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Integration of Animal-Assisted Therapy Standards in Pediatric Occupational Therapy

By Sara J. Shue, Melissa Y. Winkle, M J Mulcahey

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The primary purpose of this study was to describe how the best practice recommendations and standards of practice related to animal-assisted therapy (AAT) are being incorporated into pediatric occupational therapy (OT). The study design was a nonexperimental survey that identified the qualifications of pediatric occupational therapists that are incorporating AAT, the AAT standards of practice that are or are not used in practice, and the barriers and facilitators to being an AAT qualified occupational therapist. There were 21 respondents to the survey. The majority of respondents had a master’s degree, more than 10 years working as an occupational therapist, less than 10 years of experience with AAT, and practiced in the inpatient rehabilitation setting. The data collected indicated that 2 out of the 13 standards of practice and none of the best practice recommendations are being implemented by 50% or more of respondents. The lack of education and awareness of the AAT standards of practice according to the professional organization Animal Assisted Intervention International and the actual role of volunteer organizations may be impacting the best practice implementations in pediatric occupational therapy practice.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2018
Publication Title People and Animals: The International Journal of Research and Practice
Volume 1
Issue 1
Pages 9
ISBN/ISSN 2575-9078
Publisher Purdue University
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Sara J. Shue; Melissa Y. Winkle; M J Mulcahey (2017), "Integration of Animal-Assisted Therapy Standards in Pediatric Occupational Therapy,"

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  1. Animal-assisted interventions
  2. Animal-assisted therapies
  3. Animal roles
  4. Best practices
  5. Occupational Therapy
  6. pediatrics