Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. Special Education


Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education


College of Education

First Advisor

Accardo, Amy

Second Advisor

Kuder, Sydney J.

Third Advisor

Shuff, Midge


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


Special Education and Teaching


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.