What is Animal Assisted Therapy?

Animal assisted therapy (AAT) is a therapy used to treat clients’ mental, physical, social and emotional well-being with the aid of animals.

It is often used to complement and to enhance the benefits of a more intensive, holistic treatment programme.

Conditions which can benefit from animal assisted therapy include stroke, functional neurological disorders, spinal injuries and brain injuries.

Many different animals can be used in animal assisted therapy, including horses (equine assisted therapy) and dogs (canine assisted therapy).

Animal Assisted Therapy at STEPS

Our mission at STEPS is help every single one of our clients reach their full potential by providing an extensive range of therapies, including hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, music therapy and AAT.

Based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, STEPS is lucky enough to be close to ‘Smile at Lightwood’, an initiative run by a group of friends in the south of the city.

Based at Mansion House Farm, the initiative has 6 Shetland ponies, who have trained as therapy ponies and work both at the farm and in the community, visiting clients at facilities such as STEPS.

We are now regularly visited by the very popular, ‘Leo’, who makes his way around the facility with a trainer, spending time with all of our clients, and on some occasions, he has even been known to welcome some of our guests!

In June, we were extremely grateful to Skyes Stair Lifts who kindly sponsored a visit from Leo the therapy pony at STEPS.

We’re also extremely lucky that our visiting hairdresser brings along her mum’s therapy dog, Bruce, to some of her visits to STEPS.

Benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy

Interactions with an animal during AAT, is proven to significant benefits, including:

  • Encourages communication
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Decreases feelings of isolation
  • Provides comfort
  • Improves focus and attention

Many of the clients at STEPS have their own dogs and we encourage family to bring them in for visits. Even our Consultant in rehabilitation medicine and Jules Shiel-Boulger our Business Development Director bring their dogs in from time to time!

More information about the therapies we offer at STEPS call us on 0114 258 7769.

More information about the therapies we offer at STEPS call us on 0114 258 7769.