Autism in RDA

Autism is the most commonly occurring disability in RDA at 24% of our total clients.


Building Supportive Networks

Autism is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder which is usually characterised by differences in social communication and behaviour.

Creating a support network of family and friends, each with different areas of strengths or talents can really benefit a child with Autism.  For some parents, the most helpful support could be others who have a strong understanding of how ASD impacts their child.  RDA can be a wonderful asset in building support networks.  Our coaches and volunteers have a wide understanding and experience of working with people with ASD.  We understand the emotional support that both you and your child need, some days more than others.  The horse is also a valuable part of the support team with anecdotal research showing amazing changes in how your child communicates through the horse.


Love riding?

There were 164,000 Australians with Autism reported by the ABS in 2015.  That's around 1 in 100 children!  Autism now makes up the highest percentage of RDA riders across Australia.  Why is that?  It's because we have such success with outcomes for riders with Autism.  Do you know someone with Autism that loves horses and riding?


Learning Life Skills

Do you think RDA is all about riding horses?  Not true!  RDA programs also include the development of important like skills like appropriate communication, saying 'please' and 'thank you', developing grip (gross motor skills) on the reins, meeting new people and learning about left and right directionality.  Coloured reins of different textures assist tactile sensitive riders to learn to hold the reins and coaches can give very specific instructions about where to hold the reins by describing coloured sections to be held when shortening and lengthening the reins.


Fact Sheet

Read out Autism Fact Sheet, with information about the condition, how RDA helps and a beautiful story about Connor, an RDA rider with Autism and the change RDA has brought into his life.



  • 44% of our riders with Autism fall within the 11-18 year old age bracket, followed closely by 6-10 years at 35%.
  • In the 6 age brackets reported on, only 19-30 years and 51 and over feature a higher number of females than males.
  • Overall, 60% of clients with Autism are male.
  • Autism is the only disability in RDA that has more males participating than females.
  • Nationally, Autism accounts for 24% of our clients.  This is reflected throughout each State/Territory with only NSW (7%) and NT (18%) recording less than 20% of their total clients.

Still want to know more?

Have a look at our webpage about Who We Help for more information about all the benefits of riding with RDA for all of our disabilities.

Visit Autism Spectrum Australia for more information and Fact Sheets about Autism.