Action research using closed cohort experimental design producing quantitative statistically viable data.
1) To identify the effects of donkey assisted therapy for children with autism as a sole diagnosis or as part of a cluster of disabilities
2) To design, test and implement a ‘best practice’ way of working for non-professional staff and volunteers supporting the children during DAT
3) To develop a scale of ‘areas of need’ so that measurable targets can be designed for children with autism that will enable the outcomes of donkey assisted therapy to be measured and replicated in all DAT centres
4) To identify the physiological and psychological advantages of using donkeys for children with autism thus readdressing the balance between donkey and horse assisted therapy
5) To provide valid, scientifically rigorous data to support the use of donkeys as a recognised intervention for children living with autism