Date Approved

5-21-2019

Embargo Period

6-4-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. Special Education

Department

Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Accardo, Amy

Second Advisor

Kuder, Sydney J.

Third Advisor

Shuff, Midge

Subject(s)

Anxiety in children; Children with disabilities; Psychiatric service dogs in education

Disciplines

Special Education and Teaching

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of animal-assisted therapy on the anxiety and school attendance of students with disabilities in a middle school language and learning disabled classroom. A single subject design with ABAB phases was utilized. Students participated in animal-assisted therapy during the beginning of their science class period. The anxiety levels of student participants were assessed through the use of Ottawa-Georgia scales for stress across all baseline and intervention phases. Student attendance was tracked using a student roster attendance sheet during each day of the phases. In addition, students complete a Likert scale survey regarding their satisfaction with the use of animal-assisted therapy in the classroom. The results from this study suggest that student participation in animal-assisted therapy decreased student anxiety levels while increasing student attendance. Also, student participants indicated strong satisfaction with the use of animal-assisted therapy in the classroom.

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