This information was posted on the Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion (MARMAM).
Dolphin Assisted Therapy (DAT)
Dolphin Assisted Therapy (DAT), the use of captive dolphins in treatment regimens for humans afflicted with a variety of problems (such as autism), has been discussed sporadically on MARMAM, generally with a view to promote a particular facility of practitioner. Within the field there appear to be a number of claims presented in a scientific manner that beg for objective scrutiny. For example, the assertion that a person's fused skull (Microcephalus?) was altered under dolphin-administered ultrasound treatment. (See proceedings of 2nd Annual Dolphin-Assisted Therapy Symposium, 1996)
The overall result suggests a biased and undisciplined view of the subject of DAT, often leading to unrealistic assumptions and very real financial commitments by prospective patients. I offer the following references with the intent of balancing the bias and stimulating further discussion:
1) Iannuzzi, D. and Rowan, A.N. 1991. Ethical issues in animal-assisted therapy programs. Anthrozoos 4(3):154-162.
2) Frohoff, T.G. 1996. Behavior of Bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus) and Spotted Dolphins (Stenella frontalis) Relative to Human Interaction. Doctoral dissertation, The Union Institute, Cincinnati, Ohio.
3) Frohoff, T.G. 1993. Behavior of Captive Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and Humans During controlled In-Water Interactions. M.S. thesis, Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas.
May I request that MARMAMERs with experience or interest in the subject provide me, directly or through MARMAM, with references, facts, experiences, and opinions about DAT? I need your help to make an objective analysis of the merits of this growing international business for a contracted study.
William W. Rossiter President Cetacean Society International P.O.Box 953, Georgetown, CT 06829 USA ph/fx 203-544-8617 firstname.lastname@example.org http://csiwhalesalive.org/index.html