An intervention can be classed as animal assistance intervention or therapy animal intervention.
It is a targeted intervention to promote the improvement of the physical, social, emotional and / or cognitive functioning of the person or persons involved and is supervised by a specially trained team of animals and handlers. The handler or therapy animal counsellor ® is a trained professional. You can apply to train as a Therapy animal counsellor ® at any age.
An animal will be certified to work as a Therapy animal after the necessary behavioural tests, training and medical examinations.
The field of Animal Assisted Education (AAE) and Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) cover these types of interventions.
Specific objectives are involved for each individual and the process is documented and evaluated.
An intervention can also be less focused, more casual or spontaneous. This type of intervention is intended to promote a number of benefits other than therapeutic or educational benefits and to improve the quality of life. The field of Animal Assisted activities (AAA) relates to this type of animal assisted interventions.
There are 3/4 wide areas:
- Animal Assisted Therapy
- Animal Assisted Education
- Animal Assisted Activity
- (Animal Support)
Animal assistance therapy (AAT – Animal Assisted Therapy) is targeted to promote the improvement of the physical, social, emotional and / or cognitive functioning of the person or persons involved. Specific objectives are involved for each individual and the process is documented and evaluated. The handler or therapy animal counsellor ® is a trained professional.
Animal assisted education (AAE Animal Assisted Education) is targeted and designed to promote the improvement of cognitive functioning as part of an educational process.
Specific objectives are involved for each individual and the process is documented and evaluated. The handler or therapy animal counsellor ® is a trained professional.
An animal-supported activity (AAA-Animal Assisted Activity) is less focused and the activity can be for groups or individuals. The AAA practitioners and / or animal handlers are all specially trained by an organization and meet minimum required standards.
AS or Animal Support is not a real intervention but a support to train (therapy) animals and their supervisors or handlers.
A great deal of scientific research has been published (especially in English) about the impact of therapy animals.
Interesting articles that support these effects are:
For dementia a pilot project investigation: https://www.innovatiekringdementie.nl/a-1660/therapie-met- dieren-de-dementiehond
Animals in care institutions:
On our own site: https://therapiedier.be/van-knuffelhond-tot-assistent/ en https://www.toscanzahoeve.be/therapiehonden-op-bezoek/ en https://therapiedier.be/wat-is -a therapy animal/
Below are various studies and literature.
About assistance dogs: https://therapiedier.be/master-thesis-hulphonden/
About Alzheimer’s: https://therapiedier.be/een-hond-als-therapeut-voor-mensen-met-alzheimer-3/
It is important to follow legislation and guidelines in the context of therapeutic work.
For therapy animals there is no legislation yet, except that the MAG test is requested to show that the animal is suitable and has a stable temperament, this is for insurance purposes.
The MAG test can be carried out by our specialized behavioural assessors:
Other possible guidelines
There is legislation covering Assistance dogs.
Legislation assistance dogs: https://www.badf.be/NL/faqNL.html
In America, nearly all institutions, schools, hospitals and residential care centres have a therapy animal. We still have a long way to go, especially in hospitals.
A Belgian hospital that already works with therapy animals and pet visits: https://sites.google.com/villasamson.be/www-villasamson-be/
Are you interested in following a training course to become a therapy animal handler or trainer? Contact us at Toscanzahoeve
If you are interested the Flemish government has budgets, the PVB and the PAB.
The personal budget (PVB) is a tailor-made budget that allows you to purchase adult care and support within your own network, from volunteers, individual counsellors, and professional care providers and from care providers licensed by VAPH.
The personal assistance budget varies between 10,192.32 and 47,564.15 euros on an annual basis. These are the amounts for 2019. These amounts are adjusted to the index once a year.
The amount of the personal assistance budget depends on the nature and severity of the disability, the living situation, etc.
There are five budget categories. Differentiation is still possible within a budget category. For example, the basic amounts per budget category can be increased or decreased with a “budget bracket”, depending on aggravating or mitigating factors.
More info: https://www.vaph.be/personlijke-budgetten/pab/bedragen