Award Date

May 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Occupational Therapy Doctorate


Brain Health

First Committee Member

Donnamarie Krause

Second Committee Member

Jefferson Kinney

Number of Pages



Assistance dogs can mitigate the effects of an individual’s disability. Occupational therapists consider the whole being when providing interventions through the individual’s meaningful occupations to improve health, well-being, and quality of life. Occupational therapists can make referrals or become a valuable team member for clients who wish to explore assistance dogs as an assistive technology option to improve physical, mental, and psychosocial considerations for increased independence in their clients. Few occupational therapy practitioners are educated about the benefits and disadvantages of the partnership between assistance dog and handler. Therefore, they are unable to adequately recommend assistance dogs for their clients, how to evaluate clients for appropriateness of partnering with an assistance dog, or to accurately educate their clients about the partnership. Due to this, the following quality improvement project used a pre- post- design to identify if a lecture to first-year occupational therapy doctorate students at UNLV increased their perceived knowledge of assistance dog considerations for occupational therapy. These findings added further insight into how a lecture can contribute to clinical knowledge and guide future occupational therapists to be able to provide education to, advocate for, and identify clients that will benefit from this partnership.


Assistance Dogs; Assistive Technology; Individuals with Disabilities; Occupational Therapy; Occupational Therapy Student; Service Dogs


Animal Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Occupational Therapy

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit