The animal-assisted services sector is made up of a range of different professionals who have animals working alongside them as a key part of their service delivery:
- Allied Health professionals deliver Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT)
- Educators, Coaches, Learning and Development professionals deliver Animal-Assisted Learning (AAL)
- Professional Animal Handler Teams who have been assessed as suitable for visits to workplaces, hospitals, aged care homes, places of study and other institutions deliver Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA)
- Professional Assistance Animal Trainers who satisfy certain standards required to train animals to help people with a disability better access public life deliver assistance animal training and or placement. (AA)
Animal Therapies Ltd (ATL) will be holding the next two-day Animal-Assisted Services Sector Conference on the 18 February – 19 February 2021 in Adelaide. This will be a unique opportunity to have recipients, practitioners, training organisations, government, allied health practitioners, the corporate sector and community health all in the one room learning about animal-assisted services and exploring how we can advance the sector to help more people in need.
The conference will be a great networking opportunity as well as an opportunity to hear Australia’s leading animal-assisted service professionals speak about their programs and how they are helping those in need.
Tell us here what you would like to see at our next conference.
If you are interested in attending, please subscribe to our updates on our home page.
Animal-Assisted Services may help with the prevention and management of mental illness, disease, disability and suffering for people of all ages, and in many settings.
These types of services are goal-directed programs designed to promote improvement in people with intellectual, physical, sensory, cognitive and psychosocial conditions in which a specially trained animal-handler team is an integral part. It is directed and/or delivered by a practitioner with specialized expertise within the scope of practice of his/her profession.
Treatment can take several forms and may be group or individual in nature. There are different types of animal-assisted services and it’s important to note the distinctions.
Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) is directed and/or delivered by a qualified allied health professional with education and specialized expertise within the scope of practice of his/her profession. These professionals may or may not be Medicare Registered. AAT may be provided in a variety of settings, may be group or individual in nature and may be implemented for persons of any age. There are specific goals for each individual involved and the process is documented and evaluated.
Animal-Assisted Learning (AAL) involves an animal and a facilitator in an ‘experiential’ learning environment to assist an individual or group develop skills, tools and strategies to achieve a predetermined goal. AAL practitioners are trained in their field of expertise to facilitate specific learning outcomes. Can include corporate coaching, leadership, team building, personal development and self management.
Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA) consists of therapeutic animal visits by a trained handler / animal team to people in workplaces, hospitals, aged care facilities, schools, universities and other institutions to alleviate stress, boost morale, contribute to wellbeing, provide a distraction for pain management and to provide therapeutic relief. These visits are therapeutic in nature and handlers may be volunteers who do not hold any specific professional qualification.
Assistance Animals (often dogs “AD”) are trained to perform one or more tasks to help their handler better access public life and manage their condition such as physical impairment, diabetes, eye disease, hearing and vision impairment, seizures, asthma, life threatening allergies, people who experience episodic and serious medical crises (e.g. epilepsy, changes in blood pressure or blood sugar); and people with psychosocial conditions such as PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal ideology and other psychological conditions.
Assistance animals have a legal right to access public places and are not to be patted or distracted as they are working animals. They support people in accessing various aspects of personal and public life. They can be trained in tasks to alert their handler of an oncoming medical episode or to assist with everyday tasks. An assistance animal must meet standards of hygiene and behaviour that are appropriate for an animal in a public place. Please do not ask the handler of an assistance animal about their condition.