sluit in: verbetering in balans en koordinasie, afname van spierstyfheid, gespannenheid en algehele angstigheid. Helpers en ouers het waargeneem dat subjekte meer selfvertroue en selfversekerheid getoon het en dat hulle die perdryterapie program terdee geniet het Alhoewel die kwantitatiewe aspek van hierdie studie nie betekenisvolle resultate getoon het nie, het die kwalitatiewe aspek wel. Die kwalitatiewe resultate van die huidige studie toon dat die professionele persone, sowel as ander persone wat betrokke is by perdryterapie, veranderinge en verbeteringe op beide fisiese en sielkundige gebied, in subjekte waargeneem het. Verdere studies behoort onderneem te word ten einde die validiteit en sukses van perdryterapie as 'n suksesvolle terapie vir gestremde kinders in Suid-Afrika te bepaal.

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