Many studies that regard the effectiveness of animal assisted interventions are in fact only interested in the child, assuming that the animals in the research are a homogenous group whose characters and emotional states don’t play a part. Both nonverbal autistic children and donkeys communicate with gesture and often with limited vocalisations.
Both come from a social species and are sentient. Their individual emotional states must affect the other.
This study places both the nonverbal autistic children and the donkeys that facilitate their intervention as equal participants, thus recording both species responses using a qualitative behaviour analyses tool and a multispecies ethnographic approach.