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Have you ever felt like your emotions were out of control? Or have you ever wished you could have a little help managing your stress levels?
Help might be just a purr or a lick away.
Therapy animals not only help motivate people to recover physically, but they also provide profound help on an emotional level too. It’s well known that therapy animals help relieve loneliness.However, at ScenicView Academy in Provo, Utah, for adults diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Therapy Animals of Utah are helping in the classroom too.
No, they might not help with long division or algebra, but during their classroom visits two to four Mondays a month, therapy animals assist with other essential skills like helping students recognize stress and understanding how to cope and de-stress.
Therapy Animals of Utah Executive Director Deborah Carr explains, “We know how much our University students love our stress relief events. Finals time is extremely stressful for them. Unfortunately, most people with Autism Spectrum Disorder have that kind of stress and anxiety (or worse) almost all the time. The TAU program at Scenic View is doing some really exciting and innovative work, with the Mellow Monday stress relief program and a series of classes designed to specifically address the needs of the students at that program.”
Therapy animals create a relaxing environment that promotes comfort, increases verbal communication and eye contact, and decreases severity of ASD symptoms. By interacting with the animals and observing the animals’ behaviors, lessons are learned about identifying emotions and observing how the animals respond. The animals are not only therapists, they’re also teachers, teaching emotional regulation.