chapter  3
34 Pages

Helping Children With ASD rough Canine-Assisted Play erapy

Animal-assisted play therapy (AAPT) represents an integration of play therapy and animal-assisted therapy (AAT). It systematically involves nonhuman animals in the play therapy process in a variety of ways. AAPT has been de¨ned as “the involvement of animals in the context of play therapy, in which appropriately trained therapists and animals engage with children and families primarily through systematic play interventions, with the goal of improving the children’s developmental and psychosocial health as well as the animal’s well-being. Play and playfulness are essential ingredients of the interactions and the relationship” (VanFleet, 2008, p. 19). AAPT can be conducted with animals of several di®erent species as cotherapists, but the ¨eld has been developed most completely with dogs and horses (VanFleet & Faa- ompson, 2010).  e current contribution focuses speci¨cally on dogs, and the approach will heretofore be referred to as canine-assisted play therapy (CAPT). It should be noted that throughout this chapter the term animals will be used interchangeably with nonhuman animals for the sake of brevity.