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A summative evaluation of a dolphin assisted therapy program for children with special needs

By Rachel M. Dilts

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This dissertation reviews the literature on the specialty area of dolphin assisted therapy (DAT), a subfield of animal assisted therapy (AAT). To date the literature on the effectiveness of DAT has been mixed although a majority of it is positive. The study was conducted with 40 parents whose children were attending a 2 week, 10 day DAT program in the Ukraine. A parent report scale using the Behavior Dimensions Rating Scale (BDRS) was administered on site pre and post therapy. The results support previous positive evidence in the field and suggest that this DAT program is effective with special children with special needs. More research should continue in the field to add to the body of knowledge by replication of DAT studies. Further research could include focusing on the theoretical assumptions of how it works. This research could help in creating national or international standards of practice, and to legitimize the field providing credible, ethical and quality services which affects both the humans and animals involved.


Deborah Maron

Date 2008
Degree PhD
Language English
Notes Provided courtesy of ScholarsArchive@OSU:
University Oregon State University
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal-assisted therapies
  2. Autism
  3. Development
  4. Health
  5. Humans
  6. Literature
  7. Literature reviews
  8. Reviews
  9. Studies
  10. therapy
  11. translation