Animal-assisted therapy comes from studies of human-animal interaction and human-animal bonding. This field looks at the relationship between animals and humans. The theory is that animals are a source of calming, non-judgmental support and can help with communication and social interaction.
For example, an autistic child might feel more comfortable interacting and communicating with an animal. The child then learns how to apply these social and communication skills in family and other relationships.
Animal-assisted therapy usually involves a series of sessions with a therapist and animal. . They can do the sessions in a group or individually.
Animal-assisted therapy most often involves farm animals and zoo animals.
Depending on an individual child’s needs, the therapy usually involves 6-12 sessions.
For autistic children, animal-assisted therapy is used to help children learn empathy, communication and social skills. It can also be used to help autistic children manage their behaviour.
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