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A Stakeholder-Engaged Approach to Development of an Animal-Assisted Intervention for Obesity Prevention Among Youth With Autism Spectrum Disorder and Their Pet Dogs

By D. E. Linder, S. C. Folta, A. Must, C. M. Mulé, S. B. Cash, E. D. Halbreich, C. Colón, S. Sullivan, E. Sanabria, D. Gibbs, T. Farrell

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Abstract

Stakeholder involvement in research has been demonstrated to increase the effectiveness, validity, and quality of a study. This paper describes the engagement of a stakeholder panel in the development and implementation of an animal-assisted intervention (AAI) assessment and program for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Canines for Autism Activity and Nutrition (CAAN) aims to promote physical activity and wellness among children diagnosed with ASD by integrating activities with their pet dog during the child's ongoing Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) in-home therapy sessions. Feedback from stakeholders guided program development at each stage of the research process, including this publication. Utilizing a stakeholder-informed approach was essential for the development of assessment tools, program materials, and program design. Methods that may assist others to effectively partner with stakeholders to implement an AAI among children diagnosed with ASD or related disorders are described.

Publication Title Front Vet Sci
Volume 8
Pages 735432
ISBN/ISSN 2297-1769 (Print)2297-1769
DOI 10.3389/fvets.2021.735432
Author Address Tufts Institute for Human-Animal Interaction, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, North Grafton, MA, United States.Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, MA, United States.Department of Public Health & Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, United States.Division of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY, United States.Division of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, United States.Department of Psychology, Tufts University School of Arts and Sciences, Medford, MA, United States.LEARN Behavioral, Baltimore, MD, United States.Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Boston, MA, United States.Perfect Piece LLC, Marlborough, MA, United States.Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, North Grafton, MA, United States.The Shriver Center, The University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, Worcester, MA, United States.
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Analysis
  2. Animal-assisted interventions
  3. Autism
  4. Behavioral research
  5. Collection
  6. data
  7. Human-animal interactions
  8. Interventions
  9. obesity
  10. open access
  11. patients
  12. stakeholders
  13. Studies
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  1. open access