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Response to old newsletter request to tell our story about AAT and Autism

  1. Eileen Bona

    Zach came to us when he was 12 years old and his mother said he had not been able to get the help he needed although he had many medical professionals, psychologists, OT’s, Psychiatrists and school professionals involved in his short life. Zach’s main presenting issue was his inability to regulate his emotions and tolerate loud noises, overcrowding and flashing lights. When he was “triggered” by these, he struck out violently and due to his 6’ 4” stature, he often harmed those he struck. Through working with animals, whom he was motivated to be with, Zach learned to regulate his emotions, tolerate frustrating daily events, follow direction, verbally communicate his thoughts and feelings and become more independent. Zach attended the AAT program for more than 2 years with several years of follow up or maintenance interactions. Today he is a 21 year old man with a job at a recycling depot. He hasn’t harmed anyone in several years and still practices breathing, visuailzing a calm state and verbalizing his feelings regularly, skilsl that have helped him to succeed in life. Zach and his mother attribute much of his success to his work in AAT and although Zach had much intervention from many facets of effective professional involvement, his turning point is traceable to his beginning in AAT.

  2. Christopher C Charles

    That’s quite the turnaround. It’s wonderful that Zach was finally able to find something that worked for him.

    What sort of interactions did the program comprise? Is he still participating in some sort of animal-assisted maintenance activities?

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