PET FACILITATED THERAPY FOR SOCIALLY DISINTERESTED AND DEVELOPMENTALLY DELAYED CHILDREN

LAUREL ANN REDEFER, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to establish the effectiveness of companion-animals for therapy with autistic-like, developmentally delayed children. The goals of Pet-Facilitated Therapy were twofold: creation of an attachment between child and animal and generalization of this attachment to a human therapist. More specifically, how effective would PFT be in reducing the delayed child's isolation and customary play with inanimate objects, while simultaneously increasing the frequency of social interaction with the companion-animal? Secondly, would any increase in social interaction with the animal generalize to the human therapist? That is, would changes in frequency and complexity of social interaction between child and human therapist occur even without the animal present? Twelve children manifesting social detachment, or withdrawal were given 18 sessions of Pet-Facilitated Therapy. A Time Lag design was used and each child's interactive behavior was recorded before and after therapy sessions, and at a one-month follow-up session. Increases in social interaction were observed for all subjects during treatment and to a lesser degree at posttreatment and follow-up. Individual N = 1 analyses were also conducted to determine children for whom PFT was most and least effective. ^

Subject Area

Education, Educational Psychology

Recommended Citation

LAUREL ANN REDEFER, "PET FACILITATED THERAPY FOR SOCIALLY DISINTERESTED AND DEVELOPMENTALLY DELAYED CHILDREN" (January 1, 1986). Dissertations available from ProQuest. Paper AAI8703259.
http://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI8703259

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