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The effect of an animal-assisted visitation programme on children with intellectual disabilities : a randomised controlled study

By Khama Lucille Wyatt

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Abstract

Intellectual disability is a developmental disorder which affects intellectual and adaptive functioning within a social, practical and conceptual domain. This is a lifelong disorder for which no cure exists. Intellectual disability is normally caused by trauma or genetic predispositions. In South Africa this disorder affects approximately 0.64 per 1000 to 29.1 per 1000 children. There are many treatment plans which are used for intellectual disabilities. Animal-assisted intervention is one such plan. With animal-assisted intervention (AAI) certified animals and their owners go to facilities such as hospitals and schools where patients or residents get the opportunity to interact with the animals under the owners’ supervision. AAI has been proven to help reduce anxiety and pain and to encourage self-esteem and motivation in children. The aim of the current study was to empirically study the effect of an AAI on the behaviour of children with intellectual disabilities. The present study made use of a randomised pretest-posttest control group design. The sample of the current study consisted of 47 children enrolled at a primary school for children with special needs in Cape Town, South Africa. The children were randomly assigned to an experimental group (n = 23) and a control group (n = 24). The experimental group was subjected to a 10-week intervention programme during which four registered dogs from Pets as Therapy visited the children once a week for 40 minutes. The experimental group had the opportunity to talk to, brush, give snacks and pet the dogs. During this time the control group continued with normal everyday school activities. Two questionnaires, namely the Child Behaviour Checklist (teacher’s form) and the Measurement of Pet Inventory (MOPI) were handed to the teachers to complete for all 47 children before (pretest) and after (posttest) the intervention. A p-value of .05 or smaller was used to indicate the significance of the results. Non-significant results were found on the Child Behaviour Checklist (teacher’s form) and the MOPI in the current study. However, the current study recommends that future studies continue to empirically study the effect that AAI can have on children with ID and various other disabilities.

Intellektuele gestremdheid is ʼn ontwikkelingsversteuring wat ʼn persoon se intellektuele en adaptiewe funksionering binne sosiale, praktiese en konseptuele domein affekteer. Dit is ʼn lewenslange versteuring waarvoor daar tans geen genesing bestaan nie. Intellektuele gestremdheid ontstaan gewoonlik as gevolg van trauma of as gevolg van ʼn genetiese afwyking. In Suid-Afrika affekteer hierdie versteuring ongeveer 0.64 per 1000 tot 29.1 per 1000 kinders. Tans is daar verskeie behandelingsplanne, onder meer troeteldier-ondersteunende intervensie. Troeteldier-ondersteunende intervensie (TOI) is ʼn intervensie waartydens gesertifiseerde diere en hul eienaars na instellings soos hospitale en skole gaan waar die pasiënte of inwoners die geleentheid kry om interaksie met die diere te kan hê onder die toesig hul eienaars. TOI het al gehelp met die vermindering van kinders se angs en pyn, en het selfs kinders se selfbeeld en motivering verbeter. Die doel van die huidige studie was om empiries die effek van ʼn TOI op die gedrag van kinders met intellektuele gestremdheid te bestudeer. Die huidige studie het gebruik gemaak van ʼn ewekansige voortoets-natoets kontrolegroepontwerp. Die steekproef van die huidige studie het bestaan uit 47 kinders wat tans ingeskryf is by ʼn primêre skool vir kinders met spesiale behoeftes in Kaapstad, Suid-Afrika. Hierdie kinders is lukraak toegewys aan ʼn eksperimentele groep (n = 23) en kontrolegroep (n = 24). Die eksperimentele groep is aan ʼn 10 weke lange intervensieprogram onderwerp waartydens vier geregistreerde honde van Pets as Therapy die kinders een keer per week vir 40 minute lank besoek het. Die eksperimentele groep het die geleentheid gehad om met die honde te gesels, hulle te borsel, te vertroetel en vir hulle peuselhappies te gee. Gedurende hierdie tyd het die kontrolegroep voortgegaan met hul daaglikse skoolaktiwiteite. Twee vraelyste, naamlik die Child Behaviour Checklist (onderwysersvorm) en die Meting van troeteldierintervensie (MVTI) is voor die intervensie (voortoets) asook na die intervensie (natoets) uitgedeel aan die onderwysers om te voltooi vir al 47 kinders. Die p-waarde van .05 of kleiner is gebruik om beduidende verskille in die resultate te toon. Niebeduidende verskille is gevind met die Child Behaviour Checklist (onderwysersvorm) asook met die MVTI. Die huidige studie beveel aan dat toekomstige studies voortgaan om die effek wat TOI kan hê op kinders met intellektuele en ander gestremdhede empiries te bestudeer.

Submitter

Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2016
Pages 181
Publisher Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University
Department Arts and Social Sciences
Degree Master of Arts (Psychology)
URL http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/100040
Language English
University Stellenbosch University
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Tags
  1. Animal-assisted activities
  2. Animal-assisted therapies
  3. Attention deficit disorder
  4. Children
  5. Developmental disabilities
  6. Mental deficiency
  7. open access
Badges
  1. open access