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Big bullet   Animal Assisted Therapy

Animal - assisted therapy (AAT) is where trained therapy animals assist a medical/human service professional to motivate and help a child or an adult learn or improve various skills like social skills, verbal skills, physical skills, cognitive skills and it also helps to speed up the recovery process. AAT is used to help clients deal with emotional / behavioral problems by using therapy animals as part of the treatment process.

There is a tailor-made program for each client and the whole process is documented and evaluated. AAT can be integrated into individual or group therapy with a wide range of age groups and persons with varying disabilities. AAT can be used to help people with almost any kind of mental, emotional and physical illness /disability.

AAT is always used in conjunction with other therapies. In AAT, a professional as part of his/her own speciality uses the animal to help the client. For example, a clinical psychologist working with children uses the therapy animal in the context of play therapy, behavior therapy etc.

At Animal Angels Foundation each of our clients goes through a pretherapy, mid-therapy and post-therapy evaluation. All therapy sessions are documented through quantitative and qualitative data as well as video recording is done of the first and last sessions to observe the improvement in the client.

Saurav and Coco at an AAT session

 

For example, when Saurav, an eight-year-old child with autism enters the therapy room, he runs straight towards his friend, therapy dog Coco. He then lies down by his side and rests his head on Coco's back. Saurav found it very difficult to interact with people and had a very short attention span. He was then introduced to Coco and after just twelve sessions of animal-assisted therapy, he plays with his peers and responds positively to his teacher who says that he is 'now a happier child'. His attention span and concentration have improved tremendously through activities with Coco like playing ball with him or walking him. he has also started saying simple words like 'ball', 'dog', 'come' etc. these improvements are seen not only in the therapy room but also in his class and home environment.

 
 

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