Our Dog Assisted Therapy program is one of very few offered in Western Australia. The 8 sessions are delivered out of our Victoria Park therapy rooms with a northern hub opening soon. The program has been designed to help children achieve their therapy goals across a number of areas including social participation, emotional regulation, gross and fine motor skills development, communications skills, pretend play, turn taking and self-care.
Contact our Dog Assisted Therapy Team
Therapy sessions are led by occupational therapists and use trained therapy dogs like Bazza.
Who can benefit?
Children of all ages with a range of therapy needs can benefit from Dog-Assisted Therapy. During the intake process and the initial session, our team will determine if the service is suitable for your child.
What is Dog Assisted Therapy?
A Dog-Assisted Therapy session usually lasts one hour and involves the child, therapist, therapy dog and parents or caregivers.
The service is based around specific goals with children attending a block of weekly therapy sessions. Our accredited dog trainer will also attend some sessions to assist our therapists as required.
In the initial session, you and your child will be orientated to the service. Our therapists will work with you to set suitable goals, 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
- 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 including motor planning and sequencing, obstacle courses, writing
- Emotional regulation through providing a calming effect during sessions, supporting emotional regulation strategies
- Social skills development by understanding body language and social cues, turn-taking, listening, waiting
- Self-care and care of others in particular learning skills including dressing and feeding
- Play and communication skills by encouraging children to communicate wants and needs through words or other means
- Pretend play namely through engaging the dog in imaginative play and role play.
Support for children with a fear of dogs
The Dog-Assisted Therapy program can also be helpful for children with a fear of dogs. A fear of dogs can stem from a bad experience or even an irrational fear without obvious cause. It can often have a severe impact on a child’s confidence in the community and effect the whole family. During the 8 week program, the OT uses one of our gentle therapy dogs and progresses from observing the dog from a distance to tolerating the dog in the room during activities and ultimately aims to progress to being calm and regulated out in the community with the therapy dog.
Our trained Therapy Dogs
Kites therapy dogs are trained in partnership with Guide Dogs WA (opens in a new window). Our highly accredited trainers ensure every therapy dog meets strict training standards, including the right temperament and working style, in order to become a Kites therapy dog.
To find out more about Dog-Assisted Therapy, get in touch with us today. If you’re ready to get started, make a referral today by completing the form here. Or complete the contact form below.