Animal Assisted Therapy
“AAT is a goal directed intervention in which an animal meeting specific criteria is an integrated part of the treatment process. AAT is delivered and/or directed by a health/human service provider working within the scope of his/her profession. AAT is designed to promote improvement in human physical, social, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning (thinking and intellectual skills.) AAT is provided in a variety of settings and may be group or individual in nature. This process is documented and evaluated.”
According to Animal-Assisted Therapy-Therapeutic Interventions, AAT is not a style of therapy, like rational-emotive therapy, cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy, etc. Instead, a therapist who utilizes AAT operates from his/her professional foundation and facilitates change in a client through the client’s interactions with an animal.
Physical therapists, occupational therapists, certified therapeutic recreation specialists, recreational therapists, teachers, social workers, and others can incorporate AAT into their work and treatments in a multitude of ways.
The animals are a catalyst to help the patients help themselves. For example, a child may not want to walk or reach after surgery because it is painful, but will happily take a dog for a walk or throw a ball, forgetting the pain for a little while and moving closer to going hom e.
For example a spastic child, who is not able to move his hands, is asked to move his hands for exercise purpose, may not be motivated enough to do so. BUT when he is assisted by an animal therapist, and the same exercise is conducted as a game play of “Fetch” with the therapy dog, the child will be motivated to lift the ball with his hands and throw it towards the dog.
We have successfully introduced and implemented animal assisted therapy for:
- Mentally challenged children
- Autistic children
- Hyperactive children
- Physically disabled
- Children with hearing and speech impairment
- Children with developmental disability
- Cancer patients
- AIDS orphans
- Elder people
- People with post-traumatic stress disorder.