Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2022

Document Type


First Advisor

beth gibbons

Second Advisor

Deborah Schooler


Dr. Boris Levinson first recognized animal-assisted therapy as a child psychologist in the 1970s (Fine, Beck, & Ng, 2019). After this recognition, there has been an increased usage of animal-assisted interventions (AAI), leading to more research in this field (Fine, Beck, & Ng, 2019). Many studies have shown the effects of animal-assisted programs in classrooms (Prothmann, Ettrich, and Prothmann, 2009, as cited in Grandin, Fine, O'Haire, Carlisle, & Bowers, 2015; Bassette & Taber-Doughty, 2016; Kirnan, Siminerio, & Wong, 2016; Kropp & Shupp, 2017), but none of these have focused on Deaf schools and programs. This study aims to partially fill in the research gap by investigating the perspectives about animal-assisted programs among educational professionals who work with Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing (HOH) students. This mixed-methods study has two phases; Phase A and Phase B. Phase A (N=38) centered on the perspectives of professionals who work for Deaf/Hard of Hearing (HOH) students on animal-assisted programs using a survey. Phase B intended to identify the goals of animal-assisted programs and the approval required by the school administrations. The participants' likelihood of AAI approval correlated with their expected benefits ratings: cognitively, emotionally, socially, and physiologically. The participants' likelihood of approving AAI is significantly higher than their colleagues/supervisor's rating. Phase B (N=3) centered on the participants from Phase A who wanted to set up animal-assisted programs for their students. This study provides a better understanding of considerations for planning animal-assisted programs in an academic setting with Deaf/HOH children.



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