Animal-Assisted Activities for Students with Disabilities: Obtaining Stakeholders’ Approval and Planning Strategies for Teachers
Animal-human interactions have been found to have positive influences on children across the world. In particular, research supports the benefits of animal-assisted activities in addressing students' social and behavioral problems within the classroom environment. The general information about animal-assisted activities provided in this article can help teachers identify key steps in effectively using such activities to teach socially important behaviors to children with learning disabilities, emotional and behavioral disorders, and autism. The author explains that the effectiveness of animals in classrooms is dependent on strong administrative, parental, and collegial support; clear and measurable goals; well-developed instructional plans; an appropriate animal choice; well-developed health and safety procedures; and systematic plans for monitoring progress in student performance.