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BMC Res Notes. 2012 Apr 26;5:199. doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-5-199.

Effects of a dolphin interaction program on children with autism spectrum disorders: an exploratory research.

Author information

1
Unidade de Investigação em Psicologia e Saúde, ISPA - Instituto Universitário, Lisbon, Portugal. emilioeduardo.salgueiro@gmail.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Interaction programs involving dolphins and patients with various pathologies or developmental disorders (e.g., cerebral palsy, intellectual impairment, autism, atopic dermatitis, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression) have stimulated interest in their beneficial effects and therapeutic potential. However, the true effects observed in different clinical and psycho-educational setups are still controversial.

RESULTS:

An evaluation protocol consisting of the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS), Psychoeducational Profile-Revised (PEP-R), Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC), Theory of Mind Tasks (ToM Tasks) and a custom-made Interaction Evaluation Grid (IEG) to evaluate behavioural complexity during in-pool interactions was applied to 10 children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The ATEC, ToM Tasks and CARS results show no benefits of the dolphin interaction program. Interestingly, the PEP-R suggests some statistically significant effects on 'Overall development score', as well as on their 'Fine motor development', 'Cognitive performance' and 'Cognitive verbal development'. Also, a significant evolution in behavioural complexity was shown by the IEG.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study does not support significant developmental progress resulting from the dolphin interaction program.

PMID:
22537536
PMCID:
PMC3468398
DOI:
10.1186/1756-0500-5-199
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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