PAWS: Animal Assisted Therapy

What our service does

Sarah is a qualified special needs teacher and for the last five years has been studying Animal Assisted Therapy. The Society for Companion Animal Studies explains that Animal Assisted Therapy is facilitated by health service professionals; such as therapists, teachers and nurses. AAT is goal-directed. There are a range of focus areas that can be developed with the use of AAT including, physical, social, emotional and mental health. Animal assisted therapists formally plan and monitor sessions. Goals are discussed with key professionals and/or parents (these can be linked to EHCPlans) and individual plans are designed. Detailed feedback is provided. These sessions last an hour and usually range from 6-12 sessions, depending on the client’s needs.
Sarah has taken part in rigorous training, by a leader in the field, Dr Risë VanFleet and is now a Certified Professional Practitioner in Animal Assisted Play Therapy™, one of few in the UK.

Location of our service

We are a mobile service covering Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Essex.

Who our service provides for

At PAWS, we work with a range of clients from children to adults with special educational needs. We most frequently work with individuals who have Autistic Spectrum Disorder, however are also able to work with individuals with;
• Anxiety
• Attachment/Trauma disorder
• Behavioural Issues
• Down’s Syndrome
• Global Learning Delay
• Phobias
• Victims of crime/abuse
Before sessions commence clients are screened for their suitability for AAT. Consent forms and risk assessment also need to be signed by parent/carers.

How to start using our service

Direct e-mails and phone calls are welcome, no need for referrals.

Please see fees below:

Animal Assisted (Play) Therapy – as described above - £100 per session.

Animal Assisted Activities - £90 per session - Animal Assisted Activities are defined as informal therapeutic interactions with an animal. In these sessions, the clients are able to interact with the dog through games and nurturing activities. Frank has been "Pet as Therapy" assessed and very much enjoys interacting with different people. Although not considered a therapy, Animal Assisted Activities provide many therapeutic benefits to individuals. It has been found through these interactions levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin increases. During AAA, interactions are spontaneous and there is no recording or evaluating of the session. These sessions are open to groups as well as 1:1 clients.

How decisions are made about who can use our service

Decisions to who accesses the service are made after the screening has taken place. We have not had to turn away any clients previously.

How we communicate with our service users

During the screening session, clients are provided with information about the therapy dog as well as how best to communicate with him. They are encouraged to memorise some basic stress signs the dog may display if uncomfortable with the situation to encourage empathy. This information can be taken home and shared with the family.
During sessions some Makaton may be used as well as clear and precise language if suitable.
After AAT sessions, parents/carers are provided with detailed feedback.

Qualifications and training of our staff

Please find a list of Sarah’s qualifications below:
• Qualified Teacher BA (HONS)
• Special Needs Teacher for 2+ Years teaching children with complex needs including; Autistic Spectrum, ADHD, Globoal Development Delay, PDA, Attachment/Traumatised Child Disorder, Genetic Disorders (chromosomal deletions), Speech and Language Delay, Sensory Integration/Attachment Disorder.
• Certified Animal Assisted Therapy Practitioner, BSY
• Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills, CPCAB
• Animal Assisted Therapy in Counselling Certificate, Humanima CIC
• Certificate in Therapuetic Play, IATE
• Animal Assisted Play Therapy, Level 1, IIAAPT
• Animal Assisted Play Therapy: Level 2 Relationships and Applications, IIAPT
• Canine Communication in Animal Assisted Play Therapy, IIAPT
• Essentials of Canine Behavior & Training for AAPT: Building the Therapeutic Partnership, IIAPT
• Level 2 Award in Speech and Language Support for 5-11s, AptEd
• Certified Professional Practitioner of Animal Assisted Play Therapy™, IIAPT

General Contact Information

Any enquiries should be made to Sarah.

Contact for more information

07584 674511
Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri 9am-5pm

Record Last Reviewed On: 27/02/2018