Speak! Conference 2014
Friday, September 26, 2014, 8:30am - 8:30 p.m.


   ♦ Keynote Address - A Shared Journey: The Power and Responsibility of Animal Assisted Interactions - Suzanne Clothier
     The power of animals in our lives is immeasurable. Whether working with our very first animal or many animals old, we seek to share through AAI what we found first with our hearts, long before our minds began to categorize, quantify, qualify.
     For those involved with any of the many forms of animal assisted therapies, we have a world of opportunities opening to us. We also have new responsibilities when we involve our fellow travelers who cannot give informed consent, who have no voice unless we tune our hearts to hear them speak, who need us to protect them even as we place them in service to others.
     We are explorers asking questions, trying to map new territories where animals and people both teach and learn. We are challenging pre-conceived notions about "dumb" animals, and bringing science to bear on what our hearts have long known: animals can help us become truly humane and deeply human.

     ♦ "Animal Assisted Interactions" in Practice Here in Minnesota - Ann Cahill - moderator        
        Learn from a panel of experts who are helping bring Animal Assisted Interactions to their facilities and impact human well-being across the lifecycle spectrum. Panelists include:
             Toni Gillen - Living Well Disability Services
             Dr. Val Rae Boe - 916 Education Foundation
             Katie Westberg - The Goodman Group
             Dr. Gary Christenson - Boynton Health Service, U of Minnesota
             Nancy Brooks - R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dogs)
             Kelly Vallandingham - Leatherdale Equine Center, U of Minnesota
             Michael Durchslag - P.E.A.S.E. Academy
             Tanya Bailey, MSW, LICSW - Nature Based Therapeutics, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

      Integrating Behavioral Healthcare with Primary
Medicine and the Therapeutic Farm - Dr. Carlene Holder Taylor
Learn about an integrated behavioral healthcare program serving people across the lifespan that encompasses a multidisciplinary team - including a multi-species AAI program - to provide health, wellness, and experiential services while being grounded in a sacred connection with the natural world.

      Wolves and Dogs in Relationship and Research - Peggy Callahan, Executive Director of the Wildlife Science Center
Lecture content coming soon!
 Ethical Considerations in Animal Assisted Interactions: Potential Potholes and the Road Ahead - Dr. Kirby Wycoff       
        From emotional support dogs, to mobility assistance equines and everything in between, we are seeing more and more animals serving humans in need. The reality is that if we are truly to provide high quality services to humans with Animal Assisted Interactions, we need to protect and respect our animal partners in the process. This breakout session will prepare participants to engage in ethical and responsible decision-making in our selection and use of working animals.
        The evidence-based methods presented will offer practitioners a viable way to assess and monitor an animal's suitability in the world of AAI- both for the animal's sake and to maximize the therapeutic benefit for all parties involved.

    ♦ Square Holes, Round Paws: Goodness of Fit Assessment ToolsSuzanne Clothier
       Humane and ethical involvement of animals in Animal-Assisted Interaction (AAI) programs requires assessment tools to identify potential candidates, recognize stress/distress, identify and triage areas needing support or special consideration, and to ensure goodness of fit. This is an introduction to assessment tools called CARAT (Clothier Animal Response Assessment Tool) and RAT (Relationship Assessment Tool), and their application to AAI.
       Goodness of fit is first found in the individual animal's temperament. CARAT reflects an animal's temperament in a finely grained profile that offers a way to understand each animal as a complex individual well suited - or ill suited - for AAI.
       RAT assesses the animal/handler dynamics, with interest in how that supports or undermines their suitability or effectiveness. Highlighting strengths as well as areas needing support, RAT has been used to assess: candidate AAI animal/handler teams; active teams; training needs & objectives; AAI clients with single/multiple animals; and progress over time.
       CARAT and RAT offer the AAI community powerful tools for assessment.


Speak! is presented by the University of Minnesota's Nature-Based Therapeutic Services, a shared initiative with the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and the Center for Spirituality and Healing to further the understanding of how nature heals.

Register online or call 612-301-1210