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Animal-Assisted Activities and Therapies

Animal-assisted activities and therapies are a group of therapies that involve a person interacting with one or more animals.

For example, the person with autism may use an assistance dog, swim with or touch dolphins, learn to ride and groom a horse, or keep a pet hamster.

Different animal therapies are designed to achieve different aims. For example, the animal therapy may be designed to reduce fear of specific animals, teach responsibility and commitment, teach problem-solving and decision-making skills, improve language and social skills, or give the person with autism and his carers an enjoyable time.

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This glossary is designed to explain some of the jargon and gobbledygook used by some people when they talk about autism or research..

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The fact that an intervention is listed in this glossary does not necessarily mean that we agree with its use. Nor does it necessarily mean that there is any scientifically valid or reliable evidence behind it.