Policy framework for the use of therapy dogs in educational settings

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    Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) is increasingly being used in educational contexts such as in primary and secondary schools and in universities across Australia. Therapy animals can include birds, dolphins, cats, and lizards, though the most commonly used are dogs. Therapy dogs can be used in a range of ways to help improve an individual’s social, cognitive, and emotional functioning. However, AAT is often implemented without best practice processes and structures in place, which can leave it open to misuse and misunderstanding by those who provide AAT as well as by the wider school community. This chapter will provide a practical evidence and research-informed policy framework to support the effective implementation of therapy dogs at school. This framework can be used within a school’s existing overall wellbeing policy where therapy dogs are not a program that occurs on the side but rather part of a school-wide approach. The policy framework for the use of therapy dogs in educational settings applies to current students, teachers, staff, school leaders, and parents and is readily adaptable to most contexts.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationBuilding Better Schools with Evidence-based Policy
    Subtitle of host publicationAdaptable Policy for Teachers and School Leaders
    EditorsKelly-Ann Allen, Andrea Reupert, Lindsay Oades
    Place of PublicationAbingdon UK
    Number of pages9
    ISBN (Electronic)9781003025955
    ISBN (Print)9780367458874, 9780367458898
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


    • Policy guidelines
    • Therapy dogs
    • Education
    • School

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