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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An animal-assisted intervention with college students with Asperger's syndrome
by Engel, Suzanne Elizabeth, Psy.D., Alfred University, 2009, 145; 3444111
Abstract (Summary)

Animal-assisted intervention (AAI), an intervention that uses a therapy animal to assist an individual in reaching his or her goals, has received little attention in the research literature. What is available is anecdotal in nature, with few available studies that use adequate controls and well-defined populations. Given the unique social needs of college students with Asperger’s syndrome (AS), AAI may be an effective intervention for this population. A multiple-baseline design was used to evaluate the effectiveness of an AAI with college students with AS. The consultation sessions students attended were recorded and the occurrence of operationally-defined behaviors, including the attention the student paid toward the consultant, the attention he or she paid toward the therapy dog, repetitive behaviors, and appropriate verbalizations, were coded. While the participants did not decrease repetitive behaviors nor increase their attention toward the consultant or appropriate verbalizations during the AAI sessions, the students had better attendance when the therapy dog was scheduled and reported enjoying having the dog present in the sessions. This is the first known study to evaluate an AAI with college students with AS using scientific control and rigor.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Atlas, Jana G.
Commitee: Faherty, Ellen, Gaughan, Edward, Taggart, Terry
School: Alfred University
Department: Division of Counseling and School Psychology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 72/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Special education, Clinical psychology, Higher education
Keywords: Animal-assisted intervention, Asperger's syndrome, College students, Social needs
Publication Number: 3444111
ISBN: 978-1-124-51053-8
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