Animal assisted therapy for autistic children a descriptive narrative
McElwain, Carmille A.
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Autism is a disorder of the Pervasive Developmental Disorder family. It affects all aspects of a child's development, including personal and social relationships, cognitive growth, and sometimes physical maturity as well. Currently, there is no cure for Autism, but a wide variety of therapies are used to treat the symptoms of Autism. People-Pet Partnership, a division of the College of Veterinary Medicine at WSU, is currently conducting research on one type of therapy called Animal Assisted Therapy. Dr. F. Martin, Director of PPP and lead researcher in the study, has hypothesized that the use of an animal (in this case, a specially trained dog) during therapy sessions will aid in the development of pro-social behaviors. Preliminary research has shown support for this type of therapy, and results for the actual research will be available in August 2001. This paper is a descriptive analysis of the project and preliminary results for one child in the study.