Virginia AHPERD_Winter2022

Functional Skills Assessment CARPs have roots both in the healthcare field led by therapists or providers (Bassette & Taber-Doughty, 2016; Lewis, 2017; Perkins, 2017; Rincón et al., 2019; Schuck et al., 2015; Shaw, 2013; Uccheddu et al., 2019) as well as in education led by teach ers (Bassette & Taber-Doughty, 2016; Beck, 2015; Fitch, 2017; Hall et al, 2016; Kirnan et al., 2015; Lane & Zavada, 2013; Le Roux et al., 2014; Lewis, 2017; Perkins, 2017; Shaw, 2013). Re gardless of field, it is important for CARP facilitators to utilize standardized assessment tools to measure student progress and growth. For example, Schuck et al., (2015) utilized health-based assessment tools including ADHD and social skills improvement rating scales. Whereas Kirnan et al. (2015) utilized Northwest Evaluation Association’s Measures of Academic Progress to de termine reading skills. Environment The environment can be vitally important to student success in CARP. The most common setting found in this literature review is a classroom allocated solely for participant-canine interaction. This helps in avoiding outside distractions or disruptions found in typical classrooms or treatment rooms (Bassette & Taber Doughty, 2016; Beck, 2015; Fitch, 2017; Hall et al, 2016; Kirnan et al., 2015; Lane & Zavada, 2013; Le Roux et al., 2014; Lewis, 2017; Perkins, 2017; Shaw, 2013). Libraries are also common ly utilized due to the quiet and peaceful environment typically found in this setting (Hall et al., 2016; Kirnan et al., 2015; Lane & Zavada, 2013). While other settings were utilized in some studies, the evidence points to utilizing a space allocated for the sole purpose of the CARP away from the primary classroom. Resources & Safety In any circumstance that involves animals and children, health and safety must be of paramount concern and every effort made to maintain the wellness of all involved. It can be cumbersome for teachers/RTs to establish protocols and policies for therapy animals in a school setting. Instead, schools might consider part nering or contracting with reputable therapy dog or CARP agen cies who have well-established protocols, insurance, trained/ certified handlers and canines (Fung, 2017). Agencies such as Reading Education Assistance Dogs (READ) will require that the therapy dogs are properly immunized, healthy and certified to work with participants prior to the start of programming (Fung, 2017). Fung (2017) recommends holding a workshop for parents, students and teachers whereas READ allows the child to social ize with the dog prior to reading at the beginning of each session (Shaw, 2013). It is important that teachers/RTs collaborate with agencies and handlers on the best strategies for acclimating par ticipants and dogs. Conclusion The aim of this article was to present the social, emotional, academic and physical benefits of CARP for school-age children with and without disabilities. Additionally, to provide evidence based guidance for RT’s or educators interested in starting a

CARP. While CARP are a relatively new intervention and future research is still needed to validate its effectiveness, the evidence is promising. By combining recreation and learning, CARP have the potential to help children with and without disabilities to make social, emotional, physical and academic improvements. References Alliance of Therapy Dogs. (2018, July 1). A history of therapy dogs for depression . Alliance of Therapy Dogs. https://www. American Therapeutic Recreation Association. (2015, May). Who we are . American Therapeutic Recreation Association. American Veterinary Medical Association. (n.d.). Animal-assist ed interventions: Definitions . American Veterinary Medical Association. policies/animal-assisted-interventions-definitions . Anderson, L. & Heyne, L. (2012). Therapeutic recreation prac tice: A strengths approach. Venture Publishing Inc. Bassette, L. A., & Taber-Doughty, T. (2016). Analysis of an ani mal-assisted reading intervention for young adolescents with emotional/behavioral disabilities. RMLE Online, 39 (3) , 1-20 . Beck, K. R. (2015). The impact of canine-assisted therapy and activities on children in an educational setting [Master’s the sis, St. John Fisher College]. Fisher Digital Publications. Brown, S. L. (2009). Play: How it shapes the brain, opens the imagination, and invigorates the soul . Penguin. Fitch, S. (2017). The impact of a canine assisted reading pro gram on a reluctant reader’s literacy learning [Master’s The sis, The College at Brockport: State University of New York]. Education and Human Development at Digital Commons at Brockport. Fung, S. C. (2017). Canine-assisted reading programs for chil dren with special educational needs: Rationale and recom mendations for the use of dogs in assisting learning. Educa tional Review , 69(4), 435-450. 911.2016.1228611 Hall, S.S., Gee, N.R., & Mills, D.S. (2016). Children reading to dogs: a systematic review of the literature. PloS One, 11 (2), 1-21. Hallyburton, A., & Hinton, J. (2017). Canine-assisted therapies in autism: A systematic review of published studies relevant to recreational therapy. Therapeutic Recreation Journal , 51(2), 127. Kirnan, J., Siminerio, S., & Wong, Z. (2015). The impact of a therapy dog program on children’s reading skills and attitudes towards reading. Early Childhood Education Journal, 44 , 637-651. Lane, H. B., & Zavada, S. D. (2013). When reading gets ruff: Ca nine-Assisted reading programs. The Reading Teacher , 67 (2), 87–95. Le Roux, M., Swart, E., & Swartz, L. (2014). The effect of an animal-assisted reading program on the reading rate, accuracy and comprehension of grade 3 students: A randomized control

4 • Virginia AHPERD • WINTER 2022

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