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canine companions facility dog

Animal Assisted Therapy

Lauren and Alex both have a passion for using AAT as an intervention approach in therapy. They presented a research poster on the effectiveness of AAT at the Florida Occupational Therapy Association (FOTA) in 2008.

AAT is a type of therapy intervention that uses a certified/specially trained animal in a client's goal-directed treatment program.


Currently, 7 Senses Therapy utilizes "Aloha" a Yellow Lab from Canine Companions For Independence. AAT is designed to help improve the physical, educational, social, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning of clients. AAT can also be used to motivate a client to attempt a new or challenging task. 


A few examples of how Aloha works with the kids at 7 Senses Therapy!

  • Take Aloha through an obstacle course for sequencing and gross motor skills

  • Manipulate Aloha's fasteners, leash, and collar for fine motor skills

  • Practicing dressing skills, dress Aloha and button, and zip his vest

  • Cut treats for Aloha to practice scissor skills

  • Brush Aloha and pet Aloha for range of motion and tactile input

  • Give Aloha commands for sequencing and language skills

  • Toss toys for Aloha for arm range of motion and eye hand coordination

  • Play tug-o-war for arm strengthening and proprioceptive input

  • Bring water and food to Aloha for bilateral coordination

  • Read to Aloha for improved self-esteem in reading

  • Touch Aloha's ear, paws, and tail for part recognition

  • Have Aloha for support and motivation for the child when attempting a new or challenging task

  • Improve ability to transition from one task to the next by walking Aloha

  • Turn taking when playing a game with Aloha

  • Aloha can help a child open up, improve interaction, and social skills/manners

  • Aloha can demonstrate, for example, going through a tunnel or course.

  • Paw painting with Aloha for children who need tactile input

  • Handwriting help, write letters to Aloha with good legibility, formation and spacing

  • Self-regulation, Aloha can model when it is appropriate to be excited and when we need to be calm and ready for learning

  • Toss the balloon back and forth with Aloha for bilateral coordination, and turn taking

  • Using gestures and signals to communicate with Aloha for fine motor skills


To learn more about obtaining a dog, like Aloha, free of charge from Canine Companions for Independence please go to



Our Sweet Retired CCI Facility Dog

canine companions facility dog, sounds game
canine companions facility dog, self-help skills
canine companions facility dog, stickers for fine motor skills
canine companions facility dog, bead stringing, bilateral coordination, fine motor skills
canine companions facility dog, proprioception wagon pull
canine companions facility dog, gross motor skills
canine companions facility dog, visual motor skills, visual perceptual skills, puzzles
canine companions facility dog, scooter board game
Watch Aloha Videos
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