Inbox: A Therapeutic Pedigree I especially enjoyed "A Therapeutic Pedigree," the First Person article about Luna, in the July ASHA Leader because I, too, use a therapy dog to enrich my speech-language pathology treatment (2007 to present). While this article was interesting, I had concerns about the process used to determine Luna's qualifications as ... Inbox
Inbox  |   September 01, 2013
Inbox: A Therapeutic Pedigree
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Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Professional Issues & Training / ASHA News & Member Stories / Inbox
Inbox   |   September 01, 2013
Inbox: A Therapeutic Pedigree
The ASHA Leader, September 2013, Vol. 18, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.IN2.18092013.4
The ASHA Leader, September 2013, Vol. 18, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.IN2.18092013.4
I especially enjoyed "A Therapeutic Pedigree," the First Person article about Luna, in the July ASHA Leader because I, too, use a therapy dog to enrich my speech-language pathology treatment (2007 to present).
While this article was interesting, I had concerns about the process used to determine Luna's qualifications as a therapy dog. From the article's information, it seems that clinical supervisors alone made the determination that Luna was a suitable candidate. Additionally, the article mentions that Luna had not yet attained the designation of Canine Good Citizen.
"ASHA has been certifying professionals since 1952." This certification process guarantees that SLPs and audiologists have the "knowledge, skills, and expertise to provide high quality clinical services, and they actively engage in ongoing professional development to keep their certification current."
It is also important for therapy dogs to be to be held to high standards. One such program is the Pet Partners program, the only national registry requiring handler training, screening of animal-handler teams, and re-evaluation every two years. While the CGC is a worthwhile goal for any dog to achieve, it is not comparable to the evaluation process that Pet Partners teams must complete. The Pet Partners' test goes beyond the CGC skill test by including an aptitude test, handler test and health screening.
I feel it is vital for SLPs who are considering using a therapy dog to understand the importance of holding ourselves and our therapy dogs to "high standards."
Sherri L. Rusch, Warrensburg, Mo.
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September 2013
Volume 18, Issue 9