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Tech & Tools
Speech Recognition to Address Critical Resource Issues, Improve Care for Children and Families
Using speech recognition, social service agencies can reduce administrative and transcription costs and improve client service by enabling caseworkers to quickly, accurately, and more comprehensively complete case notes and reports by voice. Learn more »

Wireless Lifeline Supporters Rally for Federal Program
Under this wireless program, eligible low-income Americans are provided access to telecommunications services via cell phones with a specific number of minutes per month. Learn more »
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Editor's E-Note
Families of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) encounter many challenges in communicating with their children and trying to understand the unique characteristics of their behaviors. The author of this month’s E-News Exclusive is a social worker who has observed the benefits of animal-assisted therapy in children with ASD. Through interacting with therapy dogs, a children with ASD can build confidence and the ability to demonstrate empathy by caring for the needs of a dog. The addition of an animal in the therapeutic milieu can offer a nonjudgmental and nonthreatening supplement to the team working with children with ASD.

Enjoy this month’s e-newsletter and remember to follow Social Work Today
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— Marianne Mallon, editor
E-News Exclusive
Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders Benefit From Animal-Assisted Therapy
By Cyndie Brashear-Kieffer, LSW

Although animal-assisted therapy (AAT) may sound like a creative ruse for people bringing their dogs (or other pets) with them to work, there is sound research that it is a valid and effective modality. Boris Levinson, PhD, was the first professionally trained clinician to document the benefits of a dog’s presence while he worked with children in the late 1960s. AAT has been steadily gaining legitimacy as a useful addition to therapies that help improve physical and emotional health. It can benefit many clients and provides a social lubricant that may coax the most reluctant people to open up about the issues they are facing. It is important to note that animal-assisted therapy occurs only when a professional/licensed individual delivers goal-directed interventions using their animal. It is not to be confused with animal visitation programs that are offered at different facilities.

Many children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) can have difficulty socializing with peers and communicating with family and often demonstrate repetitive behaviors such as rocking or hand twirling. These, along with other atypical behaviors, can make it difficult for the child with ASD to form friendships. The addition of an animal in the therapeutic milieu can offer a nonjudgmental and nonthreatening supplement to the team working with children with ASD. On numerous occasions, children with these disabilities encounter situations that can make them feel isolated, depressed, and anxious. Through interacting with therapy dogs, children with ASD can build confidence and the ability to demonstrate empathy by caring for the needs of a dog.

Full Story »
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Inhuman Treatment of Indonesians With Mental Illness
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