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Animal Therapies As a Treatment for Autism

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Title: Animal Therapies As a Treatment for Autism


1
Animal Therapies As a Treatment for Autism
  • Caldwell College
  • Assessing Effective Treatment for Children With
    Autism
  • Nicola Schneider Karen Martin
  • October 30, 2007

2
Dolphin Assisted Therapy (DAT)
3
BackgroundJohn C. Lilly
  • 1921-2001
  • Led Study of Communication with Dolphins
  • Trained in medicine, psychoanalysis biophysics
  • A neuroscientist writer
  • Explored human consciousness, dolphin
    communication the borders of reality
  • Career shifted between research published in
    scientific journals speculation and
    self-experimentation

4
John C. Lilly
  • Pioneered work probing electrical activity in the
    brain the behavior of dolphins
  • Experimented with hallucinogenic drugs
  • Promoted recreational use of the isolation tank
  • His work inspired movies Day of the Dolphins
    (1973) Altered States (1980)

5
Background
  • Lilly suggested dolphins could help humans learn
    to communicate better with one another
  • 1960s first formulated idea that human
    interaction with dolphins may be beneficial
  • DAT began in the 1970s

6
Background
  • Lillys ideas were extended in the 1970s
  • Researchers examined effects that interacting
    with dolphins appeared to have on children with
    neurological impairments
  • Procedure developed by David Nathanson

7
David Nathanson
  • Clinical psychologist
  • Founder president of Dolphin Human Therapy
    (DHT)
  • Founded this private company in 1989
  • Dolphin Human Therapy located in Miami, Florida

8
David Nathanson
  • DHT commonly used with children diagnosed with
    non-specific brain damage, cerebral palsy, Down
    Syndrome autism Rett Syndrome
  • Over 2,300 clients from 39 states 54 countries
  • Over 30,000 individualized dolphin assisted
    therapy sessions conducted
  • By 1998, the waiting list was 7 years long

9
David Nathanson
  • Cost of Dolphin Human Therapy as of February 2007
    reported to be
  • 7,500 for two weeks of therapy (5 days per
    week, 40 minutes per day)
  • 11,250 for three weeks (5 days per week, 40
    minutes per day)

10
Costs of Other DAT Programs
  • 2600 for five 40 minute sessions
    http//skepdic.com/dat.html (typical program)
  • 500 for each individual therapy session
  • www.livingfromtheheart.org/therapy.html
    (Mexico)

11
Costs of Other DAT Programs
  • 1000 for five private sessions over 1 or 2 days
    including a testimonial DVD
  • www.vallarta-adventures.com/dolphins/dolphin-a
    ssisted.html (Mexico)
  • 1000 consisting of 8 seances during 2
    weekswww.dolphintherapy.ru/en/pricez.shtml
    (Turkey)

12
Claims
  • As popularity of DAT has grown, claims as to its
    therapeutic benefits have also grown
  • Facilities in U.S., Mexico, Israel, Russia,
    Japan, China, and the Bahamas
  • Popular choice for illness, disability, and
    psychopathology in children adults

13
Claims
  • DAT can effectively improve
  • - language
  • - behavior
  • - cognitive processing
  • - attention
  • - motivation to learn
  • - certain medical conditions
  • (Lukina, 1999 Servais, 1999)

14
Claims
  • Effective in treating the following
  • - Autism (Hank Truby, Betsy Smith, Robert
    Nathanson)
  • - Joint problems (various reports)
  • - Downs syndrome (Nathanson)
  • - Depression (Horace Dobbs, Operation
    Sunflower)
  • - Cerebral Palsy (Nathanson, Dolphin Research
    Center)

15
Claims
  • - Improved learning Children can learn 2-10
    times faster around dolphins (Nathanson)
  • - Angina (Roxanne Kremer)
  • - Acoustic zap of a tumor
  • - Microcephaly
  • - Dreamer dolphin fixes a neck
  • - Restoration of partial vision loss

16
Testimonials
  • Video http//www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/wisdom/dolp
    hin.html
  • Dreamer Dolphin Pod Relieve Angina
  • Improvement of Mental Age in Cerebral Palsy

17
DAT Theories
  • Sonar ability identifies neurological disorders
    in individuals then helps them relax and open
    up to learning and healing (Dolphin Therapy
    Recreation or Medicine?)

18
DAT Theories
  • Telepathic experiences with dolphins lead to
    telepathic connections with autistic children
    which help improve the childrens functioning
    communication. (Dolphins, Therapy Autism)

19
DAT Theories
  • Autistic people are systemizing dolphins
    show great empathy and care, expecially with
    children. (Dolphins, Therapy Autism)
  • Strong empathetic dolphins help balance autistic
    patterns. (Dolphins, Therapy Autism)

20
Description of DAT
  • Practiced under the name of Dolphin Human Therapy
  • Procedure developed by David Nathanson
  • Based on Nathansons theory

21
Nathansons Theory
  • Children with disabilities will increase their
    attention to relevant stimuli in the environment
    as a result of their desire to interact with
    dolphins
  • Interaction with dolphins is used as a reward or
    reinforcer for correct responses

22
Nathansons Theory
  • Key to learning increase sensory attention so
    that increased learning will occur
  • General purpose of DHT - motivational

23
Dolphin Human Therapy
  • Purpose to encourage children to engage in
    desired responses in accordance with childs
    individualized therapy program
  • (Nathanson, 1998 Nathanson, de Castro,
    Friend, McMahon, 1997 Nathanson de Faria,
    1993)
  • Designed to jump start the child to
    complement or reinforce other more traditional,
    therapeutic procedures
  • (Nathanson, 1998)

24
Dolphin Mechanisms Capabilities
  • Resonance frequency of dolphins sound causes
    water to vibrate ( become warm)
  • Entrainment a synchronization of two or more
    rhythmic cycles
  • - Our bodies tend to match frequency of signals
    (sound, light or electrical)
  • - EEG of humans reduced in frequency
    increased in power after swimming with free
    dolphins

25
Dolphin Mechanisms Capabilities
  • High frequency sounds made by dolphins can cause
    same effects as a medical ultrasound
  • Ultrasound causes improved healing of bone
    fractures and non-unions and improves healing of
    soft tissue injuries

26
Procedure Materials
  • DAT consists of
  • - defining a treatment goal for the child
  • - (e.g., completing a fine or gross motor task
    or producing a language behavior)
  • Materials
  • - objects used to elicit a response
  • - (e.g., rubber balls or rings or flash cards)

27
Procedures
  • On-dock orientation consists of
  • Child therapist sit on edge of floating dock
  • Dolphin trainer controls movements of dolphins
  • Children able to touch or give hand signals to
    dolphins to elicit responses

28
Procedures
  • Therapeutic sessions may include
  • Child interacting with dolphin from dock or in
    the water after giving a correct response
  • Interactions with dolphins may include touching,
    kissing, taking a short ride holding onto the
    dolphins dorsal fin, etc.
  • The child therapist then return to therapeutic
    task

29
A Week in the Life of DHT
  • Monday Day 1
  • -Focus is on orientation
  • -Children become familiar with dolphins,
    therapists surroundings
  • -20 min. session with therapist child on
    platform
  • -Orientation meeting with parents about
    therapy sessions, expectations, insurance,
    restaurant locations additional DHT activities

30
A Week in the Life of DHT
  • Tuesday - Day 2
  • -40 min. session
  • -All work takes place on platform or in the
    water
  • -Childs reward takes place in water with the
    dolphins

31
A Week in the Life of DHT
  • Wednesday Day 3
  • -40 min. session and in-water with the
    dolphins
  • -Dr. Nathanson meets with each family
    individually off site to discuss therapy,
    insurance, and their childs progress
  • -Optional parent meeting held with all
    parents. Parent meeting allows parents to
    interact with each other

32
A Week in the Life of DHT
  • Thursday Day 4
  • -40 min. sessions and in-water with the
    dolphins
  • Friday Day 5
  • -Last day of therapy for one week program
  • -40 min. session and in water with the
    dolphins

33
Intervention for Young Effectiveness of DAT as a
Behavioral Children with Disabilities
  • Tracy L. Humphries Ph.D.
  • Research synthesis focusing on effectiveness of
    DAT for improving cognitive, physical, or
    social-emotional behaviors of young children with
    disabilities

34
Humphries Research Synthesis
  • Interactions with dolphins as reinforcement for
    childrens correct responses to different
    therapeutic tasks
  • Selection criteria
  • - Studies included children with
    disabilities under the age of six
  • - Practice characteristics included
  • - Outcomes of the practice had to be
    described

35
Studies Reviewed
  • Six studies met the selection criteria
  • Lukina, 1999
  • Nathanson, 1989
  • Nathanson, 1998
  • Nathanson et al., 1997
  • Nathanson de Faria, 1993
  • Servais, 1999

36
Participants Major Findings
  • Table 1Selected Characteristics of the Study
    Participants
  • Table 2Major Findings and Outcomes Reported by
    Investigators
  • Table 3Major Study Findings and Threats to
    Validity
  • http//www.altonweb.com/cs/downsyndrome/index.htm?
    pagehumphries.html

37
Rival Explanations
  • Limited data
  • - 3 studies by Nathanson presented only
    limited pretest/posttest results
  • - 4 investigators claimed DAT maintained
    childrens attention in 3 of these studies by
    Nathanson no data was provided or collected

38
Rival Explanations
  • Limited data reported
  • - No studies provided data on generalization
    of effects of DAT over time or settings
  • - Lukina reported many outcomes collected
    data but data collection procedures were not
    described or presented in a useful way

39
Rival Explanations
  • Threats to research designs
  • - no measures used to assess outcomes were
    standardized
  • - Servais (1999), who used a control group,
    stated that procedures used were not
    well-controlled and validity was compromised

40
Rival Explanations
  • Threats to research designs
  • - 4 studies used a one-group pretest/posttest
    design
  • - one study used a one-group posttest only
    design
  • - several of the studies took place over
    several months

41
Rival Explanations
  • Other possible threats
  • - Investigator bias
  • - Respondent bias
  • - Novelty excitement of encountering
    dolphins
  • - Children receiving other therapies
  • - Water immersion

42
Conclusion
  • No scientific studies of animal therapy for
    individuals with autistic spectrum disorder
    (Association for Science in Autism Treatment)
  • No credible scientific evidence for the
    effectiveness of DAT (Humphries)
  • Studies reviewed are flawed plagued by threats
    to validity or alternative explanations (Marino
    Lilienfeld)

43
Implications
  • Further research needed
  • Research design using appropriate sample size
    that compares DAT to alternative interventions
    that are just as novel and interesting to
    children
  • Research needs to be better controlled for
    confounds

44
Questions Comments
45
References
  • Animal Therapy. Retrieved on 10/25/07, from
    http//www.asatonline.org/resources/treatments/ani
    mal.htm
  • Dolphin Human Therapy. Retrieved on 10/24/07,
    from http//www.dolphinscove.com/dolphin-human-the
    rapy.htm
  • Dolphin Human Therapy A Professional Association
    Dedicated to Helping Disabled Children. Retrieved
    on 10/24/07, from http//www.aquathought.com/idatr
    a/symposium/95/nathason.html
  • Dolphin Human Therapy and Down Syndrome
    Abstracts. Retrieved on 10/22/07, from
    http//altonweb.com/cs/downsyndrome/dolphinab.html
  • Dolphin Human Therapy Research. Retrieved on
    10/24/07, from http//www.aquathought.com/idatra/s
    ymposium/96/nathan.html

46
References
  • Dolphins, Therapy Autism. Retrieved on 9/19/07,
    from http//planetpuna.com/dolphin-paper/Dolphin-P
    aper.html
  • Dolphin Therapy Recreation or Medicine (1998).
    Retrieved on 10/24/07, from http//www.cnn.com/HEA
    LTH/9803/28/dolphin.therapy/index.html
  • Effectiveness of Dolphin-Assisted Therapy as a
    Behavioral Intervention for Young Children with
    Disabilities (2003). Retrieved on 10/22/07, from
    http//www.altonweb.com/cs/downsyndrome/humphries.
    html
  • Interview with John Lilly. Retrieved on 10/22/07,
    from http//levity.com/mavericks/lilly2.htm

47
References
  • John C. Lilly Dies at 86 Led Study of
    Communication with Dolphins. (10/7/01) Retrieved
    on 10/22/07, from http//query.nytimes.com/gst/ful
    lpage.html?res9503EEDC123CF934A35753C1
  • Marino, L. and Lilienfeld, Scott O. 2007. Dolphin
    assisted therapy more flawed data and more
    flawed conclusions. Anthrozoos 20 239-240.
  • The Healing of Gentle Giants. Retrieved on
    10/24/07, from http//www.manyhands.com/articles/s
    tory.cfm?id_no22700102006

48
Hippotherapy
49
What is Hippotherapy?
  • treatment with the help of the horse

Greek Root Hippo-/Hipp- horse
? ? G ? ? ? ? T ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? S ? ? F ? ? O
50
History of Hippotherapy
  • Before 1900 460-377 B.C. - Hippocrates
  • 1569 - Merkurialis of Italy
  • 1780 - Tissot of France in his book 'Medical and
    Surgical Gymnastics'
  • Since 1900
  • 1952 at the Helsinki Olympics
  • 1960's therapeutic riding centers
  • 1960's the horse views
  • 1969 North American Riding for the Handicapped
    Association (NARHA)
  • 1970's physical therapists
  • 1987 a group of 18 American and Canadian
    therapists went to Germany to study hippotherapy
  • 1988-1992 National hippotherapy curriculum
    Development Committee.
  • 1992 American Hippotherapy Association.
  • 1993 The American Hippotherapy Association
  • 1994 AHA Inc.
  • 1999 American Hippotherapy Certification Board
  • 1999 first Hippotherapy Clinical Specialists
    (HPCS) examination

51
Who does it help?
  • People suffering from
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Developmental delays
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Strokes
  • Autism
  • Learning or language disabilities

52
What is hippotherapy?
  • Integrated intervention program paired with
  • P.T.
  • O.T.
  • S.L.P.
  • Using the movement of the horse to
  • assist in motor planning
  • increase sensory input
  • help in posture control

53
The Therapists Role
  • Physical Therapists
  • Integrate multiple motor tasks in conjunction
    with the horse's movement to
  • address motor needs of each patient
  • promote functional outcomes in gross motor
    ability such as sitting, standing, and walking.
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Combine equine movement with other standard
    intervention strategies for
  • fine motor control
  • sensory integration
  • feeding skills
  • attentional skills
  • activities of daily living
  • Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Use equine movement to facilitate the physiologic
    systems that support speech and language.
  • combined with standard speech-language
    intervention strategies
  • speech-language pathologist can form strategies
    foe communication disorders and enhance
    functional communication

54
The Horses Movement
  • Motor planning
  • Adjust body position to horses gait
  • Gait of horse similar to human
  • Sensory Input
  • Vestibular
  • Proprioceptive
  • Tactile
  • Visual channels.
  • Posture Control
  • Trunk strength and control
  • Balance
  • Endurance
  • Weight bearing

55
What does Motor Planning, Sensory Input, and
Posture Control help to do?
  • Coordination
  • Timing
  • Grading of responses
  • Respiratory control
  • Sensory integration skills
  • Attentional skills
  • Support activities of daily living

56
Who implements hippotherapy?
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Physical Therapists
  • Speech-Language Pathologists
  • HPCS Hippotherapy Clinical Specialist
  • AHCB Board Certification in Hippotherapy.
  • Hippotherapy Clinical Specialists names are
    followed by 'HPCS'
  • Level II Therapist - A therapist who has
  • completed Level I and II AHA Approved Workshops
    who
  • demonstrates clinical problem solving with
    respect to clinical reasoning from the
    Hippotherapy Conceptual Framework and application
    of the Disablement Model.
  • Level I Therapist - A therapist who has
  • completed the AHA Approved Level I Workshop who
    has gained the
  • basic knowledge of the horse's movement and its
    application to patients with neuromuscular
    disorders
  • knowledge of horse and patient selection,
    evaluation, treatment planning, and business
    aspects

57
How does it work?
Horse manipulates the client
Therapist directs the horses movement
Client responds to horses movement
Therapist analyzes and adjusts treatment
58
Claims
  • Can improve
  • muscle tone
  • Balance
  • posture
  • coordination
  • motivation
  • motor development
  • mobility
  • emotional well-being

May affect psychological, cognitive, behavioral
and communication functions.
59
Testimonials
60
Olivia Whitefield, a speech language pathologist
at The Texas Tech Therapeutic Riding Center
  • "That helps those patients who haven't walked
    before or, in the case of stroke victims, have
    forgotten how to walk," said "Sometimes we turn
    them backwards on the horse with their hands on
    the horse's rump," Whitefield said. "The movement
    of the horse's walk provides stimulation through
    the hands, arms and up into the face. It
    stimulates the oral and facial musculature."

61
Estevan
  • The world outside one's own home can be a cruel
    reminder that the disabled continue to have a
    hard time fitting in. Hippotherapy is more
    effective than traditional therapies because
    horses have a unique ability to motivate children
    to try new things. The therapy team is also
    instrumental in tailoring the program to meet a
    child's particular needs. Fear is a looming
    threat -- Fear of exclusion fear of
    disappointment, fear of failure fear of pain
    fear of risk taking and fear of the unknown.
    Hippotherapy provides a safe, supportive
    environment in which Estevan and us (his parents)
    can let go of some of our fears. Hippotherapy
    gives Estevan 'Joie de Vivre', Joy of living.
    Estevan is, in a word, Joyful.

62
Victoria
  • "Hippotherapy has improved Victoria's balance.
    After hippotherapy her muscles are more relaxed.
    The hippotherapy has given her much more
    confidence. Victoria was afraid of animals when
    she started and now loves horses as well as
    interacting with other animals. She enjoys the
    entire experience at NCEFT the riding, the other
    activities, caring for and brushing the horses,
    the stables, etcHippotherapy has also helped
    Victoria's concentration and attention. This
    means more confidence and joy. What is different
    and so impressive about hippotherapy is its
    uniqueness. Our daughter does not show pictures
    of her other therapies or laugh and talk about
    them. Hippotherapy gives our daughter a unique
    experience to be proud of. It is the most
    important and beneficial therapy of the week.
    Victoria cannot do what her peers can in almost
    any way. With hippotherapy now she can do
    something that none of her peers ever think about
    trying. It is something she can be very proud of
    and others marvel at. Right now, Victoria's
    proudest possession is the little trophy
    presented to her by NCEFT for a job well done!"

63
Evidence
  • There was no researched based evidence to support
    the claims made.

64
References
  • American Hippotherapy Association. Retrieved on
    10/14/07, from http//www.americanhippotherapyasso
    ciation.org/
  • Ride On Therapeutic Horsemanship. Retrieved on
    10/20/07, from http//www.rideon.org/what_is_hippo
    therapy.htm
  • Therapeutic Riding Program American Hippotherapy
    Association. Retrieved on 10/14/07, from
    http//www.americanequestrian.com/hippotherapy.htm
  • The Daily Toreador Hippotherapy treatment
    assists with serious medical conditions.
    Retrieved on 10/21/07, from http//media.www.daily
    toreador.com/media/storage/paper870/news/2007/09/2
    0/News/Hippotherapy.Treatment.Assists.With.Serious
    .Medical.Conditions-2979450.shtml

65
Questions?
Comments?
Concerns?
66
How do you feel about Animal Therapy?
  • Claims
  • Historical Perspectives
  • Evidence
  • Testimonials
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