Summer 2016 Research Study: Animal-assisted intervention for reading

Summer 2016 Research Study:

Animal-assisted intervention for reading

Georgetown College, Down Syndrome Association of Central Kentucky and Pawsibilities Unleashed partner on a study to investigate how the use of certified therapy dogs improves task engagement for reading-related skills in children with Down syndrome.

Principal Investigators

Dr. Rebecca Singer

Dr. Susan Bell

Research Assistants

Erin Myers – Junior, Physics Major

Elise McKinney – Junior, Psychology Major

Olivia Chandler – Sophomore, Psychology Major

Valerie Varble – University of Kentucky, Speech Language Pathology

Invitation to participate in research on emergent literacy and reading comprehension

Previous research has found that using dogs in academic settings decreases stress and increases attention to tasks. Children and adolescents with Down syndrome and one parent are asked to commit to 12 sessions of reading-related games and activities during the Summer and early Fall of 2016. Children must be able to imitate the sounds for at least three letters in order to be eligible to participate. All dogs used in the study have been trained and certified as therapy dogs through Pawsibilities, Unleashed of Frankfort, KY. This research is in no way affiliated with the process to receive a service animal. Goals for the research include increased task enagement in the presence of the dog and improvements in letter/sound identification, rhyming, reading fluency, and reading comprehension. One important benefit of participation will be helping your child retain reading-related skills over the summer that they might otherwise forget without practice. If you are interested in hearing more about this project, please contact Dr. Rebecca Singer  or Dr. Susan Bell.

Session Information

12 weeks of individual reading-related intervention (can be non-consecutive weeks) between June and September, 2016

3 session types: 1/3 with research assistant, 1/3 with stuffed dog toy, 1/3 with certified therapy dog

30 minute sessions:

 Without live dog:

* Welcome activity with research assistant/toy
* Word and letter games
*Reading books
*Farewell to research assistant/toy

With live dog:

*Meet and greet with dog
*Word and letter games
*Reading books
*Farewell to dog


Interest Letter

Child Assent Form

 Parent Permission Form

Additional Information