Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Animal-assisted therapy and children with social deficits: A grant proposal project
by Unger, Heather, M.S.W., California State University, Long Beach, 2009, 57; 1466318
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this project was to locate a potential funding source and write a grant to implement Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) among children with pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs), such as autism, and to establish a plan to evaluate its effects. A 4-week summer camp would incorporate children with developmental deficits and animals accompanied by trained animal assistance therapists. The children would interact with the animals as guided by the therapists. An extensive literature review was performed to investigate the best way to improve the quality of life for children with PDDs by incorporating animal-assisted therapies into their treatment plans. A search was conducted to locate an appropriate funder for the camp program.

The proposed program may strengthen awareness about animal-assisted therapies as legitimate ways to gain increased social skills, independence, and freedom among children with PDDs, a prevalent and rapidly growing population. The funding source chosen was the National Institute of Health, which was deemed appropriate due to the requirement that the grant be used for educational programming in the area of autism. The proposed program's goals and objectives include improving the social functioning of affected families and the social, verbal, emotional, and psychosocial functioning of children with PDDs. The program will be evaluated before, during, and after the camp using narrative data, video documentation, teacher/parent questionnaires, and pretest/post-test data. If funded this program could dramatically improve the lives of not only the child with the disorder, but also every family members and individuals who are associated closely with the child.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Potts, Marilyn
School: California State University, Long Beach
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 47/06M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Behavioral psychology, Social work, Clinical psychology
Publication Number: 1466318
ISBN: 9781109171907
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