Moveable Kids is proud to offer a unique and innovate physiotherapy service for children and adults with disabilities known as Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT). AAT is type of therapeutic intervention whereby an animal is used to assist the client achieve specific therapeutic goals. AAT is offered by a physiotherapist trained to use a dog to assist the client to achieve movement related goals such as rolling over, sitting, standing or walking.
Scientific research has shown that interaction with an animal can provide positive physical and emotional benefits. It can reduce stress levels and invoke a sense of well-being. AAT provides additional benefits by acting as a catalyst to motivate the client to participate in therapy and achieve their own personal goals. For example, a child will happily take a dog for a walk when the goal of learning to walk may be a difficult and painful process.
Among the benefits of AAT are the ways it helps children and adults to:
- Get up, move, walk, play and interact
- Want to come to therapy sessions
- Improve their enjoyment and positivity of therapy
- Forget their discomfort or pain
- Do things that they may struggle with
Who can benefit from AAT
AAT is suitable for many children and adults as long as they are not allergic to dogs, do not have any serious dog fears or phobias, and are not significantly immuno-compromised. AAT can be incorporated into a treatment plan at the discretion of the physiotherapist and after discussion of its benefits and risks with the patient/caregiver and their express consent.
Max can help clients achieve their goals in many different ways. These are a few examples:
- Louis, who was rehabilitating from a fractured ankle, tolerated the discomfort of learning to put weight on his ankle again by brushing and patting Max whilst doing his exercises.
- Maddie, a young girl with cerebral palsy was motivated to lean to walk upstairs because she wanted to give Max a treat. Max was waiting expectantly at the top of the stairs for her.
- Tom, a young boy with autism, enjoyed learning new gross motor skills by following Max through a specifically designed obstacle course.
Max is an adorable male Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, a breed well known for their affectionate and happy nature. Max loves playing chasey, going for walks and receiving cuddles. Max and Tammie have completed a five-day intensive training course through Therapy Dogs Australia certifying them as a therapy dog team. As part of his training, Max participated in high-level obedience and good behavior shaping making him suitable for therapy dog work.