Pets & Autism

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Pets & Autism
3
Tue, 03-05-2013 - 5:12pm

A study found that children with autism are more social and responsive when in the presence of small animals. They feel that the research could positively affect their ability to adjust to therapy and school situations. 

Compared to having toys around, the children with autism were more likely to talk, look at faces and make physical contact when the guinea pigs were present. They also were more likely to respond to other children's attempts to play with them.

The presence of the guinea pigs also led to more smiling and laughing, and less frowning, whining and crying among the children with autism, compared to having the toys, according to the study, which was published Feb. 20 in the journal PLoS One.

Read more at: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2013/02/27/animals-may-boost-social-interaction-in-kids-with-autism

Does your child have a pet of their own?  Have you noticed any change in their social behavior when they are near?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2011
Wed, 03-06-2013 - 1:59pm

Hmm, that's pretty interesting. I've never really paid attention before, my kid loves for the dog to be around and she does seem to have a calming affect when I think about it. I'm going to talk about this more with the therapist, makes me wonder if I shouldn't be encouraging more interaction with our dog and maybe even get them a pet of their own to help care for. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-2006
Thu, 03-07-2013 - 12:57am
We got a cockapoo puppy a year ago and he has helped my asd son a LOT. We didn't know then that he was on the spectrum, but we have even considered making our dog a service dog so we can take him everywhere. When my son (who is 5) has a meltdown, the only thing that helps him calm down is our dog. My son also has a hard time with empathy with people, but he can show empathy to our dog. So at least we know he IS capable of showing empathy, even if it's mainly to our dog. My son is in a developmental preschool and has a hard time with the transition of getting on and off the bus, so for the first couple months of the school year, I made sure that everyday when I got him from the bus, I had our dog with us. Our dog was his transitional object. :) And it worked! So yes, our dog has helped my son tremendously. :)
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Avatar for Cmmelissa
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Registered: 11-13-2008
Fri, 03-08-2013 - 2:53pm
It sounds like your dog has really made a difference for your son. I think that's a great idea to get the dog certified as a service dog, I have friends that have one for their autistic son.