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Autism Research and Treatment
Volume 2012, Article ID 839792, 7 pages
Review Article

Dolphin-Assisted Therapy: Claims versus Evidence

1Psychology Department AH23, Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN 56001, USA
2School of Education, University of Wisconsin Stout Menomonie, WI 54751, USA

Received 23 March 2012; Accepted 24 June 2012

Academic Editor: Bennett L. Leventhal

Copyright © 2012 Britta L. Fiksdal et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The purpose of this paper is to review and critique studies that have been conducted on dolphin-assisted therapy for children with various disorders. Studies have been released claiming swimming with dolphins is therapeutic and beneficial for children with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, physical disabilities, and other psychological disorders. The majority of the studies conducted supporting the effectiveness of dolphin-assisted therapy have been found to have major methodological concerns making it impossible to draw valid conclusions. Readers will be informed of the history of, theory behind, and variations of dolphin-assisted therapy along with a review and critique of studies published which purportedly support its use.