Child and Flowers

What Is Horticulture Therapy?

Horticulture therapy is a form of therapy that utilizes horticultural actions and plants to heal and rehabilitate people with educational, physical, psychological, and social skills. Horticultural activities have been shown to improve the body, mind, and spirit of people. Spending time outside is refreshing and seeing plants bloom and grow can make a person mentally healthy by lifting their spirits. Horticulture therapy benefits are mental, physical, and social. Many types of people can be affected by it such as disabled or elderly.

A Brief History Of Horticulture Therapy

Horticulture therapy started in the 1600’s. People who could not afford their hospitalization worked in gardens to pay the cost of it. Physicians observed these patients and realized they were recovering at a faster pace and had overall better health than other patients. Servicemen worked in gardens to improve their mobility and mental function after World War I and II. Michigan State University gave the first undergraduate degree in horticultural therapy in 1955. Kansas State University developed the first graduate program. Horticultural therapy is used in nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, schools, camps, and community centers. It is very beneficial for disabled and autistic individuals.

Benefits Of Horticulture Therapy

Horticulture therapy is different from other therapies because it has such a broad range of who can do it. Working spaces can be adjusted as needed to fit a person’s needs. For example, a person who is in a wheel chair can receive horticultural therapy at a higher level due to not being able to bend. Horticultural therapy helps patients of all ages feel good about themselves and also can lift caregivers spirits. It creates beneficial social, mental, and physical habits for a person.

What is Autism?

Autism is a branch of developmental brain disorders referred to as Pervasive Developmental Disorders. Professionals believe that autism first shows itself in a person’s first three years of life. Autism is a neurological disorder that interferes with normal brain activity. Children with autism usually have communication problems and social skills. A lot of children with autism do not show affection. Some loud noises and smells are upsetting to them. Severe cases of autism cause speech delays and some children never learn to speak. Repeating behaviors is beneficial for children with autism; however changing things around is also helpful to help the child learn coping skills. Although a child with autism is different, they still feel emotions just like other people and should be treated with the same respect.

Therapy Benefits for Autistic Children

Horticultural therapy can offer cognitive and physical benefits to people on the autism spectrum disorder. Taking care of plants can help improve concentration and memory skills. A person with autism can find great joy planting things and watching them grow. Their self-esteem can improve and their social skills can grow from the socializing in the therapy.

  • American Horticultural Therapy Association – Information about the American Horticultural Therapy Association including FAQ, board of directors, publications, and code of ethics.
  • Benefits of Horticultural Therapy – Some of the benefits of horticultural therapy including physical, mental, and social.
  • Horticultural Therapy Benefits – A list of some of the benefits of horticultural therapy including physiological, psychological, recreational, cognitive, and vocational benefits.
  • Horticultural Therapy – An article all about horticultural therapy including benefits.
  • What is Autism? – A great article from Autism Speaks explaining exactly what Autism is.
  • Autism – An article explaining what autism is and what it means for those that have it, includes the option to listen to the article.
  • Horticulture as Therapy – Some brief information on how horticulture can be used as a form of therapy.
  • Department of Counseling Therapy Types – In-depth information on the different types of therapy styles available including horticultural therapy.
  • Autism Research at the NICHD – Autism Research at the National Institute of Child Health & Development.
  • Bibliography on Autism – A list of books covering the topic of Autism.
  • Autism Today – A website featuring loads of information on autism including education, conferences, articles, and more.
  • Autism & Design – Information on the best types of environments for children with Autism and other developmental delays.
  • Threshold Center for Autism – A list of frequently asked questions with answers from the Threshold Center for Autism.
  • Autism Resources – A list of Autism resources including websites, magazines, catalogs, and other publications.
  • Plants: The Silent Healers – Information on how gardening and horticulture can be used as a form of therapy.
  • The Butterfly Garden – Information on a butterfly garden specifically for children with Autism, located in Pinecrest, Florida
  • Horticultural Therapy – An article on horticultural therapy including news, and related resources.
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders – A large list of articles featuring information on Autism Spectrum Disorders.
  • HT Institute – The website of the Horticultural Therapy Institute.