Baptized as Hoaloha – a Hawaiian word to denominate friendship or being of whom one enjoys his/her company – this volunteer project aimed to complete the Speech Therapy sessions of students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders, that attended the UEE of the School D. Paio Peres Correia from the group of Schools Dr. Jorge Augutsto Correia, from Tavira.
The introduction to Animal Assisted Therapy aimed to improve the productivity of the sessions, harnessing the strong motivation that a dog causes.
Several strategies of direct interaction were used with the dogs, and reward systems as well. Dynamic stories, sequencing activities, picture descriptions and other games were done, where the interaction of the students with the dogs were facilitators of motivation and focus for these activities.
In the ASP behaviour swings are common, linked to mismatches in social competences. We apply a methodology of switches by interactions that allows a decrease in tantrums and a bigger commitment in the activities. That is to say that even without the animal in the room it was possible to verify improvements in the regulation of behaviour and in the management of impulses.
This project began on February 29th and ended on June 7th (2016), completing 38 sessions.