What is Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) and how can it help?
The simple and often instant bond between a human and an animal is the cornerstone of animal-assisted therapy. It is a practice that incorporates using animals as part of the therapeutic process. It is about building a bond with an animal through interaction and play.
Animals are used because they can help people relax, minimize stress and offer a sense of safety. Animals can also help reach kids, youth and adults who have disengaged and don’t want to work with a therapist. Animals take the pressure off and it is a great way to allow someone to relax, engage and connect.
AAT is a goal-directed intervention and individualised plans are created based on a person’s goals. There are a range of focus areas that can be developed with the use of AAT including, physical, social, emotional and mental health. Detailed reports are provided which can be used at annual reviews.
AAT can help with a multitude of goals such as:
- Improving self-esteem and reducing anxiety;
- Developing social skills, better social interaction and reducing feelings of social isolation
- Development of relationships and emotional bonds built on trust and respect
- Learning new skills, including: nurturing and caring for animals appropriately; Cooking (using produce from our garden and collecting our eggs)
- Speech and language delays
- Gaining strength and balance
- Improving fine and gross motor skills
- Learning functional life skills
Pearson Allied Health Services -therapists (speech pathologists; occupational therapists; psychologists; social workers and developmental educators) are able to work with many different client groups including:
- Neurological conditions such as Huntington’s; Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s.
- Attachment/Trauma disorder
- Autistic Spectrum
- Behavioural Issues
- Global Learning Delay
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder