Michelle Whitham JonesMichelle Whitham Jones, BSc, PGCE, MEd, PhD candidate – UK

Prior to returning to academia, Michelle worked with children and adults with learning difficulties for 25 years within education and care settings. Her interest in HAI (Human Animal Interactions) stemmed from the dogs that were very much a part of her work as Principal of a school for children with Dyslexia and Autism. Michelle and her husband share their home with five horses and two cats.

Her PhD research re-frames ‘benefits’ of Equid Assisted Activities (EAA) by offering an analysis of interactions between dyads of autistic children and donkeys utilising both qualitative and quantitative measures. She stresses the importance for practitioners to be realistic and authentic in their reporting of benefits of EAA because of the vulnerabilities of the interspecies populations concerned. Michelle’s research interests include horses, mules, donkeys and zebras and she includes them as equal participants in research design.