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Animal Assisted Therapy


In Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) the human-animal bond is utilized to help meet therapeutic goals and reach individuals who are otherwise difficult to engage in verbal therapies.

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									                 Animal Assisted Therapy

©2012 Professional Development Resources | | email:
Title of Course: Animal Assisted Therapy
Learning Level: Introductory
Author: Lois Jean Brady, MA, CCC-SLP


In Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) the human-animal bond is utilized to help meet therapeutic goals and reach
individuals who are otherwise difficult to engage in verbal therapies. AAT is considered an emerging therapy at this
time, and more research is needed to determine the effects and confirm the benefits. Nevertheless, there is a growing
body of research and case studies that illustrate the considerable therapeutic potential of using animals in therapy. AAT
has been associated with improving outcomes in four areas: autism-spectrum symptoms, medical difficulties,
behavioral problems, and emotional well-being. This course is designed provide therapists, educators, and caregivers
with the information and techniques needed to begin using the human-animal bond successfully to meet individual
therapeutic goals.

Learning Outcomes - As a result of taking this course, participant will be able to:

1.   Identify the key features of AAT
2.   Name three examples of how to build communication skills using AAT
3.   Identify special considerations for working with individuals with autism spectrum disorders
4.   List uses for AAT in occupational therapy and mental health practice
5.   Identify situations in which AAT may not be appropriate
6.   List five ways to minimize risk in the practice of AAT

©2012 Professional Development Resources | | email:
                                      Animal Assisted Therapy
Welcome to Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT). My name is Lois Jean Brady, and I am
a practicing speech-language pathologist registered in animal-assisted therapy. I
have a very loveable potbelly pig named Buttercup who accompanies me to
therapy sessions, where he enhances my work with students on the spectrum.
Buttercup has made a lasting impression on students, staff, and caregivers –
essentially all who meet him. He has helped some students attain their goals and
others just feel safer and more secure in the therapy environment, allowing them
to focus their attention on a task. He has heard many students utter their first
words, start conversations, or ask questions. He has been combed, brushed, fed,
and cared for by many students. I have found that having an animal creates an
atmosphere of trust that motivates children to expand their skills, strive to do
                                                                 their best, and
                                                                 strengthen the
                                                                 relationship between them and me.

                                                                       Rosy Chu interviews Lois and Buttercup on
                                                                       KTVU Bay Area People

                                                                       Watch Buttercup’s KTVU Interview:

 "One of the most fundamental advantages of animal-assisted therapy over other therapeutic modalities is that it
  provides the patient a much-needed opportunity to give affection as well as receive it. It is this reciprocity, rare
                among medical therapies, that makes AAT a unique and valuable route to healing."

         - Dr. Andrew Weil (2011), world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine.

What Exactly is Animal Assisted Therapy?

Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) practitioners blend guided therapeutic interventions with safe and highly motivating
animal-human interactions that are designed to focus and share attention. AAT’s ability to capture and maintain an
individual’s focus can encourage and expand joint attention, which, according to Prizant (2008), is a pivotal skill or a
fundamental building block that influences the development of emotional regulation, social skills, and communication.

©2012 Professional Development Resources | | email:
 To take this full course and get 15% off your purchase
       with coupon code, visit

                               Use coupon code: 15off

©2012 Professional Development Resources | | email:

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