An outline for future research of Animal-Assisted Therapy in Speech-Language Pathology

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  • Interactions with animals have long been shown to improve human health through improved mood, increased physical activity, and decreased anxiety and social isolation (Fine, 2015). These effects have been harnessed in healthcare through therapeutic approaches such as animal-assisted therapy (AAT). AAT incorporates animals as a critical component in achieving therapy goals (Fine, 2015). The therapeutic effect of AAT has been studied primarily in counselling and psychotherapy; however, the evidence of its efficacy is limited (Kazdin, 2017).
    There is little evidence regarding the use of AAT in the field of speech-language pathology. Existing evidence is primarily case study or anecdotal and focuses on pediatric populations. Empirical evidence regarding the application to AAT to speech-language pathology services for adults with communication disorders is needed in order to broaden our knowledge of this field and its applicability to speech-language pathology.
    Speech-language pathology requires active client participation for successful therapy to occur. The use of animals in a therpay context has the potential to promote client trust in the therapist, which may improve active participation, motivation, and overall outcomes (Julius, Beetz, Kotrschal, Turner , & Uvnas-Moberg, 2013).
    This project aims to initiate the systematic exploration of the utility and impact of AAT when working with adult clients in speech-language therapy via the creation of a study design to be used in future research endeavours.

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    Conference/Workshop Poster
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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International