Medical Reading

Animal-assisted Therapy For Persons With Aphasia: A Pilot Study

September 07, 2017

We explored the effectiveness of animal-assisted therapy (AAT) for poststroke aphasia. Three men received one semester of traditional therapy followed by another of AAT. While both therapies effectively met treatment goals, no significant differences existed between test results following traditional therapy and AAT. Results of a client-satisfaction questionnaire indicated the participants were motivated, enjoyed the therapy sessions more, and felt the atmosphere of the sessions was less stressful during AAT. An unexpected benefit included an increase in the number of spontaneous communicative initiations produced during sessions; the dog may act as a unique catalyst to motivate the client and provide an atmosphere of unconditional acceptance for disordered speech. By bringing animals into the therapy session, the sessions may be more pleasurable and less difficult.


JRRD tipsheet: Focus on stroke, pg. 357

Contact: Stacieanne Yuhasz
VA Research Communication

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