The Australian Network for the Development of Animal Assisted Therapies (ANDAAT) is a group of professional health, educational, social and service providers from many disciplines, along with experienced animal handlers and lovers, who have joined together under the umbrella of ANDAAT to promote the value and benefits of Animal Assisted Therapies (AAT), extend our understanding of the mechanisms by which AAT works, facilitate people finding AAT related resources and to share current knowledge with anyone that is interested in this growing area of therapy.
Research and validation into AAT (Animal Assisted Therapy), AAA (Animal Assisted Activities) and AAE (Animal Assisted Education) in Australia, is currently undertaken by Universities, tertiary educational institutes , several hospitals and private organisations. Interest in this area is now developed to the extent that there is a large international conference held every two years by the International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organisations, that presents the latest research in all aspects into the connection between animals and humans. It is our goal to provide people with information and links to all these organisations, as well as to researchers, qualified therapists and providers of AAT.
Currently there are no recognised standards that apply to the training of therapy/service animals or for AAT therapist in Australia. ANDAAT hopes to lobby and campaign for common recognition, guidelines and laws pertaining to AAT throughout Australia. The qualifications of animals and therapists involved in all aspects of AAT need to be identified.
Currently there are several well established Groups that have been using animals to assist and support humans who have difficulties with vision and physical abilities. The dog is used with the vision impaired and physically challenged persons where they assist in making the daily lives of their human partners more amenable. Other animals such as the monkey and the horse are also used to assist the physically challenged making life less challenging. The added benefit is that the animal becomes a friend and thus adds pleasure and enjoyment to the lives of whom they touch.
The dog is currently the major animal being used in AAT and can called by the following titles, an Assistance Dog, a Service Dog, a Therapy Dog, a Hearing Dog, a Seeing Eye Dog, a Seizure Detection dog, and Handicapped Assistance dog along with the security and service areas.
It has been well documented by the above organisations, that animals do and have made, great differences to those who utilize their services, as the many extra benefits provided by the animals to the majority of their clients, has improved their health, created a more positive outlook on life, encouraged social skills and in general, challenged the people to do more and participate in any areas that they wish to.
We are also encouraging professionals and leaders from all services and disciplines to look at the value of using AAT within their practices, businesses, organisations, and educational facilities etc, to contact us so that we can inform them of the value of AAT and connect them with others within their disciplines who are currently utilizing AAT.