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Dolphin Therapy and Autism Ranking: Mildly Hazardous Insufficient/Mixed evidence

Future Research

Summary of Existing Research

-    Individual studies

There is a very small amount of low quality research (two group studies and seven single case design studies with 3 or more participants) into the use of dolphin therapy as an intervention for people on the autism spectrum.

Because the quality of that research is so poor we cannot determine whether dolphin therapy is likely to provide any benefits to anyone on the autism spectrum. We must wait for further research of sufficiently high quality to be completed.

-    Research Reviews

There have been a number of research reviews into the use of dolphin therapy. All of the reviews we have identified have concluded that the quality of the existing research base is so poor that it is not possible to determine whether dolphin therapy is likely to provide any benefits to anyone on the autism spectrum.

Recommendations for Future Research

If more research into dolphin therapy is carried out, it should use scientifically robust, experimental methodologies.

However, given the high costs of the therapy, alongside the potential hazards to humans and dolphins, this intervention should not be considered as a priority for future research.

Updated
18 Dec 2017
Last Review
01 Nov 2017
Next Review
01 Nov 2020