Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) is a new term for me. I imagine it is for you too. Prior to getting Derby, I started to do some research into this topic. I found a great online course for Animal Assisted Therapy on Professional Development Resources. I highly recommend the online course for any therapist new to the world of AAT. I’ll tell you a little bit about what I learned, but check out the links above if you want more details (and continuing education credit).
I learned that AAT is a technique used by therapists (speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychologist, recreational therapist, etc) to meet the goals of a client. The therapist can be the animal’s handler, or it can be a volunteer. AAT is goal driven and documented.
I am a speech/language pathologist, and I will use Derby to target communication skills. He is a great addition to my practice. He can help target goals for articulation, receptive language, expressive language, fluency, reading, and social skills. I am excited to have him get to work!
But, first the handler and the animal have to meet certain criteria to be considered.
Pre-requisites for a Therapy Animal Team
I will be Derby’s handler, and at this point I have met my pre-requisites.
- Own the animal or have permission from owner
- Known animal at least 6 months.
- Over 16 years of age
Derby has not yet met all of his pre-requisites.
- Know basic obedience commands and loose leash walking
- Be a domestic animal
- Be at least one year old
- Live with owner at least 6 months
- Not fed raw diet
- Not aggressive in nature