Animal-assisted intervention (AAI) is a term broadly used to describe the use of various animal species in diverse manners beneficial to humans. Examples include animal-assisted therapy, animal-assisted education, and animal-assisted activities.
Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is a goal-directed intervention in which an animal meeting specific criteria is an integral part of the treatment process. Animal-assisted therapy is delivered and/or directed by health care or medical service providers with expertise in the clinical application of human-animal interactions within the scope of their profession. Animal-assisted therapy is designed to promote improvement in human physical, social, emotional, or cognitive functions, and is documented and evaluated within an individualized treatment plan. Animal-assisted therapy may be provided in a variety of settings, and may be conducted in group or individual environments.
Animal-assisted activities (AAA) provide opportunities for motivational, educational, or recreational benefits to enhance individual(s) quality of life. Animal-assisted activities may be conducted in a variety of environments, and are conducted by specially trained professionals, paraprofessionals, or volunteers in conjunction with animals that meet activity-specific criteria.