APSE 2013
Indianapolis, Indiana
Presented by:
Andrew Clemons
Kelly Kort, MA, NCC
Sandra Hulme, M.Ed.
Darlene Groomes, Ph.D., CRC, LPC
Gary Mesibov, Ph.D.
Agenda and Basic Housekeeping
 Brief introductions
 Review research study and findings
 Gallery walk (50 minutes)
 Three discussion break-outs, 15 minutes each, rotate
 Writing out input, disputes, and brainstorming with
multidisciplinary research team
 Reconvene large group (15 minutes)
 Texting and Notecard Questions/Comments
 517-896-9807
 Email takeaways to participants within two weeks
Exploring Interactions with
Dogs through OUCARES
 Our purpose
 Adolescents with ASD
 Decrease stress
 Increase pro-social behavior
 Encourage adaptation to disability
 Whether innovative
 Outcomes from a social skills program
 Dog interacting with one group
Research Specifics
 Fourteen adolescent participants (12 males, 2 females;
mean age= 13; mean school grade level= 7th) were
randomly assigned to experimental and control groups
 Both groups received six one-hour sessions (once per
week, over six weeks)
 Researchers designed the social skills curriculum; the
content for both groups was identical
 Delivery fluctuated due to the use of different instructors
and utilization of the dog
Research Specifics
 Participants and their families completed measures:
 Introductory Questionnaire
 Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children (MASC)
 Adaptation to Disability Scale-Revised (ADS-R)
 Autism Social Skills Profile (ASSP)
 Qualitative analyses
 Themes analysis identifies themes of self-
assurance and openness toward others
 Ongoing coding analysis indicates increased
occurrence of pro-social behaviors in the
experimental group compared to control group
 Preliminary results suggest that HAI may provide
a means of helping adolescents and family
members to employ pro-social behaviors
 Social skill-building/enhancement experiences
 Exposure to dog
 Social interaction
 Desensitize and teach tolerance to those who state
apprehension around dogs
 Professional service providers observed use of dogs
as safe and effective for OUCARES programming
 Improved levels of emotional well-being from this
experience during a time in development when peer
interactions typically challenge mental health outlook
 Parents/guardians, too, benefit from the engagement
that they had with their child
 Magic benefited from human contact, healthy treat
rewards, and attention.
Risks and Challenges
 Child could respond negatively to the dog or another
child in the group.
 The long-haired German Shepard, Magic, is a certified
assistance dog, trained through For Better Independence
Dogs in Mason, Michigan
 https://www.facebook.com/Forbetterindependence
 Beth and Gary Spanski
Gallery Walk
Text Questions and
Comments: 517-896-9807
 Three topical interest areas, 15 minutes at each
 HAI Integrated Employment Programs and Quality of Life
 HAI and Its Applications for Individuals Living with Autism in Integrated
Employment and Transition Settings
 Quality Mechanisms Needed in an HAI Integrated Employment Program
 Lead facilitator will provide a brief context, info on slides
 Participants to dialogue, debate, deliberate
 Facilitator to scribe information
 Moderator will note time to shift
 Facilitator of different interest area will shift
 Reconvene in larger group with
“audience speaker” highlight
15 minutes each
HAI Integrated Employment
Programs and Quality of Life
• Implications of social skills on overall well-being
• WHO definition (1998)
Quality of life reflects the perception of individual’s life, in the context of their culture and value
system, that their needs are being satisfied and that they are not being denied opportunities to
achieve happiness and fulfillment, regardless of physical health status, or social and economic
• HAI stimulates social interaction and social competence
• Advances in neuroscience have provided us with valid
research into how the social brain works
• The mechanisms by which oxytocin and vasopressin contribute to human social
The role of oxytocin and vasopressin in autism spectrum disorders
Correlations between basal oxytocin levels and the strength of social and bonding
HAI Integrated Employment
Programs and Quality of Life
• Oxytocin and vasopressin are emerging as targets for
treatment approaches
Prosocial effects of intranasal application of oxytocin
Oxytocin released during certain types of HAI
Potential link between HAI effects and the oxytocin
Oxytocin and HAI effects largely overlap as documented by
research in both humans and animals
Offers an explanation of the effects of HAI
• Advantages of using HAI to increase oxytocin levels
• Non-medical interventions
• Additional benefits
HAI Applications
• For individuals living with autism
• Integrated employment
• Transition settings
• “Individuals with autism are generally not provided with the skills
necessary to successfully move from school to post-secondary
education, integrated employment (including supported employment),
adult services, independent living, or community participation”
• How to attain, maintain, & retain employment
• “A review of the current literature on outcomes for adults with ASD
indicates that, independent of current ability levels, the vast majority of
adults on the spectrum are either unemployed or underemployed and,
further, that large numbers of adults with autism remain without any
appropriate services.”
(Gerhardt, P.F. & Lainer, I., 2010)
HAI Applications
• Utilization of animals as a potential adaptive strategy
• Occupational Therapy
• View as an assistive technology
• Alternative service/device
• “To be effective in this expanding practice area, occupational
therapists must understand how persons with physical disabilities use
their service dogs as an adaptive strategy and what factors affect the
success of this strategy.”
• Increased development of independence, employable skills,
and psychosocial functioning
• “Service dogs provide common ground, bridging the differences that
may cause social isolation and facilitating a renewed sense of
connection with others.”
(Camp, M.M., 2000)
HAI Program Design
 ADA titles I (employment) and III (public access)
definitions and regulations.
Information on documentation and employer’s role
from the Job Accommodation Network (JAN).
HAI: anxiety management, social skills, and behavior
Individualization: accommodations suited to the
neurodiversity of the individual and the unique
employment environment.
Cycle of design, implementation, and evaluation:
creating a cycle of service improvement.
Implementation and Evaluation
 What goals does the individual have for the
 How can an assistance dog be utilized to promote
these goals?
 Can HAI be integrated into your organization’s
evaluation protocols?
 Remembering the cycle: Implementation is tied to
evaluation. All program aspects must be evaluated.
Optimizing Employment Retention
Key Questions:
 With all of the positives, why are there still such
challenges for workers living with ASD?
 How can HAI be utilized to optimize long-term
employment success for this individual in this work
Optimizing Employment Retention
What We Know:
 Successful and ongoing employment results from careful
consideration of individual characteristics and implementation of
proper supports (Hendricks, 2010).
 We know that employment improves quality of life (Garcia-Villamisar
et al., 2002) – creating a cycle of progress.
 Successful employment is the primary aspiration of adults with ASD
(Hendricks, 2010).
 Employers value the trustworthiness, reliability, and low absenteeism
of individuals living with ASD (Howlin et al., 1995; in Hendricks, 2010).
 An individual’s strengths, and neurodevelopmental characteristics,
may translate into unique job strengths.
For More Information
Darlene Groomes, Ph.D., CRC, LPC
Associate Professor
Principal Investigator
[email protected]
To continue the DDD:
“Resources” tab for copy of presentation
RPEN blog to continue our discussion and questioning
Beetz, A., Uvnas-Moberg, K., Julius, H., & Kotrschal, K. (2012). Psychosocial and
psychophysiological effects of human-animal interactions: The possible role of oxytocin.
Frontiers in Psychology, 3. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00234
Bellini, S., & Hopf, A. (2007). The development of the autism social skills profile: A preliminary
analysis of psychometric profiles. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities,22(2),
80-87. doi: 10.1177/10883576070220020801
Camp, M.M. (2000). The use of service dogs as an adaptive strategy: A qualitative study. American
Journal of Occupational Therapy, 55, 509-517.
Department of Justice. (2011). Title III regulations. Retrieved from:
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people’s life that work in supported and sheltered employment: A 5-year follow-up study, Journal
of Vocational Rehabilitation 17(4), 309–312.
Gerhardt, P.F. & Lainer, I. (2010). Addressing the needs of adolescents and adults with autism: A
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APSE – Human Animal Interactions, Autism