Animal Assisted Therapy
Benji – Benji is a Norfolk Terrier and by nature he is a gentle and friendly. Benji is an affectional, sociable dog and he has trained for his role. Benji and his role within school has been risk assessed. There are a number of key groups who could be identified to benefit from this type of therapy. Animal Assisted Dog therapy is particularly beneficial for those children who would benefit from improvement to their social and emotional well- being. They gain a sense of calm and well -being from being in the company of the animal whether or not there is any physical contact. The benefits are greater however, when physical contact is possible. This could be on an individual where the dog accompanies the child in their usual activities or offering comfort and support in sometimes stressful situations. A second group to benefit, would be those children with limited physical access to activities who could benefit emotionally from close physical contact with a calm, “snoozy” dog, prepared to curl up at their side.
Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) aims to improve a child’s social, emotional or cognitive functioning. Research in this area accepts that the relationship between companion animals and humans has a positive impact. It is suggested that if we see animals at rest or in a peaceful state, this may signal to us safety, security and feelings of well-being which in turn may trigger a state where personal change and healing are possible.