Children join AAT reading programs because they are below grade level or have self esteem issues and have been identified as at-risk.
Children in these reading programs have improved self confidence and a pride in their accomplishments. They find reading more fun and actually will volunteer to read aloud in class.
Researcher Aaron Katcher in his book, Between Pets and People: The Importance of Animal Companionship, 1996 Purdue University Press, notes that the presence of an animal can create a therapeutic environment by:
Drawing attention outward
Turning off anxiety, anger, depression
Increasing positive expectations of self and others
For information on Penny’s From Heaven Foundation’s Therapy Tails Program