Horticulture Therapy for Autism: Does It Help?

What is Horticultural Therapy? HT is engaging with nature to relieve anxiety, promote sensory integration, and enhance social skills.

What are the Benefits of Gardening for Children?

The author, Natasha Etherington, in her new book, says: “Horticultural Therapy is the engagement of a person in gardening related activities, facilitated by a trained therapist, to achieve specific treatment goals.” The benefits of gardening are many and any parent can learn how to become a “Horticultural Therapist” by reading Natasha’s latest book, Gardening for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Special Educational Needs.
You can do the following and enjoy the benefits of gardening:
  • Build a small wooden sand-like box.
  • Use bricks or cement blocks to create an area for only planting.
  • Use hanging baskets, window boxes, planters, or other containers which can hold soil.
  • Build a little greenhouse out of recycled materials.
  • Select plants which grow up, place stakes in the planter, and plant on a balcony or deck.
Gardening is not only very motivational for kids and fantastic for mental wellness of everyone involved, but also promotes positive behaviors. For parents, children could build long-lasting and favorable memories by sharing gardening experiences with an autistic child.
Just digging alone provides several benefits and learning experiences. Here are a few benefits:
  • An autistic child explores the soil and uses gross motor skills while engaged in “play-time” with the soil.
  • Decreases muscle tension and blood pressure drops.
  • Increases focus, endurance, and hand dexterity.
  • Offers opportunities in developing speech to communicate delightful discoveries.
  • Provides a perfect chance for a child to develop cooperative skills with the caregiver and young companions.
  • Gives practice in following safety rules and instructions.
  • Helps reduce aggressive tendencies, anxieties, and negative feelings.
  • Helps decrease tactile defensiveness.
All children with autism can benefit from HT which goes long way in calming them.
If you are dead serious about the cause and cure for autism, read this article: How is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Related to Autism, Asperger's, and Fibromyalgia?