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Imitation-based Dog Assisted Intervention, for Children With Developmental Disabilities.

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Know the risks and potential benefits of clinical studies and talk to your health care provider before participating. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT03462407
Recruitment Status : Recruiting
First Posted : March 12, 2018
Last Update Posted : June 6, 2019
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Oregon State University

Brief Summary:
This R21 application will provide a multidisciplinary One Health approach to DAID physical activity intervention for adolescents with developmental disabilities and their family dog. The novel intervention approach includes the use of the family dog in an established dog training protocol, focused on physical activity and aimed at improving physical activity, quality of life and social wellbeing for children with and without developmental disabilities. Recent pilot work has revealed physical and social-emotional improvements in children with developmental disabilities following an animal assisted intervention. There has been relatively limited research focused on the physical activity of adolescents with developmental disabilities and there remains a critical need to develop strategies that will encourage an active lifestyle for adolescents with and without developmental disabilities. Animal assisted therapy has known positive impacts on morale and is also known to reduce depressive psychological symptoms for children and adults. Yet, traditional 'service dogs' are prohibitively expensive for many families. Dog ownership alone is known to improve health-related physical activity. Thus, a critical need exists to create physical activity interventions that are easily accessible and provide manageable home-based physical activity adherence, but that are less expensive than traditional service dogs. To achieve these goals the investigators of this project have developed the following specific aims: 1) To develop and evaluate a novel DAID dog training program to promote physical activity in children with and without developmental disabilities; 2) To determine what impact participation in a DAID dog-training program has on the child's quality of life, feelings of social wellbeing and the child-dog relationship. The long term goal of this research is to improve the lives of adolescents with and without developmental disabilities. This research supports the One Health initiative and brings together aspects of improving health related to human and animal development.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Physical Activity Social Responsibility Behavioral: DAID Behavioral: Dog walking Not Applicable

Detailed Description:
Several publications have demonstrated the extent of physical activity deficits in adolescent children with DD, however very few interventions have targeted this health disparity. Not only do significant disparities exist when children with DD are compared to their peers without disabilities, but without intervention, physical activity behaviors in children with DD further decline with age. The investigators, have successfully worked together on animal assisted interventions, ultimately focused on promoting physical activity in children with disabilities. Preliminary data strongly support the conclusion that physical activity, quality of life and social wellbeing improves with a family-dog-assisted intervention. While dog-assisted interventions have become increasingly popular across applied settings, the need for further empirical evaluation is clear. Given the rapid growth of scientific knowledge in the areas of developmental disabilities, human-animal interactions and canine behavior in recent years, the development and empirical evaluation of new animal assisted intervention programs built on a solid theoretical foundation and targeted to the needs of children with DD is especially critical. In addition to the development of this intervention, we will employ an experimental design to conduct within- and between-group evaluations that will be used to assess the efficacy of the proposed DAID intervention, as well as its relative value when compared with a traditional dog walking intervention and waitlist control (true control). To further strengthen our approach, the investigators will use a combination of objective validated physical (physical activity accelerometers), self-report (Quality of Life, Dog Care Responsibility Inventory, and Pet Relationship & Friendship Scales) and behavioral measures (Child-dog/Dog-child proximity seeking, sociability and attachment) to evaluate program outcomes.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 45 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Intervention Model Description: Participants will be randomized prospectively into one of three possible groups following initial assessments and screening (e.g., eligibility), 1) 15 participants in an experimental (DAID intervention), 2) 15 control participants (dog walking), 3) 15 waitlisted control participants (true control, waitlisted for DAID one-year after post-assessment 1 of the project).
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Other
Official Title: Development and Evaluation of a Novel Imitation-based Dog Assisted Intervention, 'DIAD Training', to Increase Joint Activity and Social Wellbeing for Adolescents With Developmental Disabilities.
Actual Study Start Date : May 1, 2017
Estimated Primary Completion Date : April 30, 2020
Estimated Study Completion Date : April 30, 2020

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: DAID
Trained assistants will help participants train their dog to engage in imitation based dog training, using positive reinforcement training (operant conditioning) focused on physical activities.
Behavioral: DAID
The DAID intervention group will engage in imitation based dog training, using positive reinforcement training (operant conditioning) to teach their dog to copy the physical actions they demonstrate on the command "Do it".

Active Comparator: Dog walking
Trained assistants will help children train their dog to walk on a loose leash (eliminate pulling behavior) during this period using positive training techniques. The focus of this group will be on appropriate walking behavior to facilitate enjoyable independent dog-walking at home.
Behavioral: Dog walking
Children will participate in dog walking. Trained assistants will teach the children to teach their dog basic commands. Dog walking will occur during the intervention phase and children will be encourage to walk their dogs at home.

No Intervention: Control
This group will all own family dogs but will not participate in either intervention during year 1. All participants assigned to the waitlist will be offered the DAID intervention the subsequent summer.

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Physical activity Change [ Time Frame: Baseline; Immediately post intervention (after 2- 5 weeks); one-year post intervention; a fourth immediate post-intervention for waitlisted participants who participate in the intervention (~1 year and 1 month) ]
    Physical activity change will be measured through accelerometry

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   8 Years to 17 Years   (Child)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Between 8- 17 years with or without a disability (per parental report)
  • Has a family dog (dog in the home)

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Not able to follow basic instructions/

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT03462407

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Contact: Megan MacDonald, PhD 5417373273
Contact: Monique Udell, PhD 5417379154

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United States, Oregon
Oregon State University Recruiting
Corvallis, Oregon, United States, 97331
Contact: Megan MacDonald, PhD    541-737-3273   
Contact: Monique Udell, PhD    5417379154   
Sponsors and Collaborators
Oregon State University
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
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Principal Investigator: Megan MacDonald Oregon State University

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Responsible Party: Oregon State University Identifier: NCT03462407    
Other Study ID Numbers: 7848
1R21HD091895-01 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
First Posted: March 12, 2018    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: June 6, 2019
Last Verified: June 2019
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: No
Plan Description: The proposed research will involve a small sample (45 subjects) of adolescents recruited from youth programs within Corvallis and the surrounding counties/ communities including programs targeting children with developmental disabilities. Participants must also have a family dog to participate in this study. Even with the removal of all identifiers, the investigators believe that it would be difficult to protect the identities of subjects given the small region of recruitment and disability/ age characteristics of subjects and their family dogs. Therefore, the investigators are not planning to share the data.

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Developmental Disabilities
Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Mental Disorders