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Effect of Animal-Assisted Play Therapy on facilitating social behavior for children with autism: a preliminary comparison study

By Suk Chun Fung

Category Journal Articles
Abstract

Despite evidence that Animal-Assisted Play Therapy increases the positive social behavior of children with autism, little is known about the mechanism of this treatment effect. In the present study, ten children with autism, aged 7-10, were randomized into two groups. One group attended 14 individual sessions of structured Animal-Assisted Play Therapy (AAPT) with a therapy dog, while the comparison group attended 14 individual sessions with a doll as the dog surrogate. Nonparametric tests showed that overall, children's social behaviors were similar in the two treatments, with a trend toward more positive verbal behavior with AAPT. However, the AAPT group showed significantly less negative behavior toward the social object (the therapy dog) compared with the comparison group's behavior toward the doll. The therapy dog's unambiguous response to the children's behavior and the dog's role in modeling social behaviors are possible explanations for the more positive outcomes seen in AAPT.

Date 2014
Publication Title Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin
Volume 2
Issue 2
Pages 40-59
URL https://www.apa-hai.org/human-animal-interaction/haib/download-info/animal-assisted-play-facilitating-social-behavior-with-autism/
Language English
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Animal-assisted therapies
  2. Animal roles
  3. Animals
  4. Autism
  5. Canidae
  6. Canine
  7. Carnivores
  8. Children
  9. Dogs
  10. Human behavior
  11. Humans
  12. Injuries
  13. Mammals
  14. Men
  15. Mental disorders
  16. Non-communicable diseases and injuries
  17. open access
  18. peer-reviewed
  19. Pets and companion animals
  20. play
  21. Primates
  22. therapy
  23. vertebrates
Badges
  1. open access
  2. peer-reviewed