Horticultural therapy is a type of therapeutic treatment focused on caring for and nourishing plants. Therapeutic gardening can benefit anyone. It can be tailored to meet specific needs and help people gain a broad range of language, communication, and observation skills. Gardening can be especially beneficial for young children with autism. It encourages creativity and provides an outlet for stress and emotions. Caring for plants and watching them grow over time can give people a sense of purpose and value. Here are just a few of the benefits of horticultural therapy for children with autism.
Improves Motor Skills
The basis of horticultural therapy is to use plants and flowers to help children connect with the Earth and their bodies at the same time. The typical gardening activities, such as digging, pulling, and raking, can help with coordination and improve gross motor skills. These activities give children the time to play and explore in the soil incorporating play. It also aids in reducing muscle tension, lowering blood pressure, and building endurance and hand dexterity. Planting seeds and pulling weeds is an excellent way for children to develop their fine motor skills. It teaches them how to pick up and grasp small objects.
Horticultural therapy is also a creative way to teach children about plant life and gardening. Children can learn about topics such as:
- Seeds and their parts.
- Plant growth.
- Difference between fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers.
- Health benefits of plants.
- Nutritional benefits of fruits and veggies.
- Cooking with your harvest.
Incorporating learning into therapy encourages children to ask questions and get creative with their gardening. It also provides an opportunity to develop speech to share discoveries while playing in the soil. Horticultural therapy gives a chance for the child to learn how to cooperate and socialize with others.
When you are caring for plants, you have a new responsibility to tend to it every day. After all, consistent care is the only way to ensure your plant will stay alive and grow to its full potential. So, horticultural therapy will help your child understand responsibility. They will learn that it will be their responsibility to make sure the plants are properly planted and cared for. As a result, it will help them to gain leadership skills to take charge and look after their plants.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in the fields of pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (301) 577-4333. Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.