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An Evaluation of Animal-Assisted Therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorders: Therapist and Parent Perspectives

By C. S. Ang, F. A. MacDougall

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Abstract

Although there are a variety of psychological and therapeutic approaches to coping Autism Spectrum Disorder, people with autism still face some challenges in a "normal" therapy setting. Some therapy organizations and services have proposed an alternative therapy approach, Animal-assisted therapy (AAT). The aim of this phenomenological study was to gain a better understanding of the therapists and parents of individuals who choose the alternative approach, AAT. Data were collected through structured interviews with a group of three therapists and four parents. An analysis of the data revealed three main themes; the first theme named the perceived benefits of AAT with three subthemes consisting of physical benefits, sensory benefits and emotional benefits. The second theme is named the way AAT works with subthemes of client-centred therapy and mixed models, and the third theme is potential limitations of AAT. Limitations and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Publication Title Psychol Stud (Mysore)
Pages 1-10
ISBN/ISSN 0033-2968 (Print)0033-2968
DOI 10.1007/s12646-022-00647-w
Author Address School of Psychology, TMC Academy, 805 Geylang Rd, Singapore, 389683 Singapore.Centre for Population Health Sciences, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore. GRID: grid.59025.3b. ISNI: 0000 0001 2224 0361Faculty of Health, Education and Society, The University of Northampton, Northampton, UK. GRID: grid.44870.3f
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Animal-assisted therapies
  2. Autism
  3. open access
  4. parents
  5. therapists
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  1. open access