HL652 The Role of Animals in the Lives of Children

Course Description

The literature is filled with commentaries and research findings attesting the value of animals in the lives of children. This course will review theories of human-animal bond and animal assisted interventions for children in therapeutic environments and in the home. Specific animal assisted programs for children with physical and developmental disabilities will be explored. Attention will be given to best practice approaches in developing AAI programs and methods for program evaluation. The role of animals in schools and humane education will also be discussed. Students will have an opportunity to write a proposal for an animal assisted program for children integrating newly gained knowledge of theories, practice, and evaluation of these programs. 3 credits

Course Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Explain the physical and mental health benefits of interactions with animals;
  • Describe stages of human development in areas such as cognitive, emotional, social, gender, and linguistic.
  • Explain the roles that animals have in the lives of children and their family.

Course Topics

(Subject to Change)

  • Human animal bond and child development
  • Child Development
  • Animals in the lives of Children
  • AAT and Therapeutic Techniques for Children
  • Animals and children with disabilities
  • Animals in Classrooms, Humane Education and Animal Welfare
  • Equine Assisted Therapy
  • Death of a Pet
  • Future Research and Directions

Course Materials

(Subject to Change)

  • McCardle, P., McCune, S., Griffin, J., Esposito, L., & Freund, L. (2010). Animals in Our Lives: Human-animal Interaction in Family, Community, and Therapeutic Settings. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publisher.
  • Melson, G. (2001). Why the Wild Things Are: Animals in the Lives of Children. Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press.
  • Berk. L. (2011). A Reader on Child Development, Chapters from: Infants, Children, and Adolescents. 7th Edition- Boston, Mass: Pearson Publishers.
  • Fine, A. (2010). The Handbook on Animal Assisted Therapy (third edition). San Diego, CA. Academic Press.
  • McCardle, P., McCune, S., Griffin, J. & Maholmes, V. (2010). How Animals Affect Us: Examining the Influence of Human-Animal Interaction on Child Development and Human Health. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.