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Dog-Assisted Therapy

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Our Dog-Assisted Therapy service uses highly trained dogs to deliver creative ways for children to achieve their therapy goals.

Children of all ages with a range of disabilities can benefit from Dog Assisted Therapy. This includes:

  • Autism
  • Global developmental delay
  • Intellectual or learning disability
  • Sensory impairment
  • Physical disability.

How does it work?

Our Occupational Therapist will work with you to identify suitable goals for Dog-Assisted Therapy. A session usually lasts one hour and involves the child, therapist, therapy dog and parents/caregivers.

The service is based around specific goals – generally lasting 6 sessions in duration.

In the initial session you and your child will be orientated to the service. Our therapists will work with you to set suitable goals for Dog-Assisted Therapy, and your child will be introduced to our trained therapy dog for the first time.

At the end of the program, goals are reviewed and you are provided with a summary report that can be shared with your child’s therapy team.

Goals and activities of Dog-Assisted Therapy

Goals and activities of Dog-Assisted Therapy include:

  • Motivation for children to engage in practice of skills (our dogs are used as a tool for engagement during sessions and incorporated into functional activities).
  • Gross and fine motor tasks (motor planning and sequencing, obstacle courses, writing)
  • Emotional regulation – providing a calming effect, during sessions, supporting emotional regulation strategies.
  • Social skills development (understanding body language and social cues, turn-taking, listening, waiting).
  • Self-care and care of others – dressing, feeding.
  • Play and language skills – communicating wants and needs through words or other means.
  • Pretend play – engaging the dog in imaginative play, role play, etc.

To find out more about Dog-Assisted Therapy, get in touch with us today. If you’re ready to get started, make a referral now.