Definitions (IAHAIO whitepaper):

What is animal assisted interventions - AAI?

An Animal Assisted Intervention is a goal oriented and structured intervention that intentionally includes or incorporates animals in health, education and human services (e.g., social work) for the purpose of therapeutic gains in humans. It involves people with knowledge of the people and animals involved. Animal assisted interventions incorporate human-animal teams in formal human services such as Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT), Animal Assisted Education (AAE) or under certain conditions Animal Assisted Activity (AAA). Such interventions should be developed and implemented using an interdisciplinary approach.

 

AAA - Animal Assisted Activities

AAA is a planned and goal oriented informal interaction and visitation conducted by the human-animal team for motivational, educational and recreational purposes. Human-animal teams must have received at least introductory training, preparation and assessment to participate in informal visitations. Human-animal teams who provide AAA may also work formally and directly with a healthcare, educator and/or human service provider on specific documentable goals. In this case they are participating in AAT or AAE that is conducted by a specialist in his/her profession. Examples of AAA include animal assisted crisis response that focuses on providing comfort and support for trauma, crisis and disaster survivors, and visiting companion animals for ‘meet and greet’ activities with residents in nursing homes. The person delivering AAA must have adequate knowledge about the behavior, needs, health and indicators of stress of the animals involved.

AAE - Animal Assisted Education (or Animal Assisted Pedagogy):

Animal Assisted Education (AAE) is a goal oriented, planned and structured intervention directed and/or delivered by educational and related service professionals. AAE is conducted by qualified (with degree) general and special education teachers. An example of AAE delivered by a regular education teacher is an educational visit that promotes responsible pet ownership. AAE, when done by special (remedial) education teachers is also considered therapeutic and a goal oriented intervention. The focus of the activities is on academic goals, pro-social skills and cognitive functioning. The student’s progress is measured and documented. An example of AAE delivered by a special education teacher is a dog-assisted reading program. The professional delivering AAE, including regular school teachers (or the person handling the animal under the supervision of the education professional) must have adequate knowledge about the behavior, needs, health and indicators and regulation of stress of the animals involved.

AAT - Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT):

Animal Assisted Therapy is a goal oriented, planned and structured therapeutic intervention directed and/or delivered by health, education and human service professionals. Intervention progress is measured and included in professional documentation. AAT is delivered and/or directed by a formally trained (with active licensure, degree or equivalent) professional with expertise within the scope of the professionals’ practice. AAT focuses on enhancing physical, cognitive, behavioral and/or socio-emotional functioning of the particular human recipient. The professional delivering AAT (or the person handling the animal under the supervision of the human service professional) must have adequate knowledge about the behavior, needs, health and indicators and regulation of stress of the animals involved.

AAC - Animal Assisted Coaching (AAC):

Animal Assisted Coaching is a goal oriented, planned and structured animal assisted intervention directed and/or delivered by professionals licensed as coaches. Intervention progress is measured and included in professional documentation. AAC is delivered and/or directed by a formally trained (with active licensure, degree or equivalent) professional coach with expertise within the scope of the professionals’ practice. AAC focuses on enhancing personal growth of the recipient, on insight and enhancement of groups processes, or on social skills and/or socio-emotional functioning of the coachee (s). The coach delivering AAC (or the person handling the animal under the supervision of the coach) must have adequate training about the behavior, needs, health and indicators and regulation of stress of the animals involved.

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IAHAIO WHITE PAPER


2014, updated for 2018
 

The IAHAIO Definitions for Animal assisted interventions and guidelines for wellness of animals involvd in AAI 

IAHAIO WHITE PAPER