Animal Assisted Speech, Language and Feeding Therapy


What is animal assisted therapy?

"Animal assisted speech, language or feeding therapy" is the planned inclusion of an animal in a patient’s  treatment plan to help the therapist address speech, language or feeding goals.  Animal assisted speech language pathology is provided by a licensed speech-language pathologist, using animals who are specially selected to perform this work.  

Animals who help in our sessions include horses, miniature  horses, miniature donkeys, rabbits, goats, sheep, dogs, cats and chickens.  

The animals, and interactions with them, can be used to:


  • Increase client motivation and participation in treatment.
  • Provide an engaging and meaningful way to target the 5 main areas  that SLPs treat (speech, language, social communication,  cognitive-communication and swallowing).

We are pleased to offer Animal Assisted Therapy in Islandia and Hauppauge NY.  


Research related to animal assisted therapy

 According to the Human Animal Bond Research Institute,  "people are happier and healthier in the presence of animals.  Scientifically-documented benefits of the human-animal bond include  decreased blood pressure, reduced anxiety, and enhanced feelings of  well-being."  In addition, research provides evidence of the following  benefits:

  • Increased motivation
  • Increased participation in treatment
  • Increased social awareness
  • Increased social skills and behaviors
  • Increased independence
  • Decreased feelings of isolation
  • Decreased stress
  • Improved socio-emotional functioning
  • Increased display of social behaviors including talking, making physical contact and looking at faces
  • Improved positive social behaviors including becoming more receptive to social advances from peers
  • Increased oxytocin levels in the brain
  • Changes in the levels of cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine


Animal Assisted Therapy Facts/Myths:

  • The inclusion of animals in speech, language or feeding therapy is not the same as "Animal Assisted Activities" or "pet therapy".  To learn more about the terminology related to animals in therapy visit Pet Partners.

  • Animal assisted speech/language/feeding therapy is not a separate type of therapy or service.  Because it is not a separate service, but rather a tool or approach used during a therapy session it is not appropriate to bill for it as a separate service.

  • Prescriptions should be written for speech/language/feeding therapy regardless of the treatment tools and approaches that will be used.  The treatment approaches will be selected by the therapist and may be changed at any time in order to most effectively treat the patient.