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Animal-assisted interventions in educational settings: exploring the impact of the ‘Burns By Your Side’ reading with dogs scheme

Helen Lewis Orcid Logo, Odette Nicholas

The future of educational research in Wales

Swansea University Author: Helen Lewis Orcid Logo

Abstract

Poster presentation Research into animal-assisted interventions is a growing field of investigation. This poster reports on a project in which pupils interacted with trained ‘reading dogs’.Relationships with others are fundamental contributors to child and adolescent development. However, studies ar...

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Published in: The future of educational research in Wales
Published: Cardiff, UK BERA: The future of educational research in Wales 2018
Online Access: https://www.bera.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/BERAreadingdogsHLON.pdf?noredirect=1
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa50206
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Abstract: Poster presentation Research into animal-assisted interventions is a growing field of investigation. This poster reports on a project in which pupils interacted with trained ‘reading dogs’.Relationships with others are fundamental contributors to child and adolescent development. However, studies are largely limited to those examining relationships and interactions with humans (Purewal et al, 2017).This study explored the impact of interaction between pupils and dogs. All pupils enjoyed the sessions and impacted positively on enjoyment of reading for many pupils. Pupils’ social skills as well as their engagement with reading showed noticeable changes. For example, one school reported that ‘Our two children with a diagnosis of autism are willing to read with the dog, whilst they refuse to read in class. One has moved from being non-communicative to speaking in very simple sentences when with the dog. This is helping her to integrate with other children, and being the special person who reads to the dog has clearly made her feel special’.In early years settings social skills such as turn-taking were seen to improve in the presence of the dog, particularly during structured play activities, and pupils were motivated to write independently .
Keywords: animal assisted education, school dogs. additional learning needs, motivation, engagement
College: College of Arts and Humanities