Friday Feature 7.21.2017
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The Center for START Services
The Many Benefits of Animal Therapy

The articles shared today expand on the potential benefits of animal therapy for individuals with IDD and mental health needs. The Center for START Services promotes the benefits of animal therapy and will share additional information at the 2018 SNTI in Boston, May 7 - 9.

Pictured Right: Dr. Beasley's son, Max, featured with the family dog, Izzy, in a Franciscan Children's Hospital advertisement for their animal-assisted activities and therapy program.
eParent | June 2017
STUDY: The Family Dog Could Help Boost Physical Activity For Kids With Disabilities

At the conclusion of the intervention, researchers re-assessed and found that the child’s quality of life had increased significantly in several areas, including emotional, social and physical health, as assessed by the child as well as the parent. In addition, the child’s sedentary behavior decreased and time spent on moderate to vigorous activity increased dramatically.

“The findings so far are very encouraging,” MacDonald said. “There’s a chance down the road we could be encouraging families to adopt a dog for the public health benefits. How cool would that be?”

Read the Full Article
DisabilityScoop | August 2016
Dog Ownership May Ease Stress In Autism Families
“While there‭ ‬is‭ ‬growing‭ ‬evidence that animal-assisted‭ ‬therapy‭ ‬can aid in the‭ ‬treatment‭ ‬of‭ children with ‬autism‭ ‬spectrum‭ ‬disorders, this study is one of the first to examine how‭ ‬pet‭ ‬dog‭ ‬ownership‭ ‬can also improve‭ ‬the‭ ‬lives‭ ‬of‭ ‬those‭ ‬more widely affected‭ ‬by‭ ‬autism,” said Daniel Mills, of the University of Lincoln in England who led the study. “Our results show that owning a pet dog (rather than a specifically trained assistance dog) can considerably improve the function of the whole family unit.”
> Read the Full Article
APA Blog | Dec 2016
Therapy Dogs: Helping Improve Lives of People with Mental Illness 

While many animals can provide therapeutic support, therapy dogs can be trained and certified to serve as an integral part of the mental health treatment process. >Read the Full Article
Center for Animal Welfare Science, Department of Comparative Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University
Animal-Assisted Intervention for trauma: a systematic literature review
Marguerite E. O’Haire*, Noémie A. Guérin and Alison C. Kirkham

Abstract: Animals have a long history of inclusion in psychiatric treatment. There has been a recent growth in the empirical study of this practice, known as Animal-Assisted Intervention (AAI). We conducted a systematic review of the empirical literature on AAI for trauma, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Ten studies qualified for inclusion, including six peer-reviewed journal articles and four unpublished theses. Participants were predominantly survivors of child abuse, in addition to military veterans. The presentation of AAI was highly variable across the studies. The most common animal species were dogs and horses. The most prevalent outcomes were reduced depression, PTSD symptoms, and anxiety. There was a low level of methodological rigor in most studies, indicating the preliminary nature of this area of investigation. We conclude that AAI may provide promise as a complementary treatment option for trauma, but that further research is essential to establish feasibility, efficacy, and manualizable protocols. > Read the Full Article
Thanks for reading and happy Friday,

The Center for START Services

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Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire