AAI: What is it?
The Canine Comprehension team dedicate their days to encourage children to enjoy learning. The ‘tools’ we use to motivate children are Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI) dogs.
Animal-assisted intervention, at its most basic, means including animals in therapeutic work with humans. Dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, rats, horses, donkeys, llamas, alpacas, pot-bellied pigs and birds can all be used in AAI work. There are many ways that animals can be included when working with humans, such as:
- in counseling,
- occupational therapy,
- disaster relief,
- to assist in learning life skills and social skills.
Research indicates that interaction with a therapy animal helps improve a client’s physical, mental, emotional and social state, which in turn helps them better engage and participate in the process of their treatment and recovery. The AAI often allows opportunities to build trust and stronger relationships between client and professional (or, in our case tutor and student).
When a professional incorporates an animal into their practice, they are using the animal to assist in achieving certain goals, for example, they may incorporate the use of a dog to explore and draw out issues confidence and anxiety around studying.
At Canine Comprehension we use the AAI dogs to in two main ways
- to create a positive, relaxed learning environment through dog play and interaction with the dog
- we teach students about dog training and tricks - by teaching kids to teach dogs tricks we are able to compare how we learn and how dogs learn, opening up the opportunities to discuss metacognition.
If you would like to know more about AAT, check out these websites or contact us :
- Lead The Way: www.ltw.com.au
- Therapy Animal Information: http://www.therapydoginfo.net/
- The Australian Network for the Development of Animal Assisted Therapies: http://www.andaat.org.au/