This is a kind of therapy that includes the use of animals in treatment for conditions like Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Animals like horses, dogs or dolphins are used in therapeutic situations for providing emotional support. Animals are trained to assist the daily activities and also animal assisted activities. The main goal of this treatment is to improve patients’ social, emotional, or cognitive functioning and also improving motivational and educational effectiveness.
Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) also improves prelinguistic skills such as social smile, joint attention, social interaction and verbal mode of communication in children. Children with ADHD will reduce their behavioral problems and improves their socialization and language skills with the help of AAT. This method of treatment also reduces the symptoms of ASD such as stress, anxiety, aggressiveness, hyperactivity, irritability, and distractibility.
In the presence of animals, children with ASD are more likely to engage in social interactions with humans. Horseback riding and dog-assisted therapy show positive impact in children with ASD and ADHD.