Spinal muscular atrophy; Service dogs; Psychiatric service dogs
Adolescents with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) may receive occupational therapy services and may at times use service dogs. Literature suggests that service dogs can provide social and physical benefits to children and adults with physical disabilities, however little research has been published, especially with adolescents. A qualitative methodology was used to best gain insight on the daily life experiences with a service dog of a thirteen year old female adolescent with a diagnosis of SMA and her mother. Major themes that emerged from interviews included: A Process, A Special Bond, A Sense of Security, Increased Independence and Participation in Life, Empowering, Social Aspects, and The Future. The information gained from this study may lead occupational therapists to suggest clients apply for a service dog, assist client’s with the transition of obtaining a service dogs, and incorporate service dogs into occupational therapy interventions.
Date of Completion
Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT)
Date of Award
University of Puget Sound