As I’m seeing from all the wild and wonderful projects I’ve been visiting on my Churchill Fellowship, there are many types of Animal Assisted Intervention on offer out there. For those new to the field the problem can often be understanding the different terms used to describe them. Luckily, IAHAIO (International Assosiation of Human-Animal Interaction Organisations) are working for collaboration and clarity across the board and it is their definitions that I refer to in my research and that Furry Tales adheres to.
Key definitions from their 2014 White Paper are quoted below, whilst the paper and guidelines in full can be found here, on IAHAIO’S website.
- ANIMAL ASSISTED THERAPY (AAT): Animal Assisted Therapy is a goal oriented, planned and structured therapeutic intervention directed and/or delivered by health, education and human service professionals. Intervention progress is measured and included in professional documentation. AAT is delivered and/or directed by a formally trained (with active licensure, degree or equivalent) professional with expertise within the scope of the professionals’ practice. AAT focuses on enhancing physical, cognitive, behavioral and/or socio-emotional functioning of the particular human recipient.
- ANIMAL ASSISTED EDUCATION (OR ANIMAL ASSISTED PEDAGOGY): Animal Assisted Education (AAE) is a goal oriented, planned and structured intervention directed and/or delivered by educational and related service professional. AAE is conducted by qualified (with degree) general and special education teacher. Regular education teachers who conduct AAE must have knowledge of the animals involved. An example of AAE delivered by a regular education teacher is an educational visit that promotes responsible pet ownership. AAE, when done by special (remedial) education teachers is also considered therapeutic and a goal oriented intervention. The focus of the activities is on academic goals, pro- social skills and cognitive functioning. The student’s progress is measured and documented. An example of AAE delivered by a special education teacher is a dog-assisted reading program.
ANIMAL ASSISTED ACTIVITY (AAA): AAA is a planned and goal oriented informal interaction and visitation conducted by the human-animal team for motivational, educational and recreational purposes. Human-animal teams must have received at least introductory training, preparation and assessment to participate in informal visitations. Human-animal teams who provide AAA may also work formally and directly with a healthcare, educator and/or human service provider on specific documentable goals. In this case they are participating in AAT or AAE that is conducted by a specialist in his/her profession. Examples of AAA include animal assisted crisis response that focuses on providing comfort and support for trauma, crisis and disaster survivors, and visiting companion animals for ‘meet and greet’ activities with residents in nursing homes.”
“ANIMAL ASSISTED INTERVENTION (AAI)
An Animal Assisted Intervention is a goal oriented and structured intervention that intentionally includes or incorporates animals in health, education and human service (e.g., social work) for the purpose of therapeutic gains in humans. It involves people with knowledge of the people and animals involved. Animal assisted interventions incorporate human-animal teams in formal human service such as Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT), Animal Assisted Education (AAE) or under certain conditions Animal Assisted Activity (AAA).
Post by Ione Maria Rojas