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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

Watch Aloha Videos
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